When people think of the Battlefield franchise, there's a pretty clear image of what pops into their heads. Massive maps and vehicle combat have been the defining staples of Battlefield games since 1942. But, despite a loyal fanbase, EA's flagship shooter hasn't yet managed to topple the reigning king of the online FPS: Call of Duty. That franchise has very different tenets: small maps with a focus on infantry combat.
One can't help but think that Battlefield's next DLC pack, "Close Quarters," is an attempt to make the game more friendly to fans of Call of Duty. Instead of massive, sweeping maps with tanks and jets, "Close Quarters" will offer up four small, corridor-heavy maps which encourage considerably more running and/or gunning.
In an interview with Vox Games, Patrick Bach, the executive producer at DICE, explained why they made the change.
"We wanted to see how far we can push the infantry experience and make it really tight and really intense," said Bach.
He admitted that he was prepared for some skepticism about the pack.
"I'm sure that fans will raise an eyebrow or two when they see this pack, because it's not what people expect when they hear Battlefield. But we know that playing Team Deathmatch, in Battlefield, on our tight infantry maps that we had in the vanilla Battlefield 3, they are really, really popular. We can see the need and the urge for more of these maps."
It's hard to say whether the desire for this sort of gameplay came straight from the fans or whether it's EA and DICE attempting to nab a larger fanbase, but there's no denying that it's quite a lot of fun. I spent 30 minutes playing one of the four maps in "Close Quarters" and found the increased pace refreshing. Set in a sparsely decorated penthouse (with hints of Swedish design!), there was a considerable amount of additional destruction, with walls exploding from grenade shrapnel, adding some new tactics as the round proceeded.
Not to belabor a point, but it didn't feel like Battlefield. It was pure chaos. None of my lives lasted much longer than 30 seconds, which made coordinating with squadmates just about impossible. It was fun and fast-paced, but is this sort of gun-slinging what Battlefield fans are looking for?
If not, those same fans will be pleased to know that there's another DLC pack waiting in the wings. "Armored Kill" is planned for a fall release and will focus on – you guessed it! – massive maps and vehicular combat.