For many gamers this year’s E3 is going to be defined by the battle of the shooters. With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Gears of War 3 and Battlefield 3 it’s certainly shaping up to be a bumper year for a genre that has already seen Crysis 2 and Brink released in recent months.
As of right now however, it could be argued that it’s Battlefield 3 that has won the battle of the pre-release hype. It’s easy to see how that particular ‘accolade’ has been achieved. Thanks to a series of breathtaking in-game trailers and carefully controlled press screenings, EA DICE have managed to create an aura around the new Battlefield the likes of which the competition has yet to come close matching. Its number one rival, Modern Warfare 3, released its own gameplay trailer recently but, quite frankly, it pales in comparison to those trailers for BF3.
However, Battlefield 3 still has an enormous question mark over its head. What will the game look like for us regular Joe’s? Sure, the particle effects, the detailed textures and fluid animations look great on the many thousands of pounds worth of PC that we’re being shown the game on, but what will it look like for us without our own yacht, penthouse, legion of Ferrari’s and super computer?
DICE have told us in the past that console and ‘reasonable’ PC set-ups will be comparable to the videos we’ve seen so far, which is about as helpful an answer as Sony saying the PSN will back ‘soon’. Unfortunately, those looking for such answers in the immediate future (i.e. at E3) shouldn’t be holding their breath. Los Angeles’s trade show is about glitz, glamour and great graphics, it’s not about showing something off at below its maximum capabilities.
What we can hope for at E3 are further details relating to the game’s campaign story and/or specific locations, multiplayer game modes and whether or not vehicles will play a part and in which game modes.
It’s been stated previously that DICE are aiming this game very much towards the PC audience from which the series originally found success, but ask any publisher not making either exhaustive RTS games or MMOs and they’ll tell you it’s very difficult to turn a worthwhile profit by concentrating only on the PC market (ask Bethesda, for example). This is something DICE are going to have to think about very carefully if they plan on taking the multiplayer FPS crown away from Call of Duty; you can’t be the biggest dog in the yard without the backing of console players anymore, they’re too many and too vocal to be sidelined.
Then again, this is DICE. DICE (usually) know what they’re doing.