With the release of the franchise’s most highly anticipated game, a mere hours away, many gamers
across the world sit with baited breath, ready to help usher in a new era of Battlefield. On Tuesday,
October 25th, Battlefield 3 will kick the door off of the hinges as it makes its debut. Bringing with it, will
be a large swath of players who are new and fresh to the Battlefield experience. Battlefield 3 has been
given more marketing and advertising resources than any battlefield game has ever received. With all
of the new attention being thrust upon Battlefield 3, there will be millions of people who will be making
the plunge into Battlefield for the very first time.
For the few of you who may have taken up residence under a rock for the last year or so, the reason
for such a large amount of resources being put into the advertising campaign for Battlefield 3, is largely
due to the fact that E.A. has decided to set its sights on the perennial Call of Duty franchise. Electronic
Arts has decided that they are no longer content with allowing annual Call of Duty installments to run
through the fall release schedule with no real competition of note. Over the last year, both Activision
and Electronic Arts has engaged in a two sided war of chest thumping over which publisher will be
bringing the best game to the market this fall.
While many gamers have been content to dismiss school yard antics of the publishers as nothing but
bravado for the public, there are those that have gobbled up this perpetual war of words that have
lingered on for a year. Many of them insisting on trying to put Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern
Warfare 3 as direct rivals, as though they can only be an “Either / Or” decision for gamers. While it is
impossible to expect that the two games will avoid being directly compared to one another for their
similarities, it is my belief that it is their distinct differences that should be compared, and valued as
strengths for both storied game franchises.
At the end of the day, the fact remains that with Battlefield 3’s aggressive marketing campaign, it is
bound to have attracted the attention of players who have never played Battlefield previously. The
success and rampant popularity of the Beta earlier this fall, should provide all the evidence you need
for the amount of gamers who have taken up an interest. Millions of them are likely to have come
from a more Call of Duty heavy gaming experience. The influx of new, fresh and excited players being
introduced into Battlefield 3 is going to do a lot of positive for the Battlefield community, bringing both
more revenue to the franchise, but as well as increasing the overall size of the community, pushing it
into uncharted territories.
There’s no denying that with previous installments to the Battlefield series, the community has been
much more of a fringe community within the gaming landscape. Some might have even be willing to
paint Battlefield as a franchise that really fills a small niche in the FPS market, and in some cases, you
could very easily be correct. Battlefield 3 however, looks to change all of those things. I do not think
DICE or EA is willing to see their flagship AAA title be relegated to the “also ran” category once again.
The resounding success of BF3’s open beta should give a clear indication that at the very least, they have
the attention of the millions of Call of Duty players across the globe who are at least interested in giving
Battlefield 3 a whirl. But that can bring with it its own share of very serious negatives as well.
The negatives will sprout up most dramatically when it comes to the very different cultures that each
franchise has built itself around. Many, but not all, of the gamers coming from a Call of Duty background
are used to kills being the only thing of importance of many situations. Even in game modes with active
objectives, they may very well still have the mindset of if you get the most kills, you’ll still easily win that
game of Domination. That simply isn’t the case in Battlefield. While kills can be vital, simply gathering
a lot of them will many times mean very little to the success of your team or bare any correlation to
how well you are doing in relation to helping your team. In Battlefield, you won’t be sitting back to
stack up your kill streaks so that you can then unleash havoc upon your enemies. No, in Battlefield, you
ARE the kill streak. You won’t find a Chopper Gunner that will fly you around the map in an automated
path while you hold the trigger. But for those players who enjoy the bird’s eye view of the battlefield,
while giggling with glee as body parts and debris go flying under the vicious, unrelenting barrage of your
helicopter, you’ll need to put in some time to master the control of the vehicles. Once you find your
groove of a Jet or an attack chopper, you’ll be in for a reign of chaos that no AC-130 or Chopper Gunner
from Call of Duty could ever hope to offer you.
It seems apparent to me that Battlefield 3 has purposefully taken the approach of, “play it your way”
this time around. There seems to be an abundance of ways for you to be able to enjoy the game no
matter what your personal preference may happen to be. If you are a more gun on gun based player,
with little interest in vehicles, DICE has provided you with a variety of options, including infantry only
mode. You could play Rush and Conquest all day, without ever encountering a tank shell to the face, or
needing to run from cover to cover, trying to pull off Neo-esque evasion moves to escape the torrent of
bullets from an attack chopper.