I think it's fair to say all of us here at TR are looking forward to Battlefield 3—not just because it looks gorgeous, but because the Battlefield series has had historically strong multiplayer. Well, according to a blog post on the official Battlefield website, the folks at DICE have done some soul-searching and decided to reinvent the series' traditional multiplayer component with Battlefield 3.
The quote below from Lars Gustavsson, the game's lead multiplayer designer, sheds some light into the studio's thinking:
We thought a lot about Battlefield 2 and how Battlefield 3 would relate to it. 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. The goal with Battlefield 3 is to offer a vast variety of gameplay experiences and to be inviting to everyone. We’re not telling you how to play the game. You choose.
How will Battlefield 3 stray from the formula? For starters, DICE is adding team deathmatch alongside its trademark Conquest and Rush game modes (which are "bolder and more beautiful than ever, Gustavsson says). Also, it sounds like game maps will be quite a bit more varied. Gustavsson talks of melding dense urban areas with wider, more open environments, in contrast to traditional Battlefield maps that would normally feature "an open type terrain, fit for tanks, helicopters, and other vehicles to take part in the action."
As an example, Gustavsson points to Battlefield 3's "Operation Metro" map, which starts in a "lush, rolling park" before progressing underground into a "bombed-out metro tunnel section" and re-emerging into " downtown city streets for the final confrontation in front of the Paris stock exchange."
I'm curious to see how much these changes will affect gameplay in practice, but it's definitely nice to see at least one game studio trying to innovate rather than serve up the same old thing under a new name every year. (I'm looking at you, Call of Duty series.) Certainly, today's technology shouldn't force players to choose between tight, tactical gameplay and broader battles with vehicular combat.