Battlefield 3's multiplayer philosophy explained

In a recent blog post, Battlefield 3 lead multiplayer designer Lars Gustavsson discusses the 'philosophy' behind the multiplayer modes of Battlefield 3.


Hardcore Battlefield fans will be quick to point out that the series has left its roots in recent years, ignoring the PC, and focusing on more single-player experiences. Battlefield: Bad Company, for example, added a campaign and never even saw a PC release.

Although Battlefield: Bad Company 2's multiplayer was topnotch (and personally, my favorite of recent modern shooters) and it hit PC alongside consoles, the BF series is still missing a few key ingredients that made players fall in love with it back in 2002. Enter Battlefield 3, a game that developer DICE is promising will return the franchise back to the glory of the original Battlefield titles, for the first time in six years.

Though it debuted to a single-player demo at GDC 2011, DICE has finally begun to irk out details of the game's multiplayer component--arguably the most important element in any modern day shooter.

On the official Battlefield Blog, lead multiplayer designer Lars Gustavsson took a moment to discuss DICE's philosophy for multiplayer in Battlefield 3. "The mindset at DICE during the development of Battlefield 2 was pretty much: “Play the game our way, or play something else”. Now, we have made a conscious effort to reverse that mentality," Gustavsson says.

For Battlefield 3, the idea is to allow gamers to play the game the way they want to play it. Some of that, Gustavsson says, is in the geometry of the levels. Some areas offer wide-open areas like classic Battlefield 2 maps to "urban gritty maps with their tighter gameplay focus."

One of the more surprising additions is the return of Team Deathmatch to Battlefield, which has been absent from the series since Battlefield 1942. According to Gustavsson, omitting the mode "would almost be a criminal offense," noting that TDM lends itself well to "the tactical destruction and realistic soldier movement that Frostbite 2 brings to the game."

Other core elements are still in play, including the return of Conquest and Rush modes, which Gustavsson calls "bolder and more beautiful than ever."

"We discussed the strengths of Battlefield and ended up with a lot of interesting questions," Gustavsson said, speaking around the roles of squads in Battlefield 3. "Does teamplay have to be squad based, or can it be in a more general sense of playing together? Am I less of a gamer if I don’t want to play in squads? If I want Team Deathmatch? If I want infantry only gameplay?"

One of the things that I enjoy most about Battlefield is that it isn't as straightforward as other shooters. It has a strategic element to it that I just don't find in games like Black Ops. Whether asking these questions aloud means we're in for a more streamlined, accessible gameplay experience is yet to be seen, and whether any of those decisions will take away from the game's quality is something we'll need to examine when Battlefield 3 launches on October 25 for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 1, 2011 4:00 PM

    Xav de Matos posted a new article, Battlefield 3's multiplayer philosophy explained.

    In a recent blog post, Battlefield 3 lead multiplayer designer Lars Gustavsson discusses the 'philosophy' behind the multiplayer modes of Battlefield 3.

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      July 1, 2011 4:10 PM

      Battlefield 2 was pretty much: “Play the game our way, or play something else”.

      Their still doing that, look at all the complaints about the squad count, regenerating health, and quick knifing. They made some comprises but it isn't what people want. I guess we will have to wait till the beta to see if they really did go "back to the roots".

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        July 1, 2011 4:19 PM

        Doesn't matter; this game looks PHENOMENAL!

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        July 1, 2011 5:17 PM

        I want limited squads and regenerative health.

        So, no what?

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          July 1, 2011 6:41 PM

          It's bad enough getting people to stay in a squad as it is, I think they are fine the way they are now.

          As for regenerating health, fuck yea. It's only 3hp/sec, so it's not like anyone can duck behind a wall and pop up with full health after they reload or something. I'd rather have it than a game where I have to hide with 1hp and wait for a goddamn medic to stop running around rambo style and actually heal me.

          Regenerating health isn't realistic but if you want realistic go play Arma. Battlefield is about fun and chaotic hilarity.

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          July 1, 2011 6:50 PM


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        July 1, 2011 5:27 PM

        nope, they're pretty much making the game that i want.

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        July 1, 2011 5:36 PM

        Complainers are in the minority.

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          July 1, 2011 6:54 PM

          What a racist thing to say

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          July 1, 2011 7:10 PM

          That's not what the polls say on the BF3 forums.

