NEWS - Friday, July 29, 2011

BF 3 Levels Slightly Compacted on Consoles

There has been a great deal of complaining that the console versions of Battlefield 3 don’t look quite as beautiful as the PC version. It’s no coincidence that the PC version is what was shown for months, and given how far we are into this console cycle, it’s expected that PC games will look better than their console counterparts. Besides the visual disparity, another difference is the decreased player limit -- up to 64 players can go at it online on PC, while only 24 can do the same on consoles. As a result, DICE says that levels have been somewhat compacted to make them play better. Ensuring the game is as fun as possible is the thinking behind all of these moves; it’s not that DICE is "evil or stupid."
 Speaking with German site GameZone (as translated by CVG), DICE Executive Producer Patrick Bach defended the choices that have been made regarding Battlefield 3 on consoles. He emphasized that the different versions are "more or less the same," as they run on the same engine and technology. The goal isn’t to offer a dumbed-down game on consoles.
Bach said trying to make the games identical is "really, really hard," but it’s a matter of finding compromises. "We tried to get more players in [to the console version] but then you need to scale down all the graphics, scale down all the destructibility, and sometimes you need to scale down all the map sizes."
Regarding the last point, Bach said maps are "more or less" the same. With fewer players on consoles, though, DICE has "tried to compact them slightly to keep the action up." It’s a reasonable thing to do, and Bach noted, "If you compare it to Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the maps weren’t really small on console. We actually had huge maps even for console. We have the same kind of angle on it right now [in Battlefield 3]."
24 players is still more than many games -- and more players doesn’t necessarily make for a better game, Bach argues. He has a point, even though console fans are still going to be frustrated over getting what they feel is an inferior game.
"Everything is a compromise," Bach said. "It’s not that we’re evil or stupid. We didn’t choose not to have more players -- we would love to do 64 players on console but then we would have to cut away so much; people would get very upset that it looked worse, played worse and wasn’t as fun as the PC version. We would never do that because the fun is always more important."
That includes the inclusion of jets, something that might not have been possible on consoles had they tried to bump up the player limit.
Battlefield 3 will be out for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on October 25. An open, multiplatform beta is set for September, and a tech-focused alpha test is currently ongoing.



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