Why Battlefield 3 Won’t Support Mods On PC

Why Battlefield 3 Won’t Support Mods On PC

Sadly, like many high profile PC games these days, Battlefield 3 won’t be shipping with mod tools. Given the series’ long history with mods (developers DICE even hiring some modders back in the day), that’s disappointing. So let’s find out why that’s the case.

Speaking with website Ausgamers, DICE’s Karl-Mangus Troedsson said it’s down to a number of reasons. First is resources, with Troedsson saying “as developers of a game of this magnitude–I mean, it’s the biggest thing we’ve ever done–we have to select what it is we’re going to spend our focus on. We cannot do everything; it’s basically like that.”

Next up? Perfectionism. Troedsson added that “at DICE, we are very committed to quality and innovation when we do something. So if we do mod tools, we really want to do it right.”

Third and last is security. “There’s also a security risk behind all of this. It means that we need to open up our precious game and let people just tear around in it in whatever way. I would love to do this, but there’s a lot of things we need to consider in the background before we can make the decision if we want to do this.”

On their own, each reason sounds a little weak. Combined, though, they form a Voltron of excuses, the greater whole coming off more convincing than the sum of the parts.

AusGamers Battlefield 3 Interview with DICE’s Karl-Magnus Troedsson [Ausgamers]


  • I am disappointed DICE. I tho u guys were finally showing us PC gamers some love and now this…As the date for release draws closer, I have my doubts about ur true aim of BF3 being ‘PC first’. First it was the showcasing of the game on a bloody PS3 on U.S TV instead of a PC. Than it was that Origin only, No Steam crap with the retarded compulsory net login to play. Now its this.

    Now being a PC gamer I am starting to thnk of getting this game for my 360 or PS3 seeing that no mods will be available. But ultimately I guess I will get it on PC being the hardcore BF fan I am. Tho now I am NOT going to pre-order it and I am gonna wait till a price drop.


    • Sorry Jay, but who the fuck cares if it’s a PC first? Get this little game of “who’s more entitled” out of your head.

          • Funny, I thought the gameplay as it was made by EA was the essential part of the experience

          • Yeah, i was gonna say. I played 2 and 2142 for years since pre-ordering it on release, and didn’t ever find the need to play a modified version.

            Everything was there, and i was happy with it.

            Then again, you’re the expert here, jay.

          • uh luke.

            can we please give credit where credits due? EA are the publisher. and DICE are the craftsmen than created and continue to create the BATTLEFIELD series. so past that error, fair to say(back to the publisher) EA’s strict deadlines would have pushed dice into a position where adding mod tools probably isn’t an option. its a bummer, for sure. but you can’t pin it on the developers that in all respects probably want to deliver a full-featured experience (including tools to take it beyond its original means) for wanting to keep their jobs and stick their time into delivering the best “end product” they can with a c*nt corperation such as EA at their heels.

      • Uhm… I care. It will affect the quality of the final product in various ways. Thinking of a couple of examples off the top of my head, games designed initially for PC and then made to run on other platforms seem to have sounder technology powering them and nicer graphics than the other way around.

        Looking at Battlefield 3 and Crysis 2, the tech is top notch, and the games are visually excellent. Both developed for PC first.

        Looking at Borderlands and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the graphics are less polished and the games seem to experience more bugs.

        Obviously, that’s a tiny sample set, and I can think of examples which run the other way, such as RAGE; designed for 360, but to claim that picking a platform as a lead development environment is a choice without serious consequence is incorrect. So it’s definitely useful to know which platform was the lead during development.

    • if you were (as you call yourself) a “PC Gamer” then you wouldn’t even consider getting this on console, not only will the graphics be better on pc, the multiplayer matches will be double the size on PC, and the whole “not available on steam” issue, is, as far as i’m concerned, fair enough, due to Valves’ TOS restricting how they can release map packs, expansions and DLC (which the previous Battlefield games are all known for)

      yes, EA has their own distribution service, but guess what, it’s been around for a long time, i had to install it when i won a copy of Medal of Honor in October last year, only then it was called the EA Download Manager (which linked to the EA online store) and is now called Origin. It’s not something that they’ve created to specifically be released alongside BF3, and just because it’s not available on steam, doesn’t mean it’s only going to be available on Origin, it’s already been confirmed that it will be released on around 100 (i’m not entirely sure of the number, but i’m pretty sure it’s up there) other services as well as Origin.


