Battlefield 3: End Game Is Like Armored Kill, But Better – Preview

It seems that Digital Illusions CE is saving the best for last when it comes to Battlefield 3 content add-ons.

Taking lessons learned from previous endeavours, Battlefield 3′s fifth and final expansion End Game improves upon a number of gameplay aspects that didn’t work out so well in DLC like Armored Kill and even improves on a few elements that DICE felt Aftermath might have missed out on.

Though similar in many ways, End Game fixes a number of issues that came a long with Armored Kill’s over-sized maps, and over-effective vehicles like the AC130 Gunship.

As a PC player with access to 64-player battles, maps like Armored Kill’s Bandar Dessert, the Battlefield franchise’s biggest map yet, can yield some pretty epic and rewarding gameplay. Limited to only 24 players total, the same cannot be said for Battlefield 3′s console audience. Fault is not entirely placed on DICE, however. After all, big maps are what ‘we’ wanted, right?

Speaking to Producer Craig Mcleod, I had the chance to ask if DICE took this sort of feedback into consideration while crafting the similarly vehicle-focused expansion, End Game.

“Definitely,” said Mcleod. “We looked at Armored Kill and those people were saying, ‘we want big, huge maps. We want the biggest maps. Build them bigger, bigger, bigger, etc.’ And, we did that. A lot of console players, although that’s what they said they wanted, realized that with the limitation that we only have 24 players, it can get too big. This is something that we knew the motor-bikes would help to resolve because it allows you to zip around the map really really quick. Not only that, but you can carry someone on your back as well. Similar to the ATV, you can help move people around really, really, quickly. So, yes, that played a big part.”

BF3

When it comes to one of Battlefield 3′s most popular game modes, Conquest, one thing I noticed that Mcleod didn’t mention was that flag layouts on End Game’s maps seemed more centralized, rather than spread unnecessarily far apart. The layout seemed to focus the action to a smaller area than Armored Kill’s maps did, but there is still plenty of head room for vehicle-vs-vehicle action. The addition of the motor-bike also makes each map seem smaller, despite their actual size, as zooming back and forth between flags seems quick and speedy.

Mcleod did mention, however, “all of our maps are actually tailored to towards the motor-bike. So, you’ll see, as you go through the map, there are a lot of jumps. Some are hidden, some are not so hidden.”

Motor-bikes clearly hold a special place in DICE’s heart. It’s apparent that a noticeable amount of detail was put into not only their physics, but appearance as well. “That’s another thing that we’ve done.” Mcleod mentioned. “When speeding up, we’ve actually got rev counters working. Again, something that we we’ve only done for the dirt bike. It’s very special to us. We wanted to help give people that feeling of speed, so we decided to throw that in there too.”

BF3

Along with map sizes, the AC130 Gunship introduced in Armored Kill was not met entirely with open arms. Many found it to either be over-effective, or saw it as an annoyance that took away from Battlefield 3′s tried-and-true gameplay. Yet again, DICE is dropping another large aerial vehicle into the mix with End Game, but one that will provide a more passive supporting role, rather than the more direct assault support the Gunship provided.

As we learned earlier, the Dropship will become available to the team that captures the base housing it. Like the Gunship, it will allow troops to paradrop from it’s location, but unlike the Dropship, it will only provide support in the form of additional infantry fighting vehicles. I asked Mcleod if the IFV was the only goodie the Dropship would grant players.

“So, for consoles you have the IFV. For Conquest Large on PC, you actually get two and it will always be that vehicle. By putting anything heavier into it, we ran the risk of potentially putting too much focus and emphasis on it. We want it to be something that people fight over and that can help turn the tide a little, but we dont want it to be over dominant.”

“Can you blow it up?” I asked. “Yes. You can. But as long as you own that point, it will spawn back,” Mcleod answered.

I should also mention that the actual animation of paradropping out of the Dropship while in the IFV is pretty darn cool. You get to go for a bit of a ride as you drop out of the hangar and glide your way down to the battlefield.

End Game

Even feedback from Aftermath, Battlefield 3′s fourth expansion and one of the more highly praised add-ons, played a role in End Game’s map design. In fact, Mcleod reveals that it was one of the deciding factors when it came to choosing the four different seasons as an inspiration for End Game’s four new maps.

When I asked how DICE landed upon the idea, Mcloed stated, “Originally, we wanted to not just show off what we can do and what we can develop regarding a map for Battlefield, but we also wanted to pay a little homage towards Frostbite 2 and, obviously, the power that that it has given us to bring Battlefield 3 to the status that it is. What we can do with these four seasons, it helps to show it off. Everything is very distinct. Some people might argue that you could run the risk in packs like Aftermath, maybe it all looks a bit too similar. That’s something we want to move away from. We wanted to say, look, you can instantly and distinctively feel the difference in each of these maps.”