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            July 1, 2011 7:26 PM

            Pfft! Hahahaha

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            July 1, 2011 7:27 PM

            Internet polls generally don't mean shit though.

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            July 1, 2011 7:30 PM

            generally the only people who partake in game specific community forums, and more specifically forum polls, are a very vocal minority and generally full of people who just want to complain while feeling entitled.

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            July 1, 2011 7:31 PM

            how many people have voted in those polls?

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              July 1, 2011 8:12 PM

              Go to the site and search "Health Regen" there is not a single post saying anything good about it. Anyone who has played Battlefield since 1942 doesn't want health regen, quick knifiing, or anything was introduced by CoD.

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                July 1, 2011 9:16 PM

                Health regen is awesome. It lets you go on massive kill streaks instead of slowly worn down. Most Battlefield complainers are just realism nutjobs who don't understand that Battlefield isn't supposed to be a polished version of ArmA.

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                July 1, 2011 9:23 PM

                Funny how you know that everyone who's played since 1942 agrees with you as if their opinion somehow matters. I ask again, how many people have voted in the polls?

              • Zek legacy 10 years
                July 1, 2011 9:55 PM

                No one ever posts a thread on official video game forums to proclaim how much they like an idea.

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                July 1, 2011 10:03 PM

                health regen is only bad when its used against me. :)

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                July 1, 2011 10:16 PM

                I love health regen.

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                July 1, 2011 11:17 PM

                +1 Health Regen

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                  July 2, 2011 2:05 AM

                  So many console lovers...

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                    July 2, 2011 3:09 AM

                    Lol, I'm a PC gamer, who's been playing the series since 1942...

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                July 2, 2011 3:18 AM

                what's wrong with a bit of health regen? it always seems like it's blown way out of proportion. it's not like it's healing people at some ridiculous rate that causes you to not be able to kill them. it usually just keeps the game flowing a bit faster. cod's regen rate is pretty decent.

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                  July 2, 2011 6:00 AM

                  . it usually just keeps the game flowing a bit faster

                  Battlefield isn't about keeping the game flowing fast. Its SLOW game play, its not meant to be fast. Bad Company turned it into a fast paced game.

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                    July 2, 2011 6:30 AM

                    i can't really say I agree with this. It's not Q3A duels item timing fast, but it wasn't slow and methodical (except for traveling)

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                    July 2, 2011 6:33 AM

                    Not at all, silly bones. That's why they have high-speed jeeps and sprint. You're supposed to charge around like a madman shootin' people and takin' flags. Playing a Battlefield game all tactical is doing it wrong like a TacticalGamers wanker.

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                    July 2, 2011 11:39 AM

                    lol I have no idea what battlefield you've been playing

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                    July 2, 2011 3:08 PM

                    I've never thought of the Battlefield franchise as a slow and deliberate shooter.

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                July 2, 2011 8:06 AM

                I hate health regen and wish it wasn't being implemented again. I suppose getting a health meter makes it a tad better but still not to my full liking. If they allow some customization of server settings for once I could see turning hardcore mode on which turns health regen off, but turning everything else back on.

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                  July 2, 2011 11:56 AM

                  Did BFBC2 hardcore mode disable heath regen?

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                    July 2, 2011 12:27 PM

                    Jup.. And i might add that it makes the game alot more interesting, e.g. knowing that when you harm the annoying sniper he won't be at full health as he comes back up from cover!

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                July 2, 2011 9:26 AM

                The health regen I can live with, BC2 had it slow enough that it didnt matter.

                But the instakill knifing can fuck off. At least so it only works instantly if done from behind. The game has enough netcode issues that instakill from any direction throws up all sorts of dodgy scenarios where a guy 16 feet away can zoom into you while you unload at him.

                Melee netcode sucks in so many games, including TF2. One day a developer will actually get it right.

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                  July 2, 2011 12:31 PM

                  This mostly happens when your enemy has a high ping.. he pushed the kill button before you so to speak. Don't think there's much you can do about that except convincing you enemy player to upgrade his internet connection.

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            July 2, 2011 6:26 AM

            They should totally design the game based on internet polls, it would surely be the greatest game ever made.

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        July 1, 2011 7:25 PM

        Well, I dont see a health bar or number indicating it on his HUD, so obviously the answer is 'no'

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      July 1, 2011 7:07 PM

      Are there or aren't there big vehicle-centric maps like BF1942 and BF2? That's what I want. That's what made those games great.

