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DICE Discusses Battlefield 3’s ‘Emotional’ Narrative

The ugliness of war as depicted by DICE.

by William Schwartz


In DICE’s latest Battleblog, Lead Designer David Goldfarb discussed Battlefield 3‘s “authentic” narrative. In the blog he states that the single player campaign will be non-linear and taken from the perspective of multiple characters, as was expected after seeing that the player character in the Thunder Run demo at E3 was different than the character from the Fault Line demo earlier this year.

“The non-linear story in Battlefield 3 is told by way of a frame narrative where U.S. Marines Staff Sgt. Henry “Black” Blackburn is being interrogated about recent world-shaking events. What the player actually plays are Black’s recollections of the events where a new threat known as the PLR caused him to be involved in military joint operation all across the globe…Each playable character in Battlefield 3 allows the player to obtain his (or her) own perspective of the chaotic events that transpire, giving us the opportunity to explore the human psyche and what it means to be human.”

DICE is focusing on well developed characters and authentic atmosphere in the game, which shows off quite well in their recent teaser for “Operation Guillotine“. The game is said to feel more like “Saving Private Ryan” instead of “Hogan’s Heroes”:

“We are mixing tension-building passages with the chaos of suddenly erupting firefights. We’ve sought to keep the game feeling as plausible as possible, because the moment the audience stops believing it could happen, then you’re just like every other shooter.”

After reading this, it seems Battlefield 3 is going to attempt to set the bar for narrative in military shooters this year on top of its quest for top-notch, eye melting graphics and some of the best online gameplay in years. The narrative seems to be structured in a similar way to Call of Duty: Black Ops (no…..this is not an attempt to pit the franchises against each other, again) in that the majority of the game will be played primarily from one person’s perspective, while occasionally playing from others’, in the form of flashbacks as they are being interrogated by some G-man. This is a technique that has been used in film for quite some time and seems that BF3 will be going for a very cinematic approach…or more accurately, a documentary styled approach.

Up to this point, many have been skeptical about how well crafted the game’s single player will be from a narrative standpoint (including me, especially), but now it seems the game may be amazing in more ways than just its gameplay. Battlefield 3 will be released on PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 on October 25 with a beta available on all platforms in the coming weeks.

- This article was updated on:December 4th, 2017

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