Welcome Inside DICE!
We are happy to present the brand new "Inside DICE" series! This is where all of our fans will get candid and personal reflections directly from the people working with Battlefield 3™ and our expansion packs and updates. First out is DICE General Manager Karl Magnus Troedsson, revealing his thoughts on community transparency and on returning to GDC one year after the big Battlefield 3 presentation.
I'm very excited to open up our new "Inside DICE" section. Engaging in direct dialogue with our fans has been on my agenda for a while, and we will do that partly via the new blog series that you are now reading.
When it comes to upcoming game updates, tweaks, fixes, and new features, this is where the producers, programmers, and designers personally will tell you what they are doing, why they are doing it, and when you can expect to see their changes in the game. More than just information on dates and a change list, you will also get to meet the people behind the keyboards actually making it happen, how they go about designing these changes, what obstacles they stumble across, and how many semlor they had for fika. Besides keeping you better informed on upcoming updates, we hope this blog series will give you an insight into game development and post-launch game support itself, as well as into Swedish culture working at DICE, and working as a community manager.
Going Back to San Fran
So what's on my mind right now? Well, I'm super psyched about putting the final pieces together for an exciting presentation we're taking to GDC in San Francisco. For any fan, GDC will bring some very exciting news about the future of Battlefield 3.
I love doing live presentations, but it's also somewhat nerve-wracking at times. I'm up there on stage, representing the team at DICE and all their hard work. They spend blood, sweat and tears making our games, and that's why I always strive for rock solid presentations. But sometimes I stumble on the language. English is my second language, and this can make for some interesting hiccups on stage. Like at E3 last year when I apparently coined a new meme. In Sweden we don't say "fingers crossed" but rather we "hold our thumbs" to express the same wish. What came out on stage became the now famous "thumbs crossed", which my colleagues at DICE refuse to let me forget. :) Anyway, I hope to see some of you in San Francisco, and you will definitely be able to read about the latest announcements after GDC.
I've also been swamped with other exciting work lately, which is the reason I've been pretty quiet on the Twitter front. I've worked hard with the DICE management team to plan the long term goals of DICE as a studio and our upcoming games, and I feel very good about where we are and where we are headed. We have so many great ideas for where to take DICE and Battlefield™ in the future! But that's for another blog post another time.
The fast moving industry
Part of what I love about the games industry is that it moves so fast. We're not making snap decisions at DICE or EA, but decisions can still change overnight. At one point in time, we were planning to announce our next expansion pack in February. Turned out it wasn't feasible, but not before word got out that it was in the plans. That happens. And it will happen again. It's just part of the big and elaborate puzzle where sometimes plans change at an amazing speed. As I'm writing this, we are still deciding on the final pieces of this puzzle, but consider GDC as the next info drop from us at DICE.
The ever changing nature of what we do is one of the reasons we will always be careful what we say and when we say it. Why? Because if we say "Next week we'll announce a new expansion pack" and then change our minds (for whatever reason), the normal reaction is disappointment. Being unclear about future content could also raise more questions than answers. We're doing X on format Y? What about format Z and W? If we don't have those answers, we want to be able to say why. Going forward, we will work hard on being clearer and more regular in our communication, and explain the rationale behind some of our decisions.
Then again, some huge events just have to premiere on GDC. Why? Because, and this is maybe explaining the obvious, we want as many eyes as possible on what we do. It's how we get attention, it's how we grow, and it's how we make sure we can keep delivering blockbuster games out of a studio that started as a small group of friends creating pinball games for the Amiga.
The next Battlefield 3 update: What is it? When is it?
So, in the interest of openness: The next client update for Battlefield 3 on all platforms is a big one. It's been in the works for quite some time now, and the reason it's taking its time is we want to make it a really great update. That and the fact that each client update on console is in part governed by first party and for technical reasons have some lead time. There is a reason that we can't update the game every time we fix one small thing. Rather, we need to pile stuff up until we have a decent sized update that makes sense to push live (in extreme cases, we make exceptions, like when we pushed our VOIP chat fix live in a separate client update on PlayStation® 3).
For a while there, it looked like the next Battlefield 3 update would go live in February. So we messaged that. Guess what? It didn't happen. We wanted to fill it with even more content, which takes extra time. We are now aiming to get this update out this spring, and will have a clear date closer to release.
This Battlelog News post details some of what is in the planned spring update, although please keep in mind that this update is still subject to change. More detail about what we are adding to the game will be revealed at GDC, and after that, we will start to go in-depth on specific features from the change list. All in all, you will pretty soon know why I think 2012 will be a great Battlefield year.
In our next post in the "Inside DICE" series, we will talk in more detail about some of the changes we are making in our next update, why we are making them, how we are making them, how we are basing them on community feedback, and why we think this makes the game better.
In the widget area to the right, you will also find some basic information about what we have done so far in terms of supporting Battlefield 3 after launch. As we continue this series, you will always be able to get the latest data at a glance about upcoming updates, any current change lists, and more. Looking at that data just now, I can honestly say we are one of the studios that take the greatest care of our game post-launch.
This is just the start of the "Inside DICE" series. Expect a mix of long, in-depth features on weapon balancing mixed with spur of the moment mobile photos of random events at the DICE office. I love coming in to work every day, and I want you to experience part of what makes being at DICE so rewarding.
What do you want to read next?
Consider "Inside DICE" officially open. And consider it your chance to let us know what you want to read next. The comments section on our new blog is pretty neat, so just hop in and let us know what you think, or use the poll below to vote on some post ideas we are toying around with. My DICE colleagues will make sure to check in, so this is a chance for you to engage in dialogue with the people behind Battlefield 3.
I'm happy to have cut this ribbon. This is the place where we will delve deep into matters, so if you prefer your Battlefield info a bit more tweet-sized, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Battlelog forums, Battlelog News section, in-game tickers, standalone forums, or any of our other channels where we regularly communicate with our fans. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Karl Magnus Troedsson
General Manager, DICE
Follow Karl Magnus @L_Twin