Battlefield has always been celebrated for its squad tactics, an area where DICE now faces challenges from the newly teamplay-friendly Modern Warfare 3. However, the developer fears it may have overlooked the appeal of straightforward, unsociable head-to-head. Speaking to OXM during an exclusive studio visit, Battlefield 3 executive producer Patrick Bach offered a little more insight on the decision to build in a team deathmatch mode.
"That hasn't really been a challenge at all," he said, when asked whether the move had cut into the classic Battlefield feel. "We have at times underestimated the power of a simple game mode like Team Deathmatch. Way back in our first Battlefield game we had easier game modes, but then in Battlefield 2 we had only Conquest - then for Bad Company started to open up to more casual game-modes again."
"You can argue whether or not Team Deathmatch is casual though," Bach added. "There's a lot of people playing it professionally, so it's actually quite hardcore from that perspective - but from a threshold perspective it's easier to understand it.
"We don't see Team Deathmatch as a gimmick or something that we've added because we needed something new - we just see it as an easy way into the franchise. You can just jump in and try it out, and if you only look at Battlefield from a run and gun perspective, it's still a great game."
Bach echoed creative director Lars Gustavvson's comment that TDM is a gateway drug to Conquest. "If you then want to evolve and get into what Battlefield is all about, you can move into other game modes and see the scale, and the vehicles, the team play, and stuff like that."
This compliments a new approach to unlocks, Bach explained. "The unlock tree we have now is more catered to this variation. You don't have to play through the whole game to unlock a new thing - you'll actually unlock things for each specific weapon and kit. On the other hand if you want to explore the full unlock tree, there's plenty of things for you to do - we're aiming for a full year of play for those who really want to unlock everything.
"The goal is that no matter what play style you have, there is always a reason for you to keep playing from an unlock perspective. If you unlock a specific gun, you can then unlock a specific gadget that fits to that gun. Scopes will in some cases be interchangeable between kits - if you unlock a laser sight you can probably attach that to another gun in another kit, so there will be a lot of crossovers in addition to the very focussed unlocks for each specific weapon."
Battlefield 3 is one of OXM 77's cover games, squaring up to Modern Warfare 3 in hot textual combat. The preview concerned just happens to be the very first Xbox 360 hands-on. You can order a single copy online, download it to your tablet or set up a subscription.