Electronic Arts is building up the buzz ahead of the release of Battlefield 4 with the unveiling of new features introduced in the next-generation Frostbite 3 game engine, including promises of scalability right the way from mobile devices to next-generation consoles.

In the video, developers from the company's DICE subsidiary extol the benefits of the new iteration of Frostbite, which will be one of two engines - the other being Ignite, designed for EA's sports games - driving the company's next-generation output. Since development started in 2006, Frostbite has been used for games including 2008's Battlefield: Bad Company, 2009's Battlefield 1943, and with the launch of Frostbite 2 in 2011 with Battlefield 3 has found its way into EA's Need for Speed racing series as well as third-party titles.

Frostbite 3, however, is the company's attempt to make it more appealing to cross-platform developers - hence the company talking up scalability. Games already confirmed to be based around Frostbite 3 include the predictable - from Battlefield 4, Need for Speed: Rivals and Mirror's Edge 2 - to casual titles including tower-defence follow-up Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. While none of these have been confirmed as smartphone games yet - with companies concentrating instead of promises to launch on Windows, Xbox and PlayStation - comments from DICE executives certainly suggest that's the way the company is heading.

'We have one unified program where you can create content that will run on everything from an iPhone to a next-gen console,' claims Frank Vitz, DICE's creative director in charge of the Frostbite engine. 'Now it's really coming on-line and enabling the game designers to do more than they've ever been able to do before.'

It's not just about scalability, however: DICE is promising some significant improvements in the graphical fidelity and believability of the engine, too. 'Frostbite [3] allows everything to work together, claims Vitz. 'The waves on the beach, the wind blowing the whitecaps - even the clouds overhead all move consistently with the forces of nature. It's sort of subtle, but it creates this sense of seamless reality. So, the large world coupled with a lot of people running around interacting with you really pays off in [Frostbite 3-based] Battlefield 4.'

With impressive demonstrations of destructive environments, powered by what the company calls 'Levolution' - a system that allows multiplayer maps to be modified with the destruction of objects up to and including multi-story skyscrapers - and promises of dynamic ocean combat and more realistic wave interactions, the video is certainly worth watching both for fans of the Battlefield series and those who are interested to see what the next console generation will bring to the PC gaming.

The official video is reproduced below, with more information available on the Frostbite 3 micro-site.


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