Battlefield 3 dev talks inspiration vs originality

By Steve Watts, Oct 24, 2011 2:00pm PDT

As EA's answer to the blockbuster Call of Duty franchise, Battlefield 3 was bound to invite some comparisons. Electronic Arts made no effort to hide the fact, even using "Above and Beyond the Call" as the slogan for the upcoming shooter. Now as the game is on the verge of release, executive producer Patrick Bach has explained some of the philosophy that went into building a new entry in the series.

"How do you get inspired, but not stealing, or borrowing too much, from other sources?" Bach said in a Gamasutra interview. "I think the important part there is to have a vision of where you want to be in two years, five years, rather than looking at 'what did we do last year, and how can we improve on that?' Because if you only look at what you did, then you will only get a small kind of version plus point one."

He says that taking building something new is risky, especially economically. "Us building a new engine to build this game -- if you look at it from a monetary perspective, it's stupid, and why would you do that? We could have built this game on the Bad Company 2 engine. But then you wouldn't get this. You would get something that felt more like Bad Company 2, maybe, and I think that wouldn't be beneficial for anyone. You want to be inspired by other things, yet you want to create something unique. But unique doesn't equal good, so you need to do both."

Bach explains that modern military shooters run the risk of feeling the same, and they've tried to differentiate Battlefield 3 with a few choice elements. "We focus a lot on the physicality, the presence in the world, the animations, getting it to look and play in a more physical way than we've ever seen before. And again, to do that, we need to create technology to support that."

Battlefield 3 is due tomorrow for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

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