      I'm so sick of infantry-based MP. When they added the "No Vehicles" checkbox to BF2 I quit playing it. It made no sense to me. Vehicles are what set the BF games apart (and made them so much damn fun) from everything else out there.

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        July 1, 2011 7:11 PM

        I hope they do more vehicles like 1942 had as well.

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        July 1, 2011 7:15 PM

        The only reason vehicles were essential in '42 and 2 was because the engine was shit. Infantry was laggy, mouse code was rubbish,netcode sucked etc. So you had to use vehicles. That changed with frosbite.

        I wish they made a remake of '42 though. I need me some ww2 lovin.

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          July 1, 2011 10:03 PM

          ^ this ^ the infantry combat is so tight in the last bad company games that adding the vehicles are like a icing on the cake.

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            July 2, 2011 6:36 AM

            shit, I have more issues getting tank shells to register on helicopters than I have getting shotguns to register hits on infantry in BC2

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            July 2, 2011 9:25 AM

            maybe after 8 months of patches. it was shit on launch.

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              July 2, 2011 11:05 AM

              Its improved drastically. The mouse input feels much better than it did!

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            July 2, 2011 12:12 PM

            Agreed, I never liked infantry combat in a battlefield game until bad company 2.

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        July 2, 2011 12:24 AM

        They've said that maps will be bigger on the PC version. I prefer medium sized maps with vehicles. I like the Battlefield series (started with 1942), but something I never liked was that on the larger maps vehicles became necessary. If you couldn't get a vehicle, you'd spend the majority of your time just running, and it wasn't fun. Medium sized maps allow infantry and vehicles to both be effective.

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        July 2, 2011 3:56 PM


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      July 1, 2011 9:20 PM

      In the video at the 25-second mark the guy is prone and crawling.

      I wonder if that'll make it into release, considering all the hate for prone before BFBC2 came out.

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      July 1, 2011 9:38 PM

      If I can't use my strafe keys while running, fuck it. I wont buy this steaming pile.

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        July 2, 2011 3:51 AM

        I hate this as well

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        July 2, 2011 6:38 AM

        you can strafe while running but there will be a 50% chance of tripping on a rock and breaking your leg, then you will walk slower and your aim will be shit until you go prone in the medic tent for three months

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        July 2, 2011 7:24 AM

        I would not mind it simply being a quick hop-shuffle like I do in real life if I try to strafe, but going walking speed sideways in a warzone is a great way to get shot because i'm not behind that cover fast enough.

        I hope that's what you're bitching about instead of the 70MPH cardinal direction changes I see in some games.

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      July 2, 2011 12:29 AM

      I'd really like to get some idea of how effective vehicles will be. In BC2 sometimes it seems like as soon as you take your tank or apc over that hill BAM, tracer dart, and then heat seaking gustavs of death fill the sky, launched from places you can't even see. Air vehicles have also been neutered compared to what they were like in 1942 and Battlefield 2.

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      July 2, 2011 2:33 AM

      I eat BF3 new up! Thanks for the info!!

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      July 2, 2011 6:25 AM

      These are just a few fluffy, bullshit marketing quotes. Not really seeing any concrete "information" here...

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      July 2, 2011 11:59 AM

      The lead MP designer is named after the best weapon in the game? AWESOMEEEEE

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      July 2, 2011 12:36 PM

      I wish the hell DICE would reintroduce ships back into the coast / island based maps. While some people ignored them, I really enjoyed having the option of grabbing the battleship and laying waste to capped bases.

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      July 2, 2011 4:29 PM

      "The mindset at DICE during the development of Battlefield 2 was pretty much: “Play the game our way, or play something else”. Now, we have made a conscious effort to reverse that mentality," Gustavsson says."

      Which is why BF3 looks like a CoD clone instead of BF.

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      July 3, 2011 4:57 PM

      It sounds like he is saying that they will have small infantry only maps like COD along with the normal large vehicle maps. Make sense, that way they cater to both crowds.


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      July 3, 2011 8:41 PM

      That's not how you use the word "irk". ---> "...begun to irk out details...".
      Perhaps you meant "leak".

      –verb (used with object)
      to irritate, annoy, or exasperate: It irked him to wait in line.
      Origin: 1300–50; Middle English irken to grow tired, tire

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      July 5, 2011 5:59 AM

      Small nitpick, but Lars is the DICE Creative Director, not just the Lead MP Designer. He has been there forever:

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