While discussions regarding the supremacy of any one game console can get heated rather quickly, so can debates between PC gamers and console gamers. With the upcoming release of Battlefield 3, these arguments have become ever more present and show no signs of disappearing. Despite the fact that it will be an incredibly strong title regardless of the platform in question, there is still the bitter reality that not every iteration will be identical.
There is no denying that modern PCs are capable of more than modern game consoles. As such, Battlefield 3 will naturally be at its strongest on the PC, provided you have a machine that can handle it. According to DICE‘s Patrick Bach though, while compromises have been made in order to create the most authentic Battlefield 3 experience possible on consoles, the changes that have been made were the best available to them.
“The biggest difference between the PC and console version of Battlefield 3 is that we have 64 players on PC and 24 players maximum on console. The rest is more or less the same: we use the same engine, the same technology, the same animation system, the same lighting system. Our aim is to give the player the exact same experience and not try to dumb down the console version.”
While there are sure to be gamers that will cry foul at the drop from 64 player online matches to 24, this is only a small concession if it still allows for console gamers to experience the game’s incredibly strong engine and technology in all their glory. Even though the Battlefield series is known for its large battles, 24 players is still a large number compared to many of the popular console games currently on the market. According to Bach:
“Everything is a compromise. It’s not that we’re evil or stupid. We didn’t choose not to have more players – we would love to do 64 players on console but then we would have to cut away so much; people would get very upset that it looked worse, played worse and wasn’t as fun as the PC version. We would never do that because the fun is always more important.”
This is what many gamers do not realize when comparing the PC version of Battlefield 3 to its console counterpart. While there certainly are compromises that must be made, DICE is not setting out on a mission to hurt console gamers. The changes that are being made are to account for the differences in technology between PCs and consoles. In order for the game to appear on a platform with less power behind it, concessions are a bitter reality.
Despite the fact that matches will be fought by less players on consoles, Bach was happy to announce that this then freed up the resources required to properly incorporate jets into the multiplayer experience.
“That’s another reason: if we had more players [on console] you might have to take away vehicles because there’s a lot of data that has to go through the network and the CPUs. If you had more vehicles, that would mean less players and vice versa.”
While it would have been great to have full 64 player matches on consoles, the exclusion of vehicles would have been an even larger blow than the reduction in maximum players. Piloting the game’s vehicles is one of the main draws for many gamers, and without them, the battlefield would feel empty.
Finally, Patrick Bach went on to discuss the reduction of map sizes for the console versions of the game, promising that they will still feel as action-packed as ever.
“When we say they are smaller, it’s not that we have cut them in half. But we tried to compact them slightly to keep the action up. If you compare it to Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the maps weren’t really small on console. We actually had huge maps even for console. We have the same kind of angle on it right now [in Battlefield 3].”
As with the other compromises, gamers could argue that the smaller maps will end up hurting the game, but with the reduced number of players in each map, a smaller battlefield may actually be beneficial to the experience. Rather than having the players spread out across overly-large landscapes, this change will force them to fight within closer quarters of one another, making for a more intense experience.
Even with the compromises that have to be made for the console version of Battlefield 3, it will no doubt be an incredibly strong title. With a highly anticipated multiplayer component that incorporates four distinct classes and new features such as earthquakes, the competition with Modern Warfare 3 is sure to be a heated one.
Despite the compromises, do you believe that Battlefield 3 will still be a strong title on consoles? Do you feel that some console gamers are being unfairly harsh regarding these required compromises?
Battlefield 3 releases on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 25, 2011.