Here’s the first article from the Battlefield blog, detailing the extra maps to be found in the ‘Back to Karkand’ expansion pack.
Going Back to Karkand #1: Your chance to relive the greatest Battlefield maps ever
Containing four of the best Battlefield maps ever created by DICE, the first expansion pack for Battlefield 3 will be a treat both for returning fans and newcomers. Read on for more in-depth details on Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand and how to get it at no extra charge.
Anyone who preorders Battlefield 3 will receive our first themed expansion pack at no extra charge. When Lead Designer Niklas Fegraeus got the assignment to lead the expansion pack, his thoughts immediately went to the four most played and loved maps in the history of Battlefield: Strike at Karkand, Wake Island, Gulf of Oman, and Sharqi Peninsula. Combined, these four maps have been played for an incredible 25,000 man years!
It’s obvious returning Battlefield fans should be excited. What does the expansion pack offer to those new to Battlefield?
— It’s pretty simple, really. These are evidently some of the very best maps we have ever built. We have unquestionable data and feedback from the community saying so. You would be crazy turning down the chance to boost your game with these classic multiplayer maps.
An early piece of concept art for the Frostbite 2 reimagining of a true classic. Meant to represent lighting and color palette only. Actual map layout will be very similar to the original. Click for 1920 x 1080 version.
What does the Frostbite 2 engine and the Battlefield 3 gameplay bring to the reimagined version of Strike at Karkand?
— From a gameplay perspective, destruction is the biggest addition compared to the original map in Battlefield 2 back in 2005. I remember this particular building by the square in the original where players could defend very effectively. Now, with the destructive power of Frostbite 2, someone can just RPG that building and expose the defenders within. At the same time, we need to be careful not to add destruction that breaks the tried and tested game flow of the map.
You were also Lead Designer on last year’s expansion pack Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam. Do you see any similarities between that and Back to Karkand?
— Certainly from the perspective of scope and ambition, they are very similar. This is no simple map pack. Back to Karkand will also include iconic Battlefield 2 vehicles, weapons to bring back to the base game, new unlocks and persistence, and more content that we will talk about later. They are also similar in that they are both strongly themed.
In your mind, what makes Strike at Karkand still great?
— Strike at Karkand finds the perfect combination of tight urban infantry combat and traditional Battlefield vehicle combat, without any one side ever dominating the fight. I also think that the linear flag positions give you a clear idea of where you need to go, creating a strong sense of direction.
David Spinnier (formerly Göthberg) is currently Co-op Lead Designer for Battlefield 3 and the one who created the original Strike at Karkand map for Battlefield 2.
How do you feel now that your map is set for a reimagining in Battlefield 3?
— I’m super happy and proud that it became such a classic. I’m excited to see it remade with a whole new level of graphics and destruction and have given the developers of the expansion pack a few pointers on the map.
What was your original design idea for Strike at Karkand?
— I wanted almost to tell a story. In my mind when I started the design, I could see these tanks rolling downhill in a sandy desert into a city where defenders were scurrying around, setting up a defensive perimeter and then being pushed back further downtown. I also wanted to create an asymetric battlefield with a defensive focus. Infantry defenders meeting heavy armor. I just started painting the layout of the map in Photoshop and went from there.
What happened when you actually started play testing the design?
— I remember one of the first play tests. People were behaving exactly as I had imagined: Placing mines and C4, climbing onto roofs to get a clear view and clear shot of the tanks rolling in. It all just fell into place. It was a fantastic feeling.
Do you have any original design docs for Strike at Karkand lying around that we could have a look at, just for fun?
— Sure thing! Here is my original layout design, last saved in October 2004. If you know your Karkand, you realize that the layout here is mirrored from the actual in-game map. This was something I wasn’t aware of at the time, but when you entered your layout into the game editor, everything was reversed!
To receive Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand at no extra charge, all you need to do is preorder Battlefield 3.