E3 2011: Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Hands-On

Battlefield 3 is hoping to redefine multiplayer warfare, and we were the first in the world to play it at DICE's Swedish headquarters.

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The week before E3 2011, GameSpot traveled to the Swedish capital of Stockholm to visit developer DICE. It may have been a beautiful Nordic spring day outside, but we spent the whole afternoon in one of the developer's dark, air-conditioned meeting rooms. This was no bad thing, however, as we were about to become the first people in the world to play the year's most anticipated shooter in multiplayer.

Until today, Battlefield 3's marketing campaign has been relentless, with a steady drip of videos, screens, and information on the game's single-player campaign. However, DICE has remained tight lipped about the game's multiplayer--a clear attraction for fans of a series that has its roots in online multiplayer. You can see the relief on executive producer Patrick Bach's face, who is not only eager to talk about Battlefield 3's all-new multiplayer modes, but also to hear what we think about it as we're playing.

So, what exactly does DICE have lined up for Battlefield 3 multiplayer? Well, Rush and Conquest modes are a given following their success in Bad Company 2. The difference here is that they'll take place across bigger maps and have many more consecutive objectives. "Many maps out there are arenas; our maps are a journey," explained Bach, calling out the competition. Team Deathmatch will be returning after an absence in the Bad Company games, and it will be enhanced by the destructibility of the Frostbite 2 engine, according to Bach. Finally, following the success of the downloadable Onslaught mode for Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3 will also ship with a co-op mode; this time, it will allow two players to team up on 10 unique maps.

DICE isn't resting on its laurels though. There are plenty of brand new features making their debut in Battlefield 3. The headline is Battlelog--a pre- and post-game activity platform that will "change the way you play Battlefield games together," according to Bach. Dice is keeping quiet about the specifics at this stage, but given the feature's striking resemblance to Need for Speed's Autolog, it's safe to assume it will include stat tracking, social features, and maybe even media sharing facilities. Bach did confirm that you'll be able to access the service "when you're sitting on a bus," and in a bold two-finger salute to Call of Duty's recently announced (and paid-for) Elite service, it will have a "monthly fee of zero."

Thankfully, our visit to Sweden not only allowed us to hear about the game, but also to actually play it. Our hands-on consisted of four rounds on a map called Operation Metro that was set in Paris. We played as the US Marines, taking on a team of DICE Battlefield veterans in a multi-point Rush objective to secure the French stock exchange. The map opened in a park, with the first goal being to secure a temporary enemy base before continuing underground through the metro system and then back above ground into downtown Paris. The map was characterized by the multiple routes we could take through the metro tunnels--using service areas, escalators, and even the trains themselves--which means there is plenty of replay value. DICE also delivered on its promise to deliver a multiplayer journey; each run through took about 10 to 15 minutes.

DICE has made some subtle but very important tweaks to the character classes in Battlefield 3. The soldier now doubles up as a medic, packing medikits and a defibrillator, as well as an M16 assault rifle with combat optical gunsight. The engineer has access to a repair tool for fixing vehicles, as well as a SMAW antitank rocket launcher for blowing them up, in addition to an M4 carbine with flashlight. The support soldier is able to dish out valuable ammunition, while also laying down suppressing fire using the M249 light machine gun with bipod and M145 optics. Finally, the recon class has access to C4 explosive packs and the MK11 sniper rifle with 6x scope. All classes also have access to an M9 pistol, hand grenade, and knife by default, and they can be fully customized as you gain experience playing the multiplayer game.

The changes to the classes have some interesting results in the game. The support soldier gains experience points for laying down suppressing fire, while those caught in the crossfire will have their vision compromised through a shaky cam and other subtle visual effects. The engineer's flashlight may make him more visible to the enemy, but it also allows him to light up dark areas, such the Metro tunnel, as well as startle anyone he shines it at--again through subtle visual effects. You can also opt out of being revived by a medic, if you'd prefer to respawn as a new class, for example.

