John Pleasants, chief operating officer of Electronic Arts, confirmed today that Battlefield 3 is currently in development over at DICE, making it the next full installment in the Battlefield franchise. John disclosed the information during a presentation at the William Blair Growth Stock Conference in Chicago. Battlefield 2, also published by Electronic Arts, was released back in June 2005 using the Swedish developer's Refractor 2 engine; Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield Vietnam serves as the series' first two installments.
According to Pleasants, the game is shaping up. "I've had the luxury of looking at Battlefield 3 over at DICE in Sweden and was highly impressed by the way the team is working on that product," he said during the presentation. "Of course, that's not in [this] fiscal year, but that is a product that is looking very good." And of course, he's not going to say anything negative about the game seeing that EA has invested millions into the project; his comment serves as the unofficial official pre-press announcement that the game does actual exist.
News of Battlefield 3 has surfaced many times before. Nearly two years ago, a features list surfaced, originally intended for EA investors but somehow "leaked" onto the Internet. Apparently the game was to be set in modern day times, taking place somewhere in the Middle East. The game was also to feature up to 40 players per team on eight different maps. In addition to in-game replay functionality, customizable characters, and unlockable equipment, both factions would have access to its own arsenal of 17 different weapons and 24 different vehicles. The game was even slated for a Q4 2008 release, however that obviously never happened.
Still, if the original plans hold true, Electronic Arts may release a public beta for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X before the game goes retail. Based on Pleasant's revelation, Battlefield 3 won't be a possibility until after March 2010, maybe even during the holiday season.