Jeremy Jastrzab
20 Oct, 2011

EB Expo 2011: A chat with Lars Gustavsson

360 Feature | And he tells us why we should look forward to next week.
Battlefield 3, one of the most anticipated games of 2011, is on the verge of release next week. And if the queues at the recent EB Expo and positioning directly opposite the hall from Modern Warfare 3 were anything to go by, the hype and sense of competition is alive and well. In the midst of the crowds and queues, EA had a couple of very special guests to talk to the attending media: Lars Gustavsson and Daniel Matros from DICE. And Lars, the Creative Director at DICE, was good enough to give us a few minutes to talk about the now complete Battlefield 3.

When asked whether he and the rest of the staff at DICE were happy with what they achieved with the now final version of Battlefield 3, Lars was very confident that the team had managed to achieve everything that they had originally set out to do, while even surpassing some of their goals. He talked about the collaboration with Andy McNab – a former SAS operative – on the story, which they felt added a layer of authenticity and realism. Lars felt that this added to the gameplay to make you feel like you’re really in the middle of a warzone.

It's war. And war is hell.

It's war. And war is hell.
Lars went on to explain his involvement in the competitive multiplayer. In terms of what’s new in the multiplayer, Lars mainly focused on the depth of customisable options that will be available to the player. Pretty much everything from your dogtags, camouflage and even weapons will be allowed to go under the microscope, in order to give players more customisation choice than ever. Lars also felt that the team made excellent strides with the addition, scope and playability of the vehicles within the multiplayer sphere, with particular reference to having regenerating armour and disabling options all up for customisation.

On the topic of the PC versus console versions, Lars conceded that having kids at home meant that he didn’t get a lot of access to his PC at home (unlike the access that he gets from work) so he was often left with the Xbox 360. However, he felt that both console and PC players will still get the full experience, regardless on which machine they play. While there haven’t been any smaller landscapes made for the consoles, Lars also conceded that the hobbyists who spent big on their rigs will definitely have a visual edge. However, all players will have access to the 64 player multiplayer (we assume he was referring to all PC players, as console will have 24) and no one will miss out on the core gameplay experience.

On the topic of downloadable content, Lars mentioned that it was in the works and that it isn’t anything that hasn’t been talked about yet. However, the main development team currently has their focus on making sure that the title is completely up to scratch and making sure that there are no multiplayer hiccups on launch. He did also mention that the DLC has been planned from the outset for some time, so the content won’t depend on how successful the title is upon its immediate release.

Variety will be key to a top single player mode.

Variety will be key to a top single player mode.
Lars went on to mention that the philosophy behind their game launches. To DICE, the game's launch is the “beginning”, as opposed to thinking that everything is "finished" upon release. He pointed to Battlefield 2 as an example, where over the last six years, the title has been supported with countless additions and upgrades, even up until now. It was mentioned that DICE will continue to take feedback from the community and use this to determine the future direction of the support that Battlefield 3 will receive.

On the topic of the issues raised within the playing community from the multiplayer beta and whether the team were confident that they’ve managed to weed out all the bugs and glitches, Lars responded that, yes, the team was confident and went on to concede that the beta was based on a very old build. However, the choice to use this buggy build for the beta was deliberate and made very early on, as the team needed to separate these two to make sure that the final build was up to scratch.

As such, the purpose of the beta was to get it out to as many people as possible in order to stress test the backend – in order to make sure that they are capable of handling the player influx at launch. As such, the issues identified through this have DICE confident that they will now have a smooth launch. Other feedback that was taken from the battle log included the pacing of matches and how the scoring system should operate. Apparently, it was observed that players were wracking up higher scores much quicker than in previous titles in the series.

The Heart Break Hotel?

The Heart Break Hotel?
Finishing off, we asked about the future projects for DICE and the future possibilities of the Frostbite 2 engine. Though he wasn’t able to talk about what will happen after Battlefield 3, Lars pointed behind us to the EA booth and suggested that we check out Need for Speed: The Run, and that he was quite happy to see how the engine was being used. He said it was amazing to watch the presentation on the big screen and that watching others develop with the engine would be beneficial to everyone. After all, it would even give the developers at DICE an idea as to what else is possible with it.

Battlefield 3 will be available on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on 27 October 2011. We would like to thank Lars Gustavsson from DICE for sparing us a few minutes, and Snezana Stojanovska from EA and Ben Hock from Frank PR for organising the interview.

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2 years ago
Loving these interviews.
2 years ago
Sorry does that mean the console versions are 64 player as well??
2 years ago
2 years ago
Im glad that was cleared up in the article as it was a little confusing.
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