Vehicle damage has also received a major overhaul. In Battlefield 3, if the enemy fires a rocket into the back of a tank, only the guy in the rear will be killed, rather than everyone in the tank. A vehicle can now be incapacitated, but the gunners will still be able to fire out when it's at low health; it just won't be able to move anywhere until an engineer repairs it. DICE will also introduce new rewards for players who act sneakily when playing. You will be able to customize your own dog tags and then steal other people's by performing a stealthy knife kill in multiplayer, for instance.

And then, of course, there's the graphics. DICE has garnered a lot of attention for Battlefield 3's impressive visuals, which are powered by its own Frostbite 2 engine. It's worth mentioning that we were playing the game on the PC, but it did indeed look mightily impressive, both through incredibly realistic destructibility and more subtle visual effects. It's especially noteworthy just how much DICE has nailed physicality in the game through animations, such as your legs swinging over obstacles as you vault them. But it's the prone maneuver, which has been the subject of so much forum talk already, that impresses the most: Hitting the ground and laying down fire via the machine gun's bipod just feels so right.

Battlefield 3's multiplayer mode is being shown at this year's E3, but for those of you not fortunate enough to be roaming the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center, be sure to check out our video interview to see more of the game. There's clearly a lot more up DICE's sleeve, though, so be sure to keep it locked to GameSpot for more intel on Battlefield 3 as we get it.

Discussion

203 comments
pg_nilay
pg_nilay

Its gonna be amazing and the all-out war game-play......OH MAN! Just imagine man like you're a soldier and you're going with you're team and suddenly a jet comes and you say, "TAKE COVER" but it was too late and you died! LOL

Pdot_PWNS
Pdot_PWNS

@MarcRecon they did with a firefight mode zombies with guns is a big upside

skiergamer95
skiergamer95

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

MarcRecon
MarcRecon

No you are not the only one @Temmex , it's just that IW has been pimpin us with the same stuff since 2007...people want to see the MW series evolve

MarcRecon
MarcRecon

As much as I love the MW series, Infinty Ward better bring something fresh to the table. We fans are getting tired of the same crap....Battle Field 3 most likely will get my money this year.

Temmex
Temmex

Am I the only one who likes both BF and COD and is happy to see that BF3 will be awesome and is hoping that MW3 will be awesome as well?

BabyD117
BabyD117

i personally thinkk COD is starting to get stale and im a COD fan or was however you wanna put it. Heres my point they give you the same graphics, gameplay n mechanic, same weapons, same perks, killstreaks everything is the same pretty much just tweaked. So since MW1 we've paying for the same game year after year..same graphichs engine, same graphics, COD doesnt go enuff to improve they're formula n every one buys it cuz they are robots n only wanna play something that they are familiar with, like black ops suck nutsacks, MW2 is still better than that..Look all i got to say is COD is gonna get shut out, no one wants to play the same crap year after year. So buy Battlefield 3!

Dragonsingh3000
Dragonsingh3000

its gr8 to see it being SUPER on pc's instead of a crappy console port like whats been happening over the last few years. BUT in the end of the day the game will sell more on consoles, i REALLY REALLY want to see what it looks like on the consoles.

johnofwar
johnofwar

@jasonzilla11 Still, there is no fun to the game, every time I play the game all I do is, open the game, click multiplayer, do the process to join the multiplayer, then done, I see not much fun to it, as I want more... fun... no fun at all... just multiplayer everyday, using vehicles, blowing stuff up, that's it, dull. While in Call of Duty you get a variety of weaponry, small maps with a lot of corners to pick off campers, grenades seem useful, you get to show off your skills by throwing a bloody tomahawk from the corner of the map to the other corner of the map and getting a kill, more extras (Zombie mode, theater mode, etc.) more modes, singleplayer co-op, more fun stuff... in Battlefield, its just play the multiplayer, singleplayer later, less modes, big maps but too open, you can be picked off by a sniper easily (I noticed the... sniper is too... accurate, can you hold your breath like other soldiers do? More realistic) a few hits from a Carl Gustav and kaboom, bye bye tank, you know what I mean right? If Call of Duty had more maps (Big and small), noobtubing turns harder (lessen the damage to it even with perks) fair killstreaks (no nukes) a lot more weapons, and if they... Made a freaking new engine. Which takes 2 to 5 years, since Battlefield fans take to the toll on Call of Duty, desperation leads them to throw out any game they make. So Battlefield fans are getting hated by everyone because Battlefield fans are too boasting.

