While all four maps in Battlefield 3: Aftermath are themed around the same concept of a post-earthquake environment, they all play differently. In this map overview, we discuss how Talah Market brings fierce competitive gameplay into focus.
Team play is always at the forefront when designing maps at the DICE studio, and Talah Market – internally nicknamed simply “Rubble” – is no exception. A lot of the designers at the studio are big fans of classic competitive shooters like Counter-Strike, and some even have backgrounds as semi-professional or professional players. For Aftermath, we wanted to bring some of that old-school shooter tradition into the mix. Our goal: To create a fiercely competitive map where it’s kill or get killed. We created this blog-unique behind the scenes flythrough of Talah Market that shows some of its distinguishing features.
Symmetry brings energy
The way we bring competitiveness to the forefront is by carefully designing the map, deciding where to place walls, covers, streets, plazas, and buildings. One very important area for us was to make it as symmetrical as possible – the thought here being that symmetry brings a simplicity and with it a focused kind of energy into the game.
Symmetry brings an aspect to the gameplay that has always been important in competitive gaming: Once you learn the map, you know it by heart no matter where you are positioned on it. There are no real surprises in terms of the ways you can navigate the map – the challenge instead lies in using your skills within the clearly defined confines of the battlefield. It’s not necessarily “better” than the traditional vast and open Battlefield maps like Caspian Border or Operation Firestorm, but it’s a slightly different flavor of Battlefield.
The desired gameplay shaped how we built the map, rather than the other way around. We wanted to cater for the most competitive players out there by building a level with an extremely streamlined flow. So while the map Epicenter (that you could read about in this earlier blog post) is an exciting and sometimes unpredictable battlefield featuring post-quake tremors, Talah Market is free from anything that can bring an element of randomness to the game. The key to designing this map has been to provide exactly the right amount of cover options, and to make sure that the map has great maneuverability at all times.
Symmetry created some challenges that needed solving, though. Like how do you build a level that plays the same on both sides, but still has a varied look and feel to it? The answer in this case is that the level contains multiple art themes to make the different areas feel distinct from one another. The challenge becomes a bit more complicated than that, though. Traditional shooters have players spawn mostly on one side of the map, but Battlefield spawns work more like a grid, making it more unpredictable how the teams rotate in the map. With this in mind, all areas in Talah Market had to be built in such a way that they can function as standalone combat encounters.
Play it your way
The symmetry aspect shouldn’t be misread as an attempt to force everyone into playing the same way. Rather, we are making sure that the map encourages different play styles. If you enjoy sniping, there is a long street with an open area where you can make good use of your long range engagement skills. If you like big standoffs, the market and its courtyards will be great for mid-range encounters. In addition, there are very tight streets that form a maze with fast paced close quarters action.
In a way Talah Market plays more like an “arena” than your typical Rush mode “journey” (like Operation Métro from the base game, for example). This is the map where, more than any other, you play to show off your skills both as an individual and as a tightly knit team. The focus here is not on scanning a lot of areas for potential enemies, instead bringing focus back to the second to second firefight itself, and how to best use the easy to read environment.
We believe this map will be the perfect fit for players who like to be more competitive, where every step gained on the enemy feels like a victory in itself. When play testing the map at the office, there is always that intense tug-of-war between teams where you know that your every move matters.
We hope you will enjoy this map together with the other three we have created for you in Battlefield 3: Aftermath. This themed expansion pack is out this December and is included with Battlefield 3: Premium. You can also purchase it separately.