PWNED – Battlefield 3′s Secrets RevealedBy David Bucur | May 28, 2011 | Features | 4 comments | Share
At ease, soldiers. Today is a special day, as we’ll be looking at a very special episode of EA’s PWNED, dedicated to the next big thing in the FPS genre.
Visit GamerSpawn for the video analysis.
Starts off as you’d expect, with a summary of what’s to see, but a minute or so into the video one of the presenters takes a rather amusing stab at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
The first part of this episode covers the technology that lies beneath Frostbite 2’s bonnet. First thing covered is the ANT animation system which gives Battlefield 3 the edge over competitors by having smooth, realistic animations.
Next component covered is pretty much what makes the more recent major Battlefield titles stand out: Destruction. More or less everything can be destroyed or damaged, from chipping away a bit of concrete to bringing down the façade, or the entire building if you’re having a bad day and think that the building in question is not a worthy piece of architecture. It just doesn’t get any sweeter than this.
If we’re too look at some new bits of gameplay that briefly appeared during this part, we can see an RPG variant being fired at a building, showing a bit of the destruction. Well, “a bit” is an understatement. It shows that instead of the wall just disappearing in a cloud of dust like in would in Bad Company games, the wall actually crumbles and the larger pieces fall onto the ground. The overhauled physics really do make things look a lot better.
Of course DICE didn’t want to tease us with just an RPG. They also tease us with a T-90 and an LAV-25 also firing into buildings showing the devastating effects these machines can have on the surroundings- a show of force from Battlefield 3 and what it’s capable of. A popular joke among the Battlefield community comes to mind looking at all that stuff getting blown up: Call of Duty players will say “There’s a camper behind that wall” whereas Battlefield players, getting out of a tank with its barrel still smoking, ask “What wall?”.
During the interview of Gustav Tilleby, Art Director, about the destruction in Battlefield 3, we can see a gun rack on the wall. It’s a distinct possibility that these guns will be included in Battlefield 3. We see an AK-74u, an AK variant, a FAMAS, a G36C, what looks like an M14 or M21, an H&K 416, an M16 and an M4. There’s also a gun with an M203 grenade launcher attached at the top.
The third component is audio. If Frostbite has an ace up its sleeve, it’s definitely the audio, delivering unmatched sound quality, making the game even more immersive. Sure, Frostbite 2 also delivers unmatched quality in terms of graphics, but you just can’t ignore the audio. If you’ll play this game with your volume turned all the way up, you shouldn’t be surprised to see the old lady from next door, running to shelter with provisions for a month, convinced that World War 3 broke out.
One interesting thing Stefan explains is that audio events also trigger other events. For example, if something explodes nearby the audio event will trigger camera shake and other visual effects that the player experiences. Shake will probably also depend on the distance between you and the explosion. It’s a very interesting way of doing things, and it only helps with the immersion.
While in previous Battlefield games the maps were large enough, sometimes maybe even too large, Battlefield 3 is taking everything to a new level, its Frostbite 2 game engine being capable of combining large-scale open environments with tight spaces like interiors into one gigantic map.
And shortly we get a taste of those environments. We see the true scale of the fight between the PLR and the USMC as we’ve seen from a first-person perspective in the Fault Line trailers. We even get a birds-eye view of a battlefield in flames, looking out of the cockpit of a jet fighter. And if that isn’t awe-inspiring enough, the next few seconds showing tanks storming across the desert sand will send anyone chills up their spinal cords.
Last but not least, rendering is covered. Frostbite 2 allows for an insane amount of light sources in one environment, making things look so much more realistic. The scenes which we see here are absolutely stunning. A city couldn’t have been more beautifully rendered that it is in Battlefield 3. The rocket launch scene is also impressive, showing off the intricate lighting system, being able to light particles, like smoke, and of course that smoke will also leave a shadow- details that do count.
The second part of PWNED kicks off telling more about the Back to Karkand expansion back, with DICE devs sharing their thoughts on why the maps that are to be included in the expansion are so popular.
They also show what a major leap in graphics Battlefield took since its last true installment: Battlefield 2. It’s just awesome to see how much graphics really evolved in the past six years. At the time BF2’s graphics were absolutely revolutionary. And now BF3 won’t stop short of delivering, as its successor did over 5 years ago. The comparison between Karkand as rendered by Refractor 2 and one rendered by Frostbite 2 will leave you stunned.
Last but not least, one of the devs drops a not-so-subtle hint that the Rush game mode as seen in Bad Company and Bad Company 2 will make also comeback. Marines entering a hostile city, guns blazing, to destroy or seize various objectives, now with the ability to wreak havoc with the improved destruction model…what could possibly go wrong?
The third part of PWNED #7 covers an interview with Senior Gameplay Designer Alan Kertz, about the weapons that will be included in BF3. Some of the weapons we can clearly see at the firing range, and might see in the game, are a Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistol and a Glock pistol. Alan also explains what the Physical Warfare Pack will contain and what those exclusive or early unlocks do.
The final part is a retrospective of the Battlefield franchise, showing just how things have evolved, proving that indeed DICE doesn’t just apply a new lick of paint for a sequel.
As a little bonus, a YouTube user created a fan-made trailer using the footage seen in this episode of PWNED, so make sure to check that out as well, and as always, stay tuned for more updates on Battlefield 3.