Operation Flashpoint: Hardcore And Vehicular

By Jim Rossignol on August 17th, 2009 at 8:43 am.


(Which is a much better subtitle than Dragon Rising, I think.) Following up on my interview with producer Sion Lenton from last week, I thought I’d better catch up on the Operation Flashpoint 2 footage. The first piece is particularly illustrative of the sort of thing Lenton was talking about, as it shows off “hardcore mode”, in which the game removes all HUD elements and player assists to create a rather more realistic and demanding experience. I spent some time reading up on this over the weekend, and I’m wonder if the game will come as more of a surprise to console players than PC players. We are, after all, getting used to the notion of an open world FPS, where the linear or the multiplayer-map are still the most explored. I’m seeing lots of mentions of Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield with reference to Operation Flashpoint, which, of course, aren’t really relevant to how the game will play out. Also, I suspect – as Kieron mentioned the other day – both this and ArmA are being introduced to a modern audience that never played the original Operation Flashpoint, and has little idea what to expect. Anyway, three videos of the game in motion sit beneath the click.

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73 Comments »

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  1. Aubrey says:

    Hmm. I always thought the “hardcore” wanted to turn all the graphics settings to zero so that the game became an abstract, easy to percieve approximation of the real game. A game with all the visual noise taken out so that it’s pure signal.

  2. Aubrey says:

    I guess “Hardcore” is a pretty loaded term.

  3. Pemptus says:

    In b4 ZOMFG CONSOLIFIED TARD!

  4. Psychopomp says:

    @Aubrey

    People tend to confuse hardcore gamer withs whiny, elitist manchildren.

  5. Turin Turambar says:

    ZOMF…!! awww, i got here too late. /Looks at Pemptus.

    The game looks exactly i supposed it would look. A mix between Operation Flashpoint, and something more akin to BF or CoD.

  6. diebroken says:

    Excellent I can’t wait to play this on my PC… with my xbox 360 controller… I’m sure it’ll be fine indeed. See? I didn’t say anything about it being consolized!

  7. Pavel says:

    Hardcore game in which you can not lean (thanks, consoles) is…not hardcore.

  8. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yeah, lack of lean is a fucking joke. Rubbish.

  9. Bongo says:

    I think this looks more like BF 2 than Flashpoint to be honest. It’s of course based on the trailers for the game, but I think calling it a military sim is a bit of a stretch. I also don’t understand their decision on stripping away the compass in hardcore mode. It’s not more “military” in any way, and since CoD 4 did this I know it’s pretty frustrating. Telling people which direction something is in is much less cumbersome than “he’s over there by the red house… no the red house on the left… the one with the thatched roof… oh god…”.

  10. Psychopomp says:

    It’s not a console thing, Goldeneye had lean.

    It’s an incompetence thing.

  11. Wisq says:

    This “hardcore” mode they talk about is nothing to get excited about. When they say it’s for “the true fans of Flashpoint”, they don’t mean “a new feature to get those old-time OFP fans all excited” … they mean “we’re not dropping ‘veteran’ difficulty, we’re just renaming it”.

    And yet, they talk all excitedly about it, as if it were new. Maybe they just mean it’s new to their target audience … which maybe means they’re targetting the so-called “consoletards”? ;)

    Regarding the compass: I hope they just mean the HUD compass. If they’ve taken away the ability to pull up your watch and compass like in OFP, or at least the ability to pull up your map (not an automap) and at least have your compass there, then that’s just stupid. Yeah, it’s highly realistic that the military sends people out into the field with nothing but the sun and the stars to navigate.

    As for leaning yeah, sucks to not have a way to do it. It would be the perfect kind of thing to integrate into something like TrackIR support — I know ArmA had pan and yaw, but I don’t think it had roll or lean support. Of course, if it did, that would give an advantage to those fortunate enough to have TIR hardware… but one could (maybe) argue that just being able to look away from your aimpoint was already an advantage.

  12. ourdreamsoffreedom says:

    There are commands for flanking, supressing and assaulting buildings. That alone is more progress than ArmA has brought to the table in two games.

  13. Pemptus says:

    @ourdreamsoffreedom

    And with NINE freaking menus of commands, too! (or was it ten?)

  14. AndrewC says:

    Yes, but lean always looks so *silly*.

