The Commander role didn't make it into Battlefield 3 because DICE felt it was "a bit flawed", general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson has revealed.
It was, however, "a hot topic" at DICE HQ.
"When the dev team sat down and thought about this, the Commander role was a very important and hot topic in the studio I have to say," Troedsson said, speaking at the Eurogamer Expo 2011 today.
"Some people wanted us to implement it in the absolute same way as we had before; some of us wanted us to reinvigorate how we do it.
"I don't know how many people have tried to play as a Commander in Battlefield 2, but it's kind of a strange experience. Everyone agrees that that actual role of the Commander is very, very cool. But the problem is that only one person per team could play it, and it was always the highest ranking one.
"But even for the people that played as a Commander, the first thing they did was what? They ran off to a corner somewhere and lay down there and tried to hide so the Spec Ops guy wouldn't find them when he was going to blow up the installations.
"They basically spent the whole match lying on the ground on some obscure corner of the map, hoping not to get knifed in the back and trying to support people."
Troedsson concluded: "There was something very cool about the Commander role and there was also something a bit flawed, we have to say."
Battlefield 3 retains the essence of the Commander via squad leaders and gadgets. Squad leaders can order artillery strikes, Troedsson said, and the ability to order a mortar strike is available as a multiplayer unlock.
There's the option to set up gadgets on the ground or on rooftops to scan and target vehicles. There's a remote-control UAV drone that pin-ponts infantry and vehicles, too.
"That's why the idea that we've had, the team-play elements of the Commander mode that we really like, we have tried to push down to the squads and the squad leaders," said Troedsson.
"We've tried to push this down into the squads so they can both fill the roles that the Commander had, but then also be an active soldier on the battlefield."