This, the third in Battlefield 3's conveyor belt of downloadable content, finds DICE showboating in style. If the developer were a rock star, it'd have its foot on the monitor right now, as the audience held their lighters aloft. Back to Karkand's updated fan favourite maps was the obligatory run through the classic hits from yesteryear while Close Quarters, with its blatant COD tempo, was a punchy, punky cover version thrown into the mix to shake things up. To stretch the stadium rock metaphor to breaking point, Armored Kill is the epic ten-minute blow out, all guitar and drum solos, a ballad of fire and smoke.
This is Battlefield at its biggest. Quite literally, as one of the four new maps - the sprawling Bandar Desert - takes the crown as the largest Battlefield map ever. Over twice the size of Caspian Border, it occupies five square kilometres of digital real estate, taking in a crescent bay front with residential buildings and construction sites dotted around its circumference. Further inland there's an artillery base for the taking, surrounded by an expanse of open desert and rolling dunes and with a highway slicing through the centre. It's all hemmed in with rocky outcrops and cliffs that direct the action down and into this vast crucible of mayhem.
That's not to say the other maps are slouching. As the name suggests, Alborz Mountains, set in Northern Iran, has a ruddy great big mountain in the middle. The first snow map in the game, this has acres of forestry to provide cover and a large frozen lake for those bold enough to venture into open ground.
Battlefield 3's Armored Kill DLC is coming to PS3 on 4th September for Battlefield Premium members, and the following week for Xbox 360 and PC players, EA has announced .
DICE reckons fans are worried about the recent Battlefield 4 announcement "for all the wrong reasons".
Last month EA quietly announced Battlefield 4 with confirmation that you'll be able to play its beta by pre-ordering Medal of Honor: Warfighter, out this year.
With the BF4 beta scheduled for autumn 2013, the game is expected to launch October/November 2013. Some Battlefield fans complained that it will be released too soon after the release of Battlefield 3 (which launched six years after Battlefield 2) and that the announcement suggests the end for Battlefield 3 support.
EA spent as much money on a Facebook advertising campaign for Battlefield 3 as Brian Fargo raised through Kickstarter to fund Wasteland 2.
EA has reaffirmed its commitment to Battlefield 3 amid concern sparked by the announcement of Battlefield 4.
EA has released the first gameplay trailer for Battlefield 3 expansion Armored Kill, out in September 2012.
It showcases the snow-capped Alborz Mountain and the open terrain in the Bandar Desert, the largest map in Battlefield history.
Armored Kill includes four new maps, five new assignments and five new vehicle types, including ATVs, mobile artillery and tanks. There are over 20 vehicle specific unlocks, and you'll be able to spawn in the all-new gunship.
Game engine Frostbite 2 was built for the next generation, EA has said.
UPDATE: Battlefield developer DICE has confirmed Battlelog will be down for maintenance today for five hours as it prepares for the launch of Battlefield 3 Premium and the Close Quarters expansion.
The downtime is as follows:
7- 12 PDT.
Battlefield 3 Premium launches on Monday 4th June for £39.99 / €49.99 / AU$79.95, according to Sony.
The PlayStation 3 maker listed the heavily rumoured package in its European PlayStation Store update today (since removed). It is yet to be confirmed by EA.
According to the update Battlefield Premium launches alongside the Battlefield 3 Close Quarters DLC expansion, which goes live on Monday 4th June for £11.99 / €14.99 / AU$23.95.
Battlefield Premium will cost £35/$60, according to a new report.
The heavily-rumoured Battlefield 3 Premium service will offer subscribers early access to all of the game's upcoming expansions.
EA will unveil Battlefield Premium, a rival to Activision's Call of Duty Elite subscription service, at its E3 press conference next month, a new report by Battlefieldo claims.
With the release of the latest, gargantuan patch, some fans believe Battlefield 3 is now the game that should have launched in October 2011. Now, they believe, half a year after EA unleashed the shooter upon the gaming public, Battlefield 3's promise has finally been realised.
Battlefield 3 is to get three themed downloadable expansions, starting in June. Like first add-on Back to Karkand, they will offer new weapons and in some cases vehicles to be used across the entire game, as well as new multiplayer maps.