Battlefield 3's Campaign Will Depict Intense, Authentic War

Battlefield isn’t a series that sells itself on story. Sure, there’s a campaign component and there’s work put in to it, but it feels like something you play when EA’s servers go down. It’s engaging enough, but it’s got nothing on the multiplayer, and the writing in Bad Company 2 provided me enough cringe-worthy moments to disfigure my cheek bones.

David Goldfarb, lead designer and writer of the game’s single player campaign, would like to ensure that doesn’t happen again, and he’s written a blog post to accompany the game’s latest teaser about how Battlefield 3 manages to provide that intangible vibe of real, authentic war.

“We loved making Battlefield: Bad Company and Bad Company 2. They were great fun, they had their own theme, they were light hearted. In essence, they were adventure flicks. Indiana Jones with an assault rifle,” he writes.

Battlefield 3 goes much closer to contemporary reality and current events than previous games in the series. We’re depicting a war and everything that suggests.

“We’re telling a war story now, and that means it needs to feel credible, it needs to feel contemporary, and it needs to connect with things and emotions that we have never really tried or had the means to properly connect to before.”

The story unfolds as a frame narrative, played out in a series of recollections from protagonist Staff Sgt. Henry “Black” Blackburn. We won’t just be playing as him, though: the narrative jumps from character to character across the globe, from New York to Paris to Tehran.

“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,” he says.

Color me cynical but that’s a big promise to make. This medium doesn’t have a reputation for tackling the human condition particularly well, let alone in its most popular sub-genre better known for teabagging than narrative and emotional complexity. I have my reservations, but if ever there was a time for DICE’s narrative chops to shine, it’s now.

Battleblog #10: Crafting a captivating story grounded in authenticity