      If you get the console version of BF3 when you have a PC capable of playing it, you’re only cheating yourself out of what is undoubtedly the “proper” (for lack of a better word) version of the game.

      • That’s nice, thanks for the wall of text.

        No matter where you buy it from, for the PC, BF3 will require Origin in order to play it. (e.g. Steamworks games requiring steam to play at all).

        • yes i know it will require Origin to sign in to your account… so? there’s plenty of games that require that with any number of services… hell, i’ve got Dawn of War 2, which, while it is a steam-bound game, i also have to sign into Games For Windows Live…

          also, wall of text? it was 3 paragraphs…

          • How dare you articulate yourself in an effective manner. You need to use single sentences here. There wasn’t even any ridiculous fanboyish statements. It made too much sense, try again.

    • Your so sad, it’s un-believable how childish you are Jay. The reason they showed pc gameplay on television is to showcase what it would be like on console, as before no one new.

    • there is nothing in this article to state they they wont eventually do it, just not initially. also, who gives a shit have you SEEN the gameplay videos? your really complaining about getting all that with 64 player combat and because you cant run around with james bond golden gun or whatever you get mad lol. buying day 1, mods or no mods.

  • And the first comment on AusGamers sums it up perfectly…

    “I totally get the stance on modding. Yes, it sucks, but this is their prized new engine worth a LOT more money than a single game will make back. They need to make secure, well-made tools.”

  • Is this a surprise to anyone considering it’s origin only? I know this is DICE and not EA now but I’m sure EA would have been against it anyway.

  • Except the BF modding community has never relied on Provided tools.

    generally the toolsets they used were custom made because like most things the modders do it better.

    They want the Functionality so they do it better.

    The reason the don’t want mods is the same reason that CoD doesn’t want mods.

    they can’t get a cut of the action. And the speed and quality of the better mods always puts them to shame.

    i remember playing BF2 and downloading all sorts of conversion mods some of which were huge downloads considering the meager Download limits at the time.

    Yet each one was Great and created a new and exciting variation on the game. even if it was only a visual one.

    • With respect to community developed tools BF1942, yes, most mods were built using community-created tools, such as Rexman’s scripts for 3dsmax, Madbull’s map editor, and the RFA extractor tool, as well has just hacking on text and image files using off-the-shelf tools.

      DICE released an “official” map editor fairly late in BF1942’s life, and it wasn’t even the one they used internally, just a community tool that they bought.

      BF2 was a completely different story. They’d hired the guy who created the Pirates mod for BF1942 to write tutorials and create example content for modders. They released a comprehensive editor which included the best map editing tool we’d had so far. It also helped with the process of importing models from 3D programs to be used in game, which was quite complex due to all the moving parts.

      However, due to the increased complexity of the engine, and amount of work required to achieve the graphic fidelity equalling that of vanilla BF2, many mod teams couldn’t rise to the task. BF1942’s relative simplicity was empowering, with its simple graphics and limited, declarative scripting language for coding vehicles and weapons. The modding scene was much less vibrant, with large periods of silence from many teams and delayed, small releases, and many mods drying up all together (eg. Rising Conflicts, a mod that I worked on).

      With the current state of AAA games, modding just isn’t as accessible as it used to be, and it’s not surprising that it’s not the priority it used to be for developers. Developing content production tools for a modern AAA game is a huge amount of work, and just releasing their internal tools ‘as-is’ for external users isn’t really an option in most cases.

      The silver lining is that there are now many companies for whom selling game engines is a major business, and these are becoming available for free. If you want to see today’s equivalent of the early 2000s mod scene, look at the output of amateurs working with Unity, UDK, CryEngine etc.

      Source: I worked on the Desert Combat Extended mod for BF1942, and the ill fated Rising Conflicts mod for BF2.

  • I dont get why they dont just come out and say it then cover it up in lies.

    The real reason is clearly that EA want DLC money. Being that they are blind and people would still buy the DLC even if there is mods, they see mods as a threat to that of there DLC business despite it would greatly increase its sales and have a strong sale period over time well after release.

    So basically not having Mod tools or not even trying will cost EA around millions in lost sales, far more that what there DLC will produce.

    Look at Counter Strike, that game is still selling years post release, BF2! yes BF2 is still bought and played because of mods.

    All i can say is that EA are blinded by the quick buck and dont see the long term sales reward for having mods.

