UPDATE: 31st of July 2013, posts 429 & 430 UPDATE: 27th of November 2012, post 283 - no longer valid UPDATE: 29th of October 2012, post 8 The True Story of Battlefield 3, the Battlefield Franchise, Its Community, and EA/DICE Introduction I set out with the intention of clearing the air. You see, the Battlefield community at large is splintered. There are the veterans that have played every game and there are newcomers that have started the Battlefield franchise with Battlefield 3. There are people that obsessively tracked BF3's development from the moment it was announced and there are those that first saw it sitting on a shelf in a retail store. There are inbetweeners that played one or two games previously and those that occasionally would stumble onto the official forums, Reddit, or a YouTube channel. There's even the publisher and developers themselves and with all these differing audiences there are many different sides to the story that is Battlefield 3. There is an untold story that few know and that story is the whole story. That last line may seem naive, foolhardy, or even arrogant but my goal here is to tell the full story. From all sides. It is a lofty goal and I am fully aware that there is almost no doubt that I will fall short but I think it's important someone tries. There is far too much infighting among people which, at the core, want the exact same things. My hope is not to change anyone's opinion. My hope is to simply explain the other side of the coin. To make people aware, not only of the differing opinions, but the reasons for those opinions. So that we may better understand each other. The Announcement Battlefield 3 was officially announced the 30th of September 2010 on the official Battlefield Blog (1). At that time, all that was known was there would be a Beta and that the only guaranteed way to get into the Beta was to pre-order the latest entry in Electronic Arts' other first person shooter franchise, Medal of Honor. All was quiet for the next few months until the 4th of February 2011 and another official blog post (2). This blog post let players know that Battlefield 3 would be a "true successor to Battlefield 2" as well as confirming that certain features missing from the console-centered Bad Company series would be returning. The Battlefield community at large, the PC veteran crowd especially, rejoiced. Concern Arises The unanimous joy was short lived however. The March 2011 Game Informer cover story was Battlefield 3 (3) and the interview with DICE Executive Producer Patrick Bach left quite a few long-time fans concerned for the first time. It was in this article that the now dreaded phrase "lowering the threshold" first appears. However that slipped by most and instead people noticed that despite being called "true successor to Battlefield 2" Battlefield 3 would have four kits instead of BF2's seven. Even the reduced number of kits took a backseat to the fact that the Commander position (4) would not be returning. For many, the Commander position was a game defining feature of Battlefield 2 and to have it excluded from the sequel made no sense. In their view, the Commander turned a team of 32 chaotic individuals into a clearly structured and organized military unit. The response was swift. As early as the 9th of February 2011 there was petition supported by a number of Battlefield communities (5) in favor of having the position available. By the time BF3 released on the 25th of October later that year the petition had over 1,000 signatures (6). But the support did not end there. On Battlefield 3's official forums a poll was put up the first half of February (7). The question "Does BF3 need the 'Commander' position as seen in BF2 and BF2142?" was answered yes with a nearly two-thirds majority. I think it's important to note two things about the question asked in this poll. First, it asks if the position is needed instead of wanted and second, it asks for the commander to remain the same as seen in BF2 and BF2142. These two things possibly hurt the 'for' vote. At least a few of those that voted against could have been persuaded to vote in favor had some of the flaws of Commander been worked on. Perhaps a few voted no because while they would have liked to see the Commander role return, for them, it was not an absolute "must-have". EA UK Electronic Arts UK forums were where the official Battlefield 3 forums (8) were held and this forum was lucky enough to have DICE developers personally respond to posts and a few even started threads of their own. Are you worried about DICE’s vision of a Lower Complexity Threshold? (9) This was the title of a thread one concerned Battlefield fan started in response to the Game Informer article. Alan "Demize99" Kertz, Core Gameplay Designer on Battlefield 3 responded to the concern in this thread by saying, "Have some bloody faith will you?" (10) From my perspective this is when the DICE Defense Force first came into being. The Divide Those eagerly awaiting any and all things Battlefield related were suddenly divided into two camps. You had one camp that was very concerned about the future of Battlefield 3 and another group that had faith DICE knew what they were doing. The people belonging to the skeptical group were labeled 'whiners' by the second group whose members were referred to as the 'DICE Defense force'. Supposedly the whiners would complain about the smallest non-issues and could never be pleased (11), whereas the DDF would blindly defend any and all actions made by DICE no matter how unpolarizing the topic might seem. Only the Beginning The March 2011 Game Informer cover story was only the beginning of the endless debates between the whiners and the DDF. This was compounded by the fact that DICE released very little information to the public. Kertz addressed this concern in the thread previously mentioned by saying, "Somethings aren't decided, or are just planned and not done. Announcing something and then having it change down the road is difficult to explain, we'd rather stay quiet until we're done." (12) This mentality was quickly (and quietly) abandoned however and the community would not find out until units were shipped and DICE had their money in hand. Perhaps the best example of this is the often touted line PC is lead platform for Battlefield 3. In the March 2011 Game Informer cover story it was mentioned that the PC would be the lead platform for Battlefield 3 (13). PC being the lead was reiterated several times up to and even after release. April (14), September (15), and even the day after the US release in October (16) all saw articles published wherein DICE still claimed that the PC was the platform development was focused on. However, only one week later it was announced that the lead platform was switched to consoles mid-development (17).