prontopup20
prontopup20

i cant wait for this, battlefield 3 looks impressive and it will have plenty of play at my home.

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

@johnofwar Actually, if you look at the multiplayer teaser thingy, you will notice some sort of health bar while the player is running around, and right when he gets stabbed, the number goes immediately down to 0. So there's actually a good chance of getting a health bar in multiplayer, but I'm not completely sure, we'll have to wait for some more info. Also, in the game there are plenty of closed in places, such as the train thing.

CisQo5
CisQo5

I am so excited for this game. COD killer? I hope, that game needs to end soon.

johnofwar
johnofwar

Not being offensive to Battlefield fans out there, but... Yeah, this still doesn't get my appeal, until now. I have noticed Battlefield has no tight spaces, I don't wanna fight in the open... I wanna fight in office buildings, apartments, something like that. It's one of the things they lack for me, I want to use the sniper for once and I wanna use it in a tall building... And the animations of objects when you shoot it, I placed one bullet in a tree then two seconds later... Poof, gone, no more tree, I mean, come on, the tree could fall down with rounds of machinegun fire, but one bullet then poof? The multiplayer gameplay I saw in Youtube were... Good and bad, good because it was a little tighter, bad because I saw the guy vault over but it was actually to climb it, you have to vault to get two feet high? Really? And much more it is a little too serious, I wanna run and gun, not play a freaking real war. I want to have a lot of stuff on my HUD, not hear voices saying they're pinned down and stuff getting KIA's, then such and its full of gunfire everywhere. Oh yeah, I'm a Call of Duty fan =P. So this doesn't get my attention at all yet. There's this feeling like you can't stick to another thing unless it really gets to you... The singleplayer of Battlefield was bad... So I think the singleplayer of this one is bad too. Since they removed Health bars in both on foot and in vehicles. Sad... No more challenge. Well I think they copied it from CoD, I THINK not know.

dallask
dallask

@u2i_l0ver, agreed, lovin BFBC2 right now!

thereal-15-cent
thereal-15-cent

@Overlord93:The guys who are making BF3 are the ones comparing it to CoD. There's an entire article about EA wanting to dethrone CoD ;p

thereal-15-cent
thereal-15-cent

I think Duke Nukem Forever will be my main multiplayer game. But if that sucks, I'll probably buy Battlefield over CoD.

u2i_l0ver
u2i_l0ver

All I want is for the gameplay to be on the same lines as BF2. Flashy graphics etc. are pretty much a given these days.

Sp1ny
Sp1ny

Dice, I have only two requests: 1. Improve the hit detection 2. Fix the server browser /before/ you release the game this time

teragorz
teragorz

everything new about the multiplayer sounds bang on the mark. i guess the least exciting bit is the reinstatement of team deathmatch, but this is still great news as there was nothing more frustrating than playing bc2 objective games with a team of snipers only out for kills.

ProSmeg
ProSmeg

Im not sure about how they have mixed up the classes. but i love the thought of surpressive fire. an LMG's main role is to surpress in realy life me firing one would stop a squad in its tracks. but because this is a game. people ignore it and get a rocket out or too. i cant wait to put my bipod down on a street and lock it down whilst my teammates flank and kill the advancing enemy! we will have to wait and see for the classes though, they sound abit strange.

e1337prodigy
e1337prodigy

wow. i think assault class will be the most used since it has the medkits too. you get rewards for being sneaky, but is that just for being recon class? because i usually play as whatever is needed but tend to some how get round behind the enemy even though i'm not recon.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

The whole in-game 'Ka-boom' scenes look simply superb, and the game looks fast-paced as hell. Beeeautiful!

