"You're almost tricking me into a position where I'm telling you about the story!" laughs Patrick Bach, Battlefield 3's senior producer. After witnessing the code in action at DICE's Stockholm HQ, I asked him about how earthquakes in the game affect the storyline, and whether this catastrophe-mechanic is in any way similar way to Spec Ops: The Line's sandstorm-sundered Dubai. But no dice.
There are inarguable business imperatives for not revealing the big secrets of your game – such as the storyline – so far ahead of its launch, especially when you're working in the most competitive genre in entertainment. And right now, trying to wheedle plot arcs out of DICE is like asking George Osborne to comment on corporate tax-dodging. So let's work with what we know: Battlefield 3 is a contemporary US-military shooter set on the Iran/Iraq border. Earthquakes are making a perfect mess of things for the US forces. And it's built using DICE's new proprietary engine, Frostbite 2.