In terms of playability, Mcleod also mentioned, “We actually have scout heli’s on every single [map]. So we have air gameplay on each of these maps. Which is not something that we had in Aftermath.”

Of course, DICE also wants to build on what Battlefield 3 classic did well. As it turns out, Operation Riverside, one of End Game’s four new maps, is actually a bit of a homage to one of Battlefield 3′s most popular maps, Caspian Border.

“So, Operation Riverside was a kind of re-imagining of Caspian Border,” Mcleod elaborated. “We know how popular Caspian Border is. We really enjoy this map as much as other people enjoy it, and we wanted to give something that we thought had really similar gameplay values to it and that’s what this actually was. I mean, obviously it’s completely different, the layout’s different, but we took a lot of the same ideas.”

BF3

One of the more unique aspects of End Game is the resurgence of two classic game modes from two very classic Battlefield games: Capture the Flag, as seen in Battlefield 1942 and Air Superiority, as seen in Battlefield 1943.

“This is our Battlefield twist on Capture the Flag – by allowing vehicles to host the flag,” said Mcleod. “Now, you can’t actually pick it up or drop it off while in the vehicle. You need to get out so it has the chance of players to shoot you and to try and stop that. But then, once you have the array of vehicles, do you want to want to use a dirt bike? In which case, it’s fast and you’ll get there much quicker, but you have no armor. Or, do you want to take a tank where you’re a lot more protected, but it’s going to take more time? It’s that kind of risk gameplay that we like to bring in.”

Thinking I had the right idea, I tried picking up a flag carrier in my scout chopper during my play time with End Game, hoping to score him a free ride to our base. That didn’t seem to work out too well.

Mcleod later told me, “It’s only ground vehicles [that can host a flag]. We wanted that because we thought the balance wasnt right when people got into a helicopter. It was just too quick and too easy to actually take [the flag] back.” He added that he wouldn’t be surprised to see some players use jets to capture the flag if DICE gave them the chance. “People are really good at this game.” But, “we wanted to make sure that it stayed on the ground.”

Air Superiority, on the other hand, grants each player their very own jet to capture three different points in the sky while fending off enemy jet fighters. Honestly, it’s pretty crazy to see so many jets in the air at once – up to 24 at once – and also really fun. The best part? You no longer need need to get nervous about wasting one of only two jets that you’ll find on other maps and game modes.

“I hear a lot of people sort of say, ‘im a little worried about the jet gameplay ’cause I dont normally play in jets. Im not that good at it,’” sympathises Mcleod. “There’s a lot of people when they play Conquest, they get nervous cause they don’t want to take one of the two jets. So, it’s like, ‘if I’m not awesome at this, I dont want to ruin this.’ Here, everyone has a jet. There’s a jet for every single person, so you can just practice. And if you’re not good to start with, you can practice and you can get better. Then, you can take that confidence and skill back into the other modes.”

While all Jet unlockables available in other game modes will be available in Air Superiority as well, ejecting from your aircraft is disabled, so you’ll be going down with your ride should you be outgunned. Also, unlike tank superiority, this mode is made up of strictly jet-vs-jet gameplay, meaning, infantry will not play a role in the combat.

BF3

With these two classic game modes, along with maps that really show off the diversity of the Frostbite 2 engine, DICE is really rounding things off with Battlefield 3: End Game, making it an ideal conclusion to this season of Battlefield 3 content.

Be sure to check out End Game’s new assignments and dog tags while learning how to unlock the M1911 S-Tac right here.

Battlefield 3: End Game drops for PlayStation 3 Premium members tomorrow, March 5. Xbox 360 and PC Premium members can expect to download the expansion on March 12, regular PS3 players on March 19, and regular Xbox and PC players on March 26.

  • Petter

    I can’t wait!!!!!!!!

  • lPiekyl

    “Thinking I had the right idea, I tried picking up a flag carrier in my scout chopper during my play time with End Game” During your playtime!? You got to sit down and play the maps? That’s fricken cool.

  • Phoenix

    So, they disabled bailing from Jets in Air Superiority? THANK YOU SO MUCH! I’m sick of people who bail out of bounds to deny your kill. Even if there are a lot of heatseeker spammers, this will still be my favourite gamemode. My body is ready!

    • http://twitter.com/Sleepzou Arvid

      so your body is ready i see…

    • Stoshy

      Screw that. I’m the guy that bails out at the last second, only to bring down your jet with an AA launcher. All while I parachute safely to the ground.