    • The idea that EA values their earnings made through DLC is reinforced by them stepping away from Steam.*

      On steam they would have to give a cut of the DLC sales to Valve most likely. On Origin, its entirely their game. Makes sense, considering they are a business afterall.

      The lack of modding tools has nothing to do with some supposed profitability threat. Creating modding tools costs time which translates into money. They gave their reasons clearly, they don’t have the time to do it, and do it right.

      The language used leads me to believe that they are at least interested in realeasing a SDK later on.

      **I realise that EA has claimed that they were “kicked off” from Steam due to Valve’s store ToC…however, EA could have conformed to the way Steam handles DLC…they chose to blame Valve to save face.

  • Duke Nukem Forever is dead because there are no mod tools. The single player component is quite enjoyable (unless you play it on console), but with a lack of mod tools, players can’t improve or create content.

    BF3 will not suffer to the same degree as DNF, but it will suffer as a result of this choice.

  • As a big fan of BFBC2, can anyone tell me a mode worth noting? I’ve been playing the multiplayer non-stop. I didnt even know people were making mods with it?

    • Then it will probably end up having almost everything BF3 will have.

      Never underestimate the modding community.

  • Well there’s another reason not to buy the game. Shame really because the first announcement for this title had me so excited. The thought of (FINALLY) a true Battlefield game that would step away from the console FPS Bad Company tripe but nope. Yet another nail in the coffin of Battlefield (for those who enjoyed real BF anyway).

  • 2 points

    a) Modding is cool and all but a really small percentage of the gaming population engage in this activity.
    b) The point above about wanting to protect the proprietary new engine is correct
    c) BONUS POINT: Someone will crack it anyway before any official Mod Kits are released.
    d) Jeez I’m just giving away points at this stage: Valve are not the norm, they are better in most ways and their service is second to none, I have a copy of the source SDK on my PC – why? I have zero expertise but they give it to you just incase you might do something special with it – to me that’s an incredible gift, not something to be taken for granted and expected as standard.

  • Honestly? Good. This is the karma you pc-elitists and mw3 haters have reaped upon yourselves. I will buy this game for 360 and never give a rats ass. I’m happy all these duchebags are so disappointed.

  • Doesn’t really affect me. Never used mods for BF2, can’t imagine missing them in BF3.

    On a related note, what’s with all this complaining about requiring an Origin account? You do realise that every Battlefield game since BF2 has required an EA account? What’s the difference? Oh, that’s right, the name. Boo hoo.

  • Sorry to say but the vast majority of servers out there for BF2 were NON modded servers. In its own time, BF2 didnt really need mods at all because on its own it offered so much and I have to honestly say that I never once even bother looking for a modded BF2 server… now CoD always needed mods and mapping to keep the game active, because on its own… it sucked… hence MWFail 2 sucked… Blops sucked and Im sure the upcoming MWFail 3 wont have mapping or modding and will suck.

    BF3 does not need any kind of mod support and it will be the biggest and best PC title to hit the market in years. I played BF2 for 1 1/2 years and expect to get the same (if not more) amount of time and enjoyment out of BF3.

  • Honestly, anyone who has any faith whatsoever in DICE is not going to be scared off by a lack of initial modding tools. I’m a Battlefield fan who is more than willing to play COD, more than willing to play Bad Company, and down right jizzed about playing Battlefield 3 on multiple platforms with or without modding tools.

    And the Origin thing. IDG why everyone is bitching… its EA Download Manager with a fresh coat of paint. If you ever played an EA game on the PC you had to create an EA account. If you ever created an EA account you would have received an email explaining what Origin is (a fresh coat of paint)and would have have been that your EA Download Manager account had automatically been moved to Origin. Bunch of babies you guys are.

  • To me Modding tools are what make PC games so awesome. If your pc game has no modding tools then it is a ‘pc game’ in name only.

    not to mention how much staying power Modding tools can add to a games lifespan…

  • The reason they don’t want mods isn’t just DLC. It’s about shelf life. Mods and community maps significnatly extend the life and add value to the product.

    What they want to do, is sell you bf4 in a year or two with even more DLC ontop for the rehash.

  • Dragon Age 2 still doesn’t support mod tools. But people still mod. It’ll happen, it will just take more time

  • There’s also a whole bunch of middleware tools in Frostbite 3, and they’re not necessarily able to ‘license’ them out for free to anyone who wants to do some modding.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!