Going through our latest issue of GameInformer, the question of Commander came up (the Commander feature was available on Battlefield 2, and gave a player command over his team). Here’s what we found in GameInformer:
Q: When I think about Battlefield 2, I always come back to the Commander position and the game within the game that arose from having Special Forces objectives. Are those returning in the proper sequel?
A: We could implement it, but the questions is “how do you get the threshold lower?” That’s not by making it more complicated. Our challenge is to make sure that anyone that just jumps into the game will get it. One of the biggest problems with Commander was that only two people could use it. Some people like it but most people didn’t care. They just cared that someone gave them an order or that their squad could play together having fun on their own more or less. Then the most hardcore people went into the Commander mode and learned how to use that. You could argue it was a great feature, but looking at the number you could also say that no one uses it. We tried in Bad Company 2 to give that t players, so you could issue orders to your squad, and you could use gadgets like the UAV that only the commander could use earlier — giving the power back to the players so everyone could use it. That made a big difference. More people could enjoy the game. We lowered the threshold for everyone because we gave it to everyone. We now know the boundaries are for keeping the strategic depth and complexity while lowering the threshold to get in.
The argument that only two players could be commander (each on his team) is valid, but that was the whole point: a commander would lead his team. The notion that the UAV in Bad Company 2 was more accessible is nonsense — there was only one UAV in Bad Company 2. So only one player could use it, as opposed to two commanders in BF2.
If you ask us, this is a textbook example of “dumbing things down”, what DICE calls “make the threshold lower” and we can’t help but feel disappointed that the Commander feature isn’t returning to Battlefield 3. It added a whole new level to the gameplay, which will now be missing in BF3.