I’m a little more than a month into my role as EA’s COO, and while I spent the last four years inside the battlefield of the sports arenas for EA SPORTS, it’s a different type of battlefield that has me captivated today. Because today we announced that Battlefield 3 is launching an open beta on September 29.
If you know my history, you know I am passionate about shooter games. I helped launch Halo 2 and bring that incredible experience to gamers worldwide. I remember when I first got to play that game in the run-up to that launch, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up – I knew in my gut that we had something special on our hands. Battlefield 3 is such a beautiful game, it gives me that same feeling. When people around the globe finally get to jump in and play it, and see for themselves the jaw-dropping graphics, the incredible variety of vehicles and the massive maps, they’re going to feel it too. I had the pleasure of being at DICE in Stockholm last week as our incredibly talented team there was in the throes of finalizing the game. Despite being well into the evening after yet another long day, the energy in the studio was palpable – they know they have made something very special, and are rightly proud of what they have created. The final product looks, feels and plays unlike anything else out there (yes, anything).
First, our Frostbite 2 game engine is the foundation for the entire game – and it is state of the art. It is an engine that marries the technology innovations developed at DICE with some of the best animation technology in the world developed by EA SPORTS in Vancouver. This engine delivers superior animation, graphics, scale, sound and destruction. You see, hear and experience the physical battlefield in a way that’s never been done before.
Battlefield is also the only shooter game that will let you jump in and out of combat vehicles on the fly. Soldiers in the real world go from jeeps to tanks to helicopters – whatever it takes to accomplish the mission at hand. And after years in hiatus, Battlefield 3 ushers in the return of jets. During my visit, I took off on a sortie from the deck of an aircraft carrier in the game…talk about an adrenaline rush.
As I’ve been playing Battlefield 3, I must admit that one of the most impressive things in the game is being able to play in squads with friends. You’ve got true teamplay in Battlefield 3. Now, I’m not a professional competitive gamer who will necessarily take full advantage of the stats tracking, but I do love that Battlelog is cheat-proof. And also free.
Now, one thing I’d like to address head-on is the ongoing debate between 30 and 60 frames per second. As someone who’s been around his share of shooters, this is an important decision to understand. Games running at 30 frames per second allow for higher fidelity graphics, larger maps, more detailed and interactive environments. Not only do they look better, they’re bigger, more authentic and deliver a deeper game experience to players. If you go to higher frame rates, you get inferior graphics, and give away the advantages of visual depth. Our team at DICE opted for 30 frames per second knowing that Frostbite 2 guarantees Battlefield 3 will run smoother than any game on older engines, and we get to deliver it with jaw-dropping graphics and incredible animations. This was not a hard decision.
The end result is that Battlefield 3 is truly a stunner. I can’t wait to hear from you once you’ve had a chance to play it for yourself starting at the end of the month. Happy hunting, everyone.