Battlefield 3 retailer-exclusive items explained

Battlefield 3 developer DICE has revealed that selected retailers around the world will be offering a special pre-order edition with exclusive in-game multiplayer items unavailable elsewhere. Naturally, Battlefield fans are none too pleased with this.

While the 'Battlefield 3 Limited Edition: Physical Warfare Pack' was in fact announced back in May, then confirmed only for the UK, the fan backlash campaign really kicked off over the weekend on That Internet. You know, the usual--heaps of forum posts; calls for media attention; loud boycott vows very few will actually honour. Come Monday morning, EA has released a little FAQ to address the issue.

Pre-ordering BF3 from select retailers will get you the Physical Warfare Pack, which offers the Type 88 light machine gun, which was an unlockable in the Battlefield: Bad Company series, Battlefield 3's only sniper rifle flash suppressor, for the SKS, and flechette ammo for the DAO-12 semi-automatic shotgun. You'll also get an instant multiplayer unlock of the DAO-12 itself, and the non-exclusive 'Back to Karkland' vintage map pack, which is a pre-order bonus everywhere and will also be sold separately.


Only the UK retailers offering the Physical Warfare Edition have been revealed so far, Game and Gamestation, but DICE notes, "Exact details for other countries and retailers will be announced at a later date."

"The three exclusive items in the Physical Warfare Pack were specifically chosen not to be overpowered or imbalance or break the game in any way," DICE insists. "Owning these items will give you a more varied arsenal, but it will not give you a significant advantage on the battlefield."

In 2008, publisher EA planned to offer exclusive weapons for Battlefield: Bad Company. Five guns for multiplayer would have only been available by buying the Gold Edition or through microtransactions. However, after fan outrage, EA dropped the plans and decided they'd be available to all players for free, though Gold Edition players would have them unlocked instantly.

"When we saw this big uprise about people that really felt it was dissatisfying that some people bought the Gold Edition, those five weapons you couldn't get or that you had to buy if you had the ordinary version of the game, that we just decided that all weapons will be free in the game, and that's how it is now," producer Karl-Magnus Troedsson said back then. Clearly, fans are hoping for a similar resolution this time around.

DICE says it offers bonuses, "Because we believe in rewarding our core fanbase with special offers--such as giving them the Back to Karkand expansion pack at no extra charge." What goes unsaid is that retailer-exclusive content is used to encourage retailers to promote the game more. That's just business, of course, but attempting to dodge the issue may only serve to irritate fans further.

Battlefield 3 is headed to PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on October 23