      That’s for scratching my jet, -blam!-

  • PewPewTank

    lol, imagine 64 jets xD

    • http://www.facebook.com/mohammad.nassir.92 Mohammad Nassir

      it would be so crazy !!

  • Katana67

    Okay… so… the AC-130 was -never- overpowered… ever. It’s a massive target, on a fixed path, which blows up with a few gun-runs by a jet from a massive blind spot. If anything it was -vastly- underpowered, given the enormous amount of AA in the game. Furthermore, even with the pre-patch thermal optics… the splash damage on the 105mm was minimal at best, you pretty much had to score a direct hit to get a kill even on foot-mobiles.

    To say that it was overpowered is just wrong. Consider that only two can be in the AC-130 at one time, while EVERYONE else can have a Stinger/Igla… not to mention have several people in jets/helicopters… and the fact that nearly every vehicle has AA which can knock it out of the sky.

    The reason it didn’t “work” in BF3, supposedly, was because they either added it to Rush (I don’t know, I stick to Conquest) or they simply just executed the AC-130 poorly (along with a lot of things in BF3). Remember, way back, when BF2 used to have a Commander position? Maybe that would’ve been a good thing to combine with the AC-130, to change its orbits up from time to time if you’re going to keep it on rails…

    Perhaps allowing it to be pilotable (like the UH-1Y), as to minimize the ludicrous blind spot which can be exploited by people in main spawns and fixed (invincible) AA turrets. The lack of CAS in BF3 is laughable, truly… aircraft are focused on taking each other out, not supporting ground efforts (hell, they even put an infinite supply of AA missiles on the attack helicopters). I find it funny as well that on the last DLC, DICE is just coming to the realization to include more scout helicopters and IFV’s.

    • http://twitter.com/paulinacio91 Paul George Inacio J

      lol all they info about the AC130 that was in fact OP!! I bet you have a shit ton of kills in it and that is why your complaining about it

      • Katana67

        Sweet assumption that is false, I have less than 100 kills in it.

        • http://twitter.com/Th3JAMESGM James Mulhall

          Then you haven’t used it enough to realize how good it is.

          • Katana67

            So right, logical fallacy.

            On one hand, if I have too many kills… I’m protecting something OP.

            If I have too few, I’m inexperienced.

            Make up your mind.

            • Hot-Wire

              Lol this is true for everything in the game. I’m either a M16 scrub or a new that can’t beat the m16.

            • Hot-Wire

              Meant newb* fixed

      • Not really

        It is overpowered in RUSH but I hardly notice it in CONQUEST. But its a lot less OP in RUSH due to them disabling the thermal for big gun.

        • Katana67

          Yeah, I wouldn’t know. I didn’t play any AK Rush. All I know, is that on Conquest… it is a deathtrap. Which lends credence to the argument that the AC-130 itself is not overpowered, but when applied (blindly) to different gametypes… it can be in certain scenarios (but is not overpowered innately).

  • born2expire

    So not looking forward to this. Offers nothing for the infantry player just large barren maps and 500 more ways for infantry to die.

    I guess I’ll be sticking to B2K and Aftermath (as usual).

    • hey

      so you want to be an infantry player yet you’re sticking to B2K and AM, are you retarded, yo i heard Close Quarters had an IFV in the enemies spawn somewhere BUT DON’T TELL ANYBODY THAT.

      • http://twitter.com/Th3JAMESGM James Mulhall

        Close Quarters is horrible due to the game modes. No Rush = No play.

      • Clayton Johnson

        He is talking about sticking to B2K and AM in that both those expansion packs are ideal for both 24 and 64 players extremes whereas AK and potentially EG bother cater primarily to 32-64. Close quarters suck.

        • born2expire

          Even with 64 players AK is just bad.

          • WhatANimrod

            Its a vehicle map not COD crap. Plenty of infantry oriented and infantry only map choices in BF3, not everything has to be about you.

  • hey

    TL:DR

  • http://www.facebook.com/swisher.sweets.39 Swisher Sweets

    is there going to be a patch?

    • patchadams

      only reaon i came to this website today was to see patch notes but no news…

  • http://www.facebook.com/awkenney Aaron Kenney

    I’m guessing that the majority of Battlefield fans REALLY enjoy open exploration of the environment and could care less about winning or losing. If the community is crying out for larger maps when they are already too big to drive home the objectives, then Battlefield 3 (and likely 4 when it comes out) will never be something I can enjoy. I really wanted to like this game, but there’s no room for tryhards, so I’m done.