  15. MrBejeebus says:

    i never lean in ArmA 2 anyway, yay being left handed and using arrow keys!

  16. dartt says:

    Somewhere, in an alternate universe: “It takes 20 seconds to navigate 3 menus totalling 10 button presses to tell my men to flank an enemy position but, hey, it’s fine because two whole buttons have been dedicated to letting me tilt several degrees to the left or right! Thank you, codemasters, for paying attention to what the fans REALLY want!”

  17. Hides-His-Eyes says:

    How are you all so very desperate to be unhappy? Two flashpoint derived games in a year and all anyone can do is complain that in what is going to have to be the better optimised game (if it’ll run on a 360 it’ll run on most of our computers, whereas many of us didn’t have a chance with ARMA2) is “too BF2″. Have you ever played BF2 vanilla? It’s so ridiculously stupid i can’t really put it in to words. Typical engagement range is like, 20-30m, even in a tank. You could clear a spawnpoint and it would refill with enemies before you even had a chance to take the flag. You could see someone, shoot at them, and they could turn around, shoot you and kill you, because they had a better gun.

    This looks more like the reality mod for BF2. Which is as favourable a thing to be compared to as i can think of. Only it’s with bots and co-op, which gives it a very different slant and means missions can pan out in much more interesting ways (players occasionally come out with surprises as enemies, but 99% of the time they’ve played enough to know which ways give them an overall advantage and they use those ways every time, especially in a game like BF2 where there are only 3 paths between each checkpoint typically)

    If this wasn’t called flashpoint you’d all be really stoked for it and making the comparisons yourselves. Frankly in today’s game world I’m pretty grateful when things like this come along, not making unfairly harsh comparisons to a game we all liked that’s nearly a decade old.

  18. Wisq says:

    Leaning is hard to do right in a free-movement game anyway. If you do the “press button to velcro spine to wall” cover system, you’ve got complete control and can make the player lean around a corner in the most appropriate way. Otherwise, you just look like you’ve got a wonky sense of balance, and you’re not really exposing yourself that much less.

    I recall OFP being one of the only FPS games (at the time) that didn’t let you jump, at all. (That’s probably one of the best things they did to ensure that multiplayer didn’t immediately become a totally surreal version of real life, like most other games.) I’m not sure leaning is as unwelcome as jumping, but it’s not particularly high on my wish list.

  19. Jim Rossignol says:

    To be fair, lean is about the only thing I can really complain about from what I’ve seen of the game so far. It’s very solid, and very hard. The world is beautifully open, and the squad stuff all makes lots of sense.

    It will be less enormo that ArmA, but it’s likely to be a better game experience in terms of bugs and overall fidelity.

  20. Wisq says:

    (And yes, I changed my mind on the whole leaning thing, upon further consideration. Which wouldn’t warrant a second post, let alone this third one, if the darned edit system worked …)

  21. Dzamir says:

    In the first video, he entered an house and shoot at one man after 1 second. If it was reality, the man behind the door should had fired him through the door while he was opening it. And after this, another man come from the left and loses a lot of time before shooting.
    Really realistic.

  22. Howard says:

    Did I miss something? Where in the videos did it say lean is not included? Or has that been discussed elsewhere? I know it didn’t show it but does that mean it is absent?
    If it is absent…well I’m not really that fussed, not because I don’t like Lean as a function of FPSs but it is rarely done correctly. Most games, particularly those that consider themselves “hardcore” tend to implement lean as some weird-ass roll were your view tilts to the side but you are no more able to see around a corner than before. The only games to actually implement it effectively was Raven Shield with its “Fluid Position” option and SWAT 4.

    As to the game itself: I don’t think it is looking too shabby. All these quickly cutting around action sequences we are seeing are not going to be representative of how the game will play and I think that has to be taken into account. The GFX look good enough given the size of the world (certainly alot less flickery and aliased than ARMA and with less pop-up and textures glitching), the weapons seem to be modelled well enough and I am liking the way the screen looks in regard to how your character moves and how the weapons are positioned. The vehicles too look reasonably solid and at least their helicopters seem to act like helicopters unlike certain other games we could mention.

