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DICE's latest Battlefield game is slated for a late 2008 release and a possible public BETA in the summer...
Digital Battle has had a PDF leaked to them which sets out the first details for DICE and EA's Battlefield 3. Among the information was the current working release date of late 2008, as well as a possible public BETA scheduled for next summer.
As far as the setting of the game is concerned, DICE appear to be going back to what made Battlefield 2 great by setting the conflict in the modern day. There will apparently be two playable factions (the Middle Eastern Coalition and NATO), with most of the eight maps on offer (supporting 40 players per team) being set in the Middle East.
The five playable classes on offer are much the same as usual (sniper, assault, engineer, medic and support), while Battalions have been added which will consist of three or four squads. There will be 48 different vehicles and 34 weapons initially, followed by another 22 weapons that can be unlocked in what we presume is the usual upgrading fashion (likewise for armour, ammo, accessories etc.).
There's also news that Battlefield 3 will be powered by a Frostbite DX engine. Presumably this is a version of the Frostbite engine behind Battlefield: Bad Company on the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3, with the DX possibly referring to Direct X which, we can only assume, will be Direct X 10 given that it's going to be a late 2008 PC release. The Frostbite engine's most notable feature is the fully destructable environments that it supports, which should also be the case for Frostbite DX.
Final points of interest include a replay/recording feature that may well be similar to Halo 3's 'Saved films'. There's also a 'Soldier' feature that seems to give players the opportunity to create MMO styled avatars.