    • Clayton Johnson

      It’s not really that, the majority of Battlefield fans just don’t like being limited on how to go about doing things. If we want to parachute over the objective, or take a vehicle along the outside or even just prone my way along the farthest extreme of the map to avoid detection then as God as my witness we’re going to do that, because we’re able to :) That’s why a lot of people were upset at maps like Operation Metro because it was so restricted to only three chokepoints inside of the metro. It’s the variation in map size that offers balanced vehicular combat alongside infantry and with the exclusion of Armored Kill and Close quarters, the maps are neither “too big” or “too small” even for 24 players. Now I have to assume that like myself, you play on console in which yes some of the maps are too large but that’s that’s what Rush is for. All the objectives are right there, one after another to “drive home” and the maps are scaled accordingly.

      • Clayton Johnson

        Battlefield 4 wont have that same problem because the tech in the next consoles will be far better than that of the current. More RAM to enable more destruction, larger player count, better graphics ect. Smoother FPS and better resolution, and if DICE actually communicates rather than leaving everyone in the dark like they did the first year of BF3 then the franchise will only get better. But it’s different strokes for different folks. You might not have gotten into it but I wouldn’t put BF3 down for any of today’s shooters except for Halo.

      • http://www.facebook.com/awkenney Aaron Kenney

        Yeah I don’t get it.

        • WhatANimrod

          Sounds like you don’t “get” a lot of things

          Go play Call of Duty trash – have fun running around on a yacht playing hide and seek – that mapsize might suit you better

          • Clayton Johnson

            Don’t even bother. I just realized this guys is a pretty well known troll on MP1st. Talking to him is like spanking a 5 year old. You can spank, spank and spank away, but he’ll still get in trouble of some other form……ok that sounded weird.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tyler.dominick Tyler Dominick

    I LOVE YOU BF3… cannot wait ( from what my DM said of BF4 , “words can not describe what i saw, its like a movie but better graphics, if there was ever a game to be banned it will be BF4 as it looks as if its real life”) Battlefield has a great, great future ahead. Now time to fap.

  • Twin

    Love the concept of Air Superiority. 24 jets at once? A jet for every player?

    …Makes you wonder why the hell they couldn’t do that for Tank Superiority.
    If vehicle-stealing was a potential issue they looked at, then they could have at least considered disabling enemies from entering vehicles that belong to the other team.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Schulze/1505305164 Ryan Schulze

      I would imagine it’s because air superiority will be entirely in the air with little to no destruction of structures and zero infantry. A whole lot less going on for the xbox or ps3 to manage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Schulze/1505305164 Ryan Schulze

    I’m looking forward to it. I wouldn’t call the AC130 OP, but it is annoying. It rarely has a difficult impact in Conquest, unless there’s zero teamwork. In Rush, though, it still provides a big advantage for the attackers…if you’re patient.

    More maps for BF3 though…I’m happy. And can’t wait to play some CTF and see if I can weave my way back to base on a bike. Should be fun.

  • Samoa

    24 jets in air superiority? Is that pc or console?

    • mechcell

      i think on both pc and console

    • http://mp1st.com/ David Veselka

      Yes, both :)

      • Clayton Johnson

        I can imagine just one match, nothing but lock on sounds, lock on sound echoing from other people’s mics..people will be muted and/or kicked lol

  • http://twitter.com/DirkDeadeye Mike

    Wait..when were flags in conquest spread apart? What game I was playing?

  • kyuubi_clone

    i also tried using the chopper to hitch my flag carrying buddy during testing – lol. at least DICE thought about it as well. you guys are gonna love this expansion, it rocks!!

    testing it was a blast, the bikes are crazy fast and have a quite realistic feel to their performance. yet another great expansion from DICE!! see you guys on the battlefield!!

    • The Army Ranger

      Apparently, you get a Silver Trophy/30G Achievement for bringing a flag-carrying teammate to the home base on an aircraft. (helicopters, duh!)

  • Awesome

    Parachuting down in vehicles. This is the greatest shooter ever period.

  • Kyle Jackson

    Riding away with the enemies flag on your motorbike, whilst dodging bullets from the chasing heli’s on your tail, will be so much fun.

    • paraderain

      id like to see u dodge a guided shell from the heli lol u wont even know its comin cuz im sure the bikes wont have a locked on tone

  • Malachi

    4. Transport Pilot (Silver/30G)
    Transport a flag carrier in an air vehicle while playing Capture the Flag

    “It’s only ground vehicles [that can host a flag]. We wanted that
    because we thought the balance wasnt right when people got into a
    helicopter. It was just too quick and too easy to actually take [the
    flag] back.”

    So which one is it really going to be?

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