    All that being true this is still a Codemasters game and, as I’ve said before, I trust CM about as far as I can comfortably spit out a rat. The proof of the pudding, and all that…

  23. Xercies says:

    If you did that assault building in Arma 2 or even OpFlash you would have died…

  24. diebroken says:

    @Howard : Don’t forget the Thief series, leaning in that game becomes second nature. :)

  25. Jim Rossignol says:

    Lean is not included. I think I mentioned it before. If not here then in a PC Gamer preview.

  26. Howard says:

    Ah, fair enough then. I though people were just drawing wild and peculiar assumptions from videos =)

  27. Hides-His-Eyes says:

    Xercies, I really don’t feel the measure of a game is how easy it is to die. I agree that the bit where he raids the house and doesn’t get the guy on the left is a bit stupid looking but being stupidly hard does not a good game make.

  28. Howard says:

    @diebroken
    Oh god, yes! How could I forget that? Yes, leaning in Thief was well done indeed and, especially in T1/2 utterly needed, particularly when it was all combined in with the Dark Engines beautiful mantling system

  29. Lack_26 says:

    There will be no lean? What has the world come to.

    Also, I use Keyboard and mice left-handed (despite being right-handed), I just find it easier. Anyway, I still used WASD, I like my hands in one place where I can keep an eye on them.

  30. vasagi says:

    its quite hard to shoot while leaning, more so with sustained fire, unless your using a super soaker.

  31. ourdreamsoffreedom says:

    In the first video, he entered an house and shoot at one man after 1 second. If it was reality, the man behind the door should had fired him through the door while he was opening it. And after this, another man come from the left and loses a lot of time before shooting.

    Real people aren’t suicidal aimbots like in ArmA.

    I like the little details like the supressed solder ducking under the barricade, holding his helmet.

  32. Starky says:

    In almost every FPS known to man lean was a waste of time anyway, if you wanted to avoid fire, strafing was pretty much always more effective, the one exception I can think of was (as mentioned above by diebroken) Thief.
    Then again that game wasn’t really an FPS anyway (unless S can stand for stealth for Thief).

  33. airtekh says:

    @Howard
    “The only games to actually implement it effectively was Raven Shield with its “Fluid Position””

    Oh shit, I remember that!

    You’ve never leaned until you’ve leaned incrementally using your mousewheel. :)

  34. RGS says:

    Anyone else think that they may have gone a step too far with the colour filters? I mean most of the footage/shots I’ve seen for this game seem virtually sepia – and that’s coming from someone who likes a limited colour palette! Reminds me of when bloom was first introduced and a slew of games came out where it was way over the top, Vaseline on the screen effect. Subtlety’s the key I think.

    Anyway, ArmA 2 should be the game I choose over this, on paper at least, and I generally prefer the look of it. But I just can’t get to grips with the controls + mouse lag. Also it often runs really badly and seems very buggy, so I’m hopeful about this one. Fingers crossed.

    Like no HUD a lot.

    Hoping that gameplay is both open and realistic and that the controls/movement and aiming are solid.

    (Btw, would much rather have undersaturated than over so not complaining too much, will wait and see how it ‘feels’ in game I guess…)

  35. diebroken says:

    @Starky : :| I’ve never really liked the S in FPS, it felt like it was limiting the FP genre to just a particular game-style when there are various types. Not sure why it didn’t use the G as in the definition of RPG… I mean what is the Ultima Underworkd series of games classed as being?

    Leaning forward in Thief can be extra sneaky. :) Also, I fogot about leaning in Deus Ex!

  36. Starky says:

    Die, FPRPG? I suppose Fallout 3 could go there too, given it’s not a shooter as such.

    I never leaned in Deus Ex, it screwed up your aim – crouching was much more effective you got better aim and stealth.

  37. Optimaximal says:

    I like how Codemasters are actually putting their money where their mouth is and making a relatively decent sim out of the game rather than go the ‘Call of Duty with the Flashpoint Name’ route that everyone expected them too do.

    I believe it will inevitably sell better than ArmA because it’ll be a better rounded experience and Bohemia will have to find something else to whinge about (or, heh, improve their QA)

  38. Larington says:

    With regards to that assault building segment, the soldier that seemed as though he could’ve killed the player might have been a bit distracted by a player squadmate having run up to a nearby window. Just saying.

  39. Fenchurch says:

    