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Battlefield 3 is for PC gamers.

There’s one glaring reason I hate the context sensitive button pressing that requires you to press something to correspond to an action on screen — most common during cutscenes to prevent players from relaxing. Console games use this same mechanic; they just shoved a little icon in your face without an intrinsic design behind it to indicate what button to press. When these prompts are given they are often shown below the focal point of the scene. And for some people, this unnecessarily diverts attention. The 360 and PS3 controllers are lucky since they’re both color-coded. See a blue colored button? Hit the blue button. See a triangle? Hit the triangle button. The God of War series improved on this. The face buttons were placed on the screen relative to their position to each other. This required less of “What button should I press? I have to avert my eyes for one second to find out!” and moved it to the “Time to react!” box, ultimately leading to my focus not swaying from the action. So what did PC gamers get?

PC gamers got the short end of the stick here for a long while. I remember playing ported games that had the same context sensitive button pressing.

But we got plain [gray] boxes with letters in them that realistically, could have been any button on the keyboard. For me, the biggest offender was Resident Evil 5. Anyone who’s played that understands how cheap some of those deaths are, which I’m blaming on shoulder buttons (bumpers for you 360 players). How did they forget keyboards don’t have shoulder buttons? Were shoulder buttons/bumpers used? I don’t know since I’ve never played RE5 on consoles. But damn, just give us a button sequence us WASD using players are naturally poised to hit. Maybe I’m just being picky, but just think about it. I’m not often asked by a game to hit Q and F at the same time to avoid a crocodile attack.

All of this leads to my exhilaration and jubilee upon seeing the screenshot I took above. It’s a freaking WASD icon with the needed input glowing in a shape I could only recognize as “HIT THE ‘S’ BUTTON RETARD!” I won’t even have to think. I’ve been asking for that exact representation of the WASD keymap with the highlighted buttons.

I can’t believe such a simple UI improvement has driven me to want Battlefield 3. But that’s all it took. DICE, you do us PC gamers proud by finally acknowledging us. I still hate context sensitive cutscene button pressing however.

The GDC trailer is freaking amazing for being in pre-alpha. Makes me wonder if DICE is going to license out the Frostbite 2.0 engine to anyone else. STALKER 2 + Frostbite Engine 2.0? Want.

-maserbeam