Battlefield 3's End Game DLC hits Xbox Live Marketplace on 12th March... but you can also download it now for "other platforms", if you absolutely must. In weary recognition of this depressing fact, here's the full text of our interview with DICE producer Craig Mcleod, exploring both End Game itself and DICE's DLC strategy in general, with a faint dusting of dinosaurs and Battlefield 2142 ruminations.
Before we begin, a quick recap: End Game adds four new maps, two AA vehicles, motorbikes, pilots-only Air Superiority mode, Capture The Flag and the usual drizzle of assignments and achievements. It'll cost 1200 MP. Now, on with the hard-hitting investigative journalism.
How pre-planned was Endgame? Did you have a fully formed idea in mind when you began developing Battlefield 3 DLC, or has it evolved according to player responses to your other packs?
That's actually a really good question. We only had the idea of Endgame, but we weren't 100% certain at the very beginning that we were going to do it, and then as we were going along we saw the success - and actually we saw a number of features that we want to add to the Battlefield 3 franchise, but weren't able to fit them into the current packs. So we decided to do one more to bring in things that we thought were really important, like Capture The Flag.
Your last pack Aftermath had more of a narrative context than this one. Is that because players weren't as keen on the idea of DLC that's supported by the story?
No, it wasn't really to do with that. We feel that people got Aftermath, but there were a number of people who really didn't enjoy the fact that we'd tied it in to the single player storyline. One of the things that we're able to do with extensions is we can kind of try out some new things. We had some great ideas that we want to get out there and some new features.
With this pack we're trying something different. What we're doing with our final pack, Endgame, is we're looking at speed and agility - that's what we're trying to bring to the battlefield this time. So this can be seen with a big focus on airplay, regarding our jets and air superiority, as well our AA vehicles and in particular the dirt bikes. We wanted to bring that aspect to the battlefield - that was really really important to us, rather than trying to shoehorn something else in that didn't quite fit right.
DLC does seem like a good opportunity to rediscover older aspects of the franchise, like Capture The Flag. How do you handle reviving these ideas?
I think it's a really important thing to do. We talk a lot to our community, whether it's at events or whether it's through forums and other media, and one of the things that we get from them is this kind of information, and the great thing with Endgame is that we were able to incorporate earlier feedback.
So, Capture The Flag is actually the first time we've brought it back in ten years since Battlefield 1942. It's something that we've wanted to bring back for a while, we know it's a core first person shooter game mode, and it's something that our community told us that they would love to see in Battlefield. This kind of extension pack allows us to do that.