Battlefield 3 3DS: One Pint-Sized Mystery
Don't expect a run of the mill first person shooter, or even an actual game, for that matter.
Last week, the video game community received a surprise in the form Battlefield 3 for Nintendo's 3DS. There were no screens, video, fact sheet or even a press release from Electronic Arts, just the mention of a 3DS version listed on the company's Portugal website. Either it's a mistake the publisher has yet to correct, or the game is on the way.
After days of coverage and no official yes or no, it would seem the latter is true. At some point, perhaps as early as October 25 (when the console and PC version debuts), you'll be able to enjoy some Battlefield 3 action on the go, in glasses free 3D, no less.
Obviously, there are some concerns. Nintendo's 3DS is considerably more powerful than its predecessor, the DS, but it doesn't come across as the ideal platform for first person shooters. That honor belongs to PlayStation Vita, largely because of its dual analog sticks (perfect for an FPS) and advanced processing power; just a couple steps below PlayStation 3.
Electronic Arts must therefore find a way to bring the Battlefield experience to the masses, albeit in a compact form. Keep in mind that the Battlefield series is known for big maps, a variety of vehicles and highly destructible environments. 3DS is capable of many things, but playing host to such an ambitious title could prove disastrous if EA doesn't put an experienced developer behind the wheel.
Considering the grand scope of Battlefield 3, this could mean ditching the first person concept altogether, similar to what Sony and Guerrilla Games did with Killzone Liberation for PlayStation Portable. Instead of going the console route with another FPS, both parties chose to create a third person shooter that capitalized on the system's strengths to deliver an enjoyable experience.
To that end, EA could also design a Battlefield 3 third person game, similar to Ubisoft's Ghost Recon titles, or it could go with turn-based action, ala Advance Wars.
Doing this, however, could potentially damage the brand. The Battlefield franchise was built around the concept of first person combat. Breaking from tradition could prove disastrous.
On the positive side, other companies did a fine job bringing first person shooters to DS. Most notably, Activision and n-Space, both of which collaborated on four Call of Duty titles, some of which have online play. Content was stripped down considerably, but given the tech, these shooters turned out fine.
To that end, 3DS Battlefield 3 has great potential. EA has a chance to not only release the first FPS for Nintendo's device, but to also lead by example.
No, we don't expect the game to perfectly mimic the PC edition, but it should still include online multiplayer, a limited selection of vehicles, plenty of weapons and a cool single player campaign.
There's also a good chance this is all one huge mistake that EA will fix in the coming days. For now, though, we can dream.