2005 was the last time the Battlefield series saw a real sequel in the franchise, at least, to its core series. Since then, the Bad Company games have been taking up a lot of DICE's time, but no more. 2011 will see the release of what they call a proper sequel to Battlefield 2.
Battlefield 3 will be taking the series back to the roots of intense, realistic modern combat and away from the what DICE general manager, Karl Magnus Troedsson, said of the Bad Company series having more humor and a slapstick like nature. Troedsson calls the transition from humor to realism is the biggest change from going from one game to another.
The information comes from an interview with Troedsson from games.on.net where Troedsson discusses the changes present in Battlefield 3. First off, the inclusion of a campaign with cooperative features was to help introduce more people to the Battlefield franchise. Yes, this was done via the Bad Company series however, the tone was incredibly different. As evident in the Fault Line series that DICE has been releasing to showcase the Battlefield 3 campaign, thematically, it has a huge disparity from Bad Company.
A staple of Battlefield multiplayer is the inclusion of vehicles of land, sea and air. One of the most dominating vehicles in Battlefield 2 was the helicopter, which while it was incredibly complex to pilot, could lay waste to troops and ground vehicles alike. Troedsson stated that he would like everybody to be able to fly it without too much trouble, but still be able to have a balance between authenticity and accessibility. Players who decide to learn how to master helicopter flight will be rewarded, but the difficulty won't shut out players who want to try it out.
The decision to include the prone feature again, as seen in the second Battlefield 3 Fault Line video, was primarily influenced by the community outcry of the feature not being included in Bad Company. It didn't feel right with EA and DICE claiming Bad Company 2 was so much more realistic than Call of Duty while it didn't let soldiers lay down and CoD did. Obviously, any kind of war time scenario, the ability to go prone can save lives. However, including it in a game with multiplayer game does require proper balancing. Troedsson used the example of having to deal with a sniper on a hill, laying prone. How do you deal with that? Troedsson has admitted there is no solution for it yet, which sounds a bit grim.
Finally, Troedsson answered a question regarding how to make Battlefield 3 a number one shooter. He answers, "[DICE] is never better than the last game the put out." Troedsson says DICE is constantly looking for ways to make their games better and competes with themselves, first and foremost, and they are innovating with the power of Frostbite 2.
Blockbuster quality co-op campaign and engrossing multiplayer aside, Michael Pachter seems to think that Battlefield 3 has no chance to overtake the Call of Duty series this year. Whether or not that's going to come true will remain to be seen. No information on the next Call of Duty game has been made available yet and Battlefield 3 has set the bar rather high.
Battlefield 3 has no official release date yet, but will be coming out for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.