Rilasciato sul mercato giusto qualche giorno fa per console PS3, Xbox 360 e PC Operation Flashpoint ha guadagnato punti conquistando una buona fetta di videogamer che ne fanno del realismo la carta vincente.
Il titolo sviluppato dai ragazzi di Codies risulta essere infatti un simulativo di tutto rispetto con un grido al “quasi” miracolo ottenuto. Entrando di fatto nell’era dei contentui in Digital Delivery ove tutto è possibile (o quasi) grazie al donwload online dei contenuti, anche Operation Flashpoint si adegua e ad un’intervista del sito Telegraph a Sion Lenton di Codemaster viene fuori il progetto di DLC per il titolo di guerra che verrà supportato sempre più con il passare del tempo in quanto la SH nutre piani ambiziosi per gli Add-On dedicati a Dragon Rising.
Il resto dell’intervista continua sulle motivazioni di Codies di aver portato il titolo su console e della scelta del puro realismo della serie. Di seguito l’intervista ufficiale:
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is quite clearly different to many of the games in the shooter genre. What were you trying to accomplish with this release?
There’s obviously a very rich heritage which dates all the way back to the original Operation Flashpoint which was released around ten years ago, which really wrote the rule-book for tactical first person shooters. That game got a reputation for being very hard-core and having a very challenging learning curve.
So, when we decided to do a full sequel internally, obviously we wanted to retain the core elements which made it a success, but we also wanted get console users playing it. Traditionally this game has been the last bastion of PC gamers – hard-core military sim players – but it’s a great type of game and I think there’s a large, more mature audience out there who are looking for a shooter that’s the antithesis of the usual type of run and gun style of shooter that you normally see.
When I was playing it, there was a very heavy emphasis on the realism aspect of the game. It’s almost like the game is a reaction to fantastical shooters – was there that angle in it from the beginning?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve said this before, but I think that a lot of the products out there are very bombastic, Michael Bay-type Hollywood style production with huge explosions and so on. With Flashpoint it’s more of a kind of a documentary-style of representation; it’s more about the realism – what’s it actually like to serve in the field and what’s it like to be under fire from an enemy you can’t see at 200 plus meters. It’s the very antithesis of that bombastic kind of game.
That realism extends to the storyline – the opening animation which depicts a timeline showing how China, the US and Russia are becoming embroiled in an ever increasing conflict over securing oil rights in disputed territory is quite chilling.
(Laughs) Yeah, it was chilling for us as well! Let’s hope it doesn’t go that way.
There’s clearly an emphasis on realism on the battlefield, here including the one-shot, one-kill mechanic. Doesn’t this risk putting off less hard-core audience members?
That’s a good question and it is a risk that we’ve tried to find a balance for. But the one-hit-kill aspect is very much a feature of Flashpoint, so what we tried to do was temper it. When it does happen we tried to make it happen fairly. You know – you’d die, and then discover that there actually was a fifty calibre machine gun just around the corner that you hadn’t actually noticed. Essentially the idea here, is that if you do get shot straight out of the blue like that, it was because you weren’t paying enough attention to your environment. You weren’t looking and you weren’t thinking – and thinking is crucial to your success in this game.
I’ve jokingly called Operation Flashpoint ‘the thinking-man’s shooter’ but when you watch people play it, and their background is on the other titles out there like Modern Warfare and so on, they have to adapt to a new style of play. The almost have to rethink the way they play a shooter. They usually start off by charging in all guns blazing and they suddenly get popped and down they go. After a couple of attempts they start to slow down, use the terrain and think about what’s going around. They have to think about the environment around them – and I think that’s quite an exciting thing to bring to this type of game genre.
How steep is the game’s learning curve? I mean, if I was to play it on easiest level, would I miss out on the hard-core experience that the title is known for?
No, we’ve actually done something rather innovative with our difficulty level. Traditionally when you change difficulty levels, numerous things can happen; you can make your gun inflict more damage, your accuracy levels can improve and so on. There are all these little parameters that you can tweak to make things easier.
