The Battlefield series is no stranger to total conversion mods. The modding scene, however, was much more active in the BF1942 and BF2 days, simply because DICE was happy to allow anyone access to the engine, and it helped grow the series. Battlefield 2 itself, for instance, was born out of the Modern Combat mod for BF1942.
Arguably the most recognisable, highest-profile mod in Battlefield history is Project Reality for BF2. The mod's aim was to build on the game's existing mechanics and combined arms focus to create a realistic combat experience that goes well beyond simply toggling on Hardcore Mode.
The developers of that Project Reality went on to create the successful multiplayer shooter Squad, the most respected in the field of tactical, large-scale shooters today. But Squad has grown quite a bit since the days of simply being a standalone Project Reality. And with that growth, came significant complexity in logistical mechanics, which have a tendency to turn casual players away.
There hasn't been another Project Reality in a modern Battlefield game, in large part because DICE never released official modding tools for the complex Frostbite engine. Until now.
BF3: Reality Mod is the answer to that prayer. In development for seven years, the mod is finally, actually ready for release. The development team announced a July 17 release date earlier today in a new trailer.
By its developers' own admission, Reality Mod is meant to be a continuation of BF2's Project Reality. The mods' high-level goals should all be familiar to players of both PR and Squad. More specifically, Rality Mod emphasises teamwork and communication.
It does this by redesigning the HUD and removing pretty much all of the aides you expect from modern games. Think immersive, no-HUD gameplay, but with actual mechanics to support it. Beyond HUD limitations, you should also expect realistic ballestics, a very short TTK, new custom content, and an overall simplicity compared to the modern interpretations of PR.
The team not only utilised existing Battlefield 3 assets, they've also created new maps, textures, effects, and more. The mod is based on Frostbite, so you can expect destruction, and quality visuals.
You might be wondering, however; if Battlefield 3 doesn't support modding, how was this mod built? The answer is through a different mod - or more accurately, a modding suite for Frostbite called Venice Unleashed. VU is really the only modding tool for modern Battlefield games, and its developers have been working on gaining more access to BF3's code since its inception.
VU is to BF3 what FiveM is to GTA 5, in that it opens up your game to a range of community-made experiences not possible to develop for the official game. That said, you will need to own BF3 and all of its expansion packs. Venice Unleashed actually verifies ownership through Origin before it lets you play.
Though you're going to need a legit copy of the game, you won't be playing on official servers. This is another benefit of running VU.
If that sounds interesting, you can bookmark Reality Mod's download page and come back on Sunday to download it. Make sure you download Battlefield 3 and Venice Unleashed ahead of time, though.