EA press conference

Battlefield 3 Looks Gorgeous, Multiplayer Beta Announced

by Jeff Marchiafava on Jun 06, 2011 at 10:55 AM

At EA's press conference, DICE showed off the superior power of Battlefield 3's Frostbite engine, announced a window for the multiplayer beta, and took a jab at Activision's Call Of Duty: Elite pay service.

After seeing the live demo for Battlefield 3, it's no surprise that EA chose to end its press conference with DICE's upcoming shooter. Before starting the demo, the DICE rep showed off some of the advancements of the Frostbite 2.0 engine. The improvements include better animation (which is particularly evident in player transitions), better destruction (the video showed teaser clips of entire buildings crumbling to pieces), a larger sense of scale, and improved rendering (I'm still not convinced that the smoke animations are being handled in real time; they're gorgeous). Oh yeah, the audio is improved too, but DICE is already the king in the sound department, so that shouldn't come as a surprise.

DICE also took the time to mention its new Battlelog initiative, a set of social and stat-tracking tools that will be available online to Battlefield 3 players. The DICE rep stated with a smile that all of Battlelog's options, which include finding online opponents, managing friends lists, and following your stats and achievements in real time, will be available to players free of charge -- a clear shot across the bow at Activision's recently announced pay service, Call Of Duty: Elite. Whether the two services will truly be comparable remains to be seen, but DICE has always been generous with the amount of statistics it offers players.

As for the actual demo, most of it took place inside of a tank rolling across a desert that appeared to be larger than anything I've seen in a Battlefield game yet. Although the tank's HUD will look familiar to Bad Company 2 players, the demo sold the sense of the player actually being inside of a tank: Several times the player transitioned between different cameras attached to the turret and an overhead drone, and looked on as another passenger loaded giant shells into the barrel. The demo ended in a shower of explosions, and it's not an exaggeration to say that they were the prettiest explosions I've ever seen in a video game.

If you can't wait to play the game for yourself, the demo also revealed that the multiplayer beta will be available across multiple platforms starting in September; the game is scheduled to be released on October 25. We'll be bringing you more on Battlefield 3 when we get some hands-on time with the game later this week.