On Operation Flashpoint, we kept the world the same. When you ramp up the difficulty, you essentially remove the levels of assistance that you get in the game. So on normal mode – the level we recommend you start playing it in – you’ll have the full HUD with the crosshairs, compasses, and stats telling you how much ammo you have, the status of your troops and so on. As you start to turn the difficulty level up – which goes all the way to hard-core level – we take all of this away. The game stays the same but the levels of stats that the player gets is removed. This is good because it allows the old-school hard-core players to get the experience that they relish, but it at the same time, it lets new users get into it too.
Can you tell me a little bit about the background to how the team came up with the story?
One of the things that we wanted was that the game would have a back story that could feasibly happen in reality because obviously, feasibility and realism are two pillars in Flashpoint. At the same time, what we didn’t want to do was create some kind of John Rambo-style character who could single-handedly win a war. We wanted the player to feel like they were cog in a much larger machine. The game hopefully gives them the sense that they’re very much just a grunt in the field, in the centre of what’s going on.
How do you go about capturing the realistic aspect of the game?
What we had to do was talk to a lot of combat veterans and get them to play the game. We worked very closely with the US Marine Corp, because that’s the character the player plays in the game. What’s really interesting is that once the gameplay and the mechanics started to come into line, we got some Marines in to play the game and it turns out that people who have military training and come from a military background can pick this game up very quickly indeed. They recognise the tactics that are being used. They recognise the equipment and know what it’s capable of.
It doesn’t apply so much to us on this side of the pond, but in America a there are lot of people who’ve served in the armed services and we are relishing the fact that this is a game that appeals to the experiences they’ve had. We’ve even had guys saying they’ve had flashbacks while playing the game. It’s that realistic! I haven’t personally served in any armed forces, but the feedback we’ve received from guys who have is that we’ve made good inroads into replicating an experience or two that they’ve had. They don’t get this from other games of this nature.
When you’re confronted with this close approximation of combat in Operation Flashpoint it’s a real eye-opener. Do you think the experience offered by other shooters makes being in the field seem a bit more disposable and a bit more frivolous?
That’s a really good question. I don’t know how aware you of the way games are rated, but countries like Australia and Germany take a very hard-line on violence in games. If you overstep a line, you risk your game not ending up on the shelves of retailers. We took some measures to guard against this – for example, there are no civilians in the game that you can mow down with gunfire.
But were pleasantly surprised with the fact that when the game came back from the censors, it was rated lower than we thought it would be. We were expecting an 18 certificate, and it’s rated as a 15. It turns out that the thinking behind this is that the game doesn’t glorify violence. It’s not a fantastical level of violence that we’re representing. It’s a much more a gritty, true, realistic type of violence we’re portraying here and as it turns out, the groups in charge of issuing age certificates seem to view that as a more appropriate and responsible way of doing it.
We didn’t want to go down the gratuitous route. I mean, obviously the deaths and injuries aren’t based on any reference footage, but we didn’t want to glorify death in the game. We actually wanted to make really quite grim. We wanted to make it as unattractive as possible and not present it in this gung-ho style that other shooters do, where you can fire rockets and empty guns into corpses.
We had to bear all this in mind, particularly, when we considered Germany, because PC shooters is a big German market and we didn’t want to risk not getting a release.
Will DLC that be available for this game?
We’ve got some very ambitious plans with DLC – our first pack is coming up in a matter of weeks. We’ll also have title updates coming up because once the game’s out there, we’ll need to get feedback from the people who are playing it, and if need be make a few adjustments and tweaks.
Our team are already prototyping all sorts of stuff to be released as DLC and we’re really excited about it. It’s a really different type of market now; I remember five or six years ago, you’d get a game, finish it, put it back on the shelf and that was it. But now it’s almost as though the game’s release is just the beginning, really. Ours is a game that lends itself very well to expansion – there will be weapons packs, map packs – all sorts of things we can do to get our product out there.