Battlefield 3: End Game will round off DICE's series of downloadable content for Battlefield 3 with two new modes, new maps, and a new vehicle — the dirt bike — which producer Craig Mcleod says will speed up the game and allow players to experience Battlefield in a whole new way.
Speaking to Polygon, Mcleod says the logic behind DICE's DLC for Battlefield 3 is to release "whole new experiences" with each expansion, as opposed to just releasing new maps that don't encourage new styles of play. Back to Karkand — the first piece of premium DLC for Battlefield 3 — eased players into the premium DLC with something familiar. Close Quarters was a more infantry-focused shooter. Armored Kill had the biggest maps of any Battlefield game. Aftermath took players into a city setting for close-range combat in tight streets littered with debris, and now End Game — the final piece of DLC — will explore fast gameplay, a dedicated mode for dogfights and the re-introduction of Capture the Flag mode.
"This is our fifth and final expansion pack and it's all about speed and agility on the battlefield, which is really epitomized by the dirt bike we brought in," Mcleod says. "We also brought in the Air Superiority mode, which lets players take part in 12 versus 12 dogfights and re-introduced Capture the Flag, which hasn't been in Battlefield since the original, Battlefield 1942."
The "new experience" that DICE wants players to have with End Game is that of speed and agility across wide open spaces. According to Mcleod, the maps and terrain were designed to cater to the speeds offered by the dirt bike.
"This is set in the desert, and the reason why we have open areas and rolling hillsides is because we just couldn't get the speed up in an urban environment," he says. "The dirt bike really shines when you put it flat out in an open space."
The maps have been sculpted to encourage creative jumps on the dirt bike – there are obvious surfaces like ramps and hills, but there are also hidden and unexpected areas where players can leverage surfaces for jumps.
"I've seen our playtesters do some amazing things," Mcleod says. "They'll fly the bikes through windows into buildings, which I didn't think was possible, or a dirt bike might make a jump into the air and attack a helicopter."
Snipers will be useless if a tank rolls in.
The dirt bike also plays a role in the twist DICE is putting on the Capture the Flag mode. Where players previously had to capture the flag while on foot and deliver it back to their base, players can now carry their flags while in vehicles. According to Mcleod, this will add a new strategic layer to the Capture the Flag mode because different modes of transport will have advantages and disadvantages. A player capturing the flag on a dirt bike has the advantage of speed but leaves themselves susceptible to attacks. A player capturing the flag in a tank will be well-protected but will also move slowly. The vehicles also force players to change up how they protect their base. Having a group of snipers guard a flag may be useful if the opponent is travelling on foot or bike, but the snipers will be useless if a tank rolls in.
"It makes you rely on all four roles within the Battlefield franchise because if you don't, you'll find people will just play against you way too well," Mcleod says. "By making sure you use the different roles in the game strategically, it adds this flavor to the gameplay that creates a completely different environment."
"A dirt bike might make a jump into the air and attack a helicopter."
Mcleod says that what he's seen playtesters do with the dirt bike is "just the tip of the iceberg" and he expects the Battlefield 3 community to pull off stunts and find creative ways to experience the new modes.
Battlefield 3: End Game is out tomorrow for PlayStation 3 owners with Battlefield Premium accounts. Xbox 360 and PC Battlefield Premium members will get End Game on Tuesday, March 12. Those without Premium memberships on PlayStation 3 can download it on March 19, while Xbox 360 and Windows PC owners can download it on March 26.