Overlord93
Overlord93

I'm sick of people talking about MW3 on BF3 articles and vice versa. THEY ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. People play what they want to play, if someone wants to play mw3 and not bf3, that's fine. Battlefield is nothing like call of duty, and the people comparing the two makes me think they've never played either. :roll:

Talk2Luke
Talk2Luke

I've got a feeling this game is going to be splendid.

blackhook001
blackhook001

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

kusanagizz
kusanagizz

This game will probs rock any new FPS MP thats coming out around the same time bug or no bugs

alittletoohappy
alittletoohappy

So, they "tweaked" the character classes into the classes from 2142? Not that that's a bad thing, but it's not like these guys are getting to far off the beaten track here.

alittletoohappy
alittletoohappy

I've been worrying for a while about my internet speed for this game, and then I realized I'm going to be using University internets by the time this game comes out. Aw yeah.

skullflower
skullflower

@TheJoker9993: It's an FPS, you point the gun and you shoot at people who are trying to kill you. I loved the MP of Bad Company 2, but I didn't care about any of the characters during my time playing the single-player side of the game.

TheJoker9993
TheJoker9993

Movies = eclipse = MW3 Inception, the king speech, the social network = BF3 Thats why Bf3 is better, because make's you think. Something that cod fanboys can't even imagine.

aquasocks
aquasocks

Battlefield is king! =) Can't wait for this one, spent a lot of money on my computer just for this reason. It couldn't come soon enough.

Killzone501st
Killzone501st

The Call of Duty franchise's online mode has always been too linear every year with just a few additions but this, this is an entire new experience. I'd choose Battlefield 3 over Modern Warfare 3 any day for it's campaign and multiplayer.

supertegwyn
supertegwyn

"It's worth mentioning that we were playing the game on the PC, but it did indeed look mightily impressive" What. Why wouldn't it?

jollybest1
jollybest1

i've stoped playing bfbc2 because of to many snipers ......but i will play this day one :D

brok
brok

Someone wake me up when they announce a 1942 expansion pack... or better yet a full remake.

craxterz
craxterz

Please lets stop comparing it with cod. Deep down, I'm sure we all know COD: MW3 will sell more and make more money, just like the previous 5 years or so. I'm sure they will be both great games, cod is for people who like a more arcade style while BF3 is more realistic and actually does a far better job at simulating a battlefield!

yyhreigan
yyhreigan

The graphics are simply amazing. However, I'm a Free-For-All kind of guy, and since I doubt this game will have such a mode, I think I will stick with Modern Warfare 3. Cool game though. :)

GameboyTroy
GameboyTroy

The graphics look so good that it can distract you from what they are saying in the interview.

InExcelsis
InExcelsis

This game looks awesome I loved the second one on PC can't wait for this to come out.

survivor9712
survivor9712

dillydadally I felt the same bro about that game. Don't care about those BF cry babies who would thumb you down for sharing what you REALLY feel about something . I think MW3 will sell better due to it's huge, massive and overwhelming popularity

The_Z92
The_Z92

@Halopimp978 well that's the main attraction, so I hope so :)

Dragonballz290
Dragonballz290

@Lastemperor28 Medics are common on PS3 too but Assault are even more common. I think it is because of the assault rifle but now that it is gone I was a little worried about my ammo supply. :p

poopinpat
poopinpat

it should have read "In a bold one finger salute..."

survivor9712
survivor9712

how about you put soldiers on skis so they can move faster damn it . The only major flaw that made me stop playing BF2. Also, when I get a kill , make it worth my while and flash it at me as an XP . The top players after a match should be shown automatically after a match NOT when I press a button. Disorienting , awfully slow paced combat was my impressions of BF2 .

Sk8rlink
Sk8rlink

*goes out to sell his body and have enough money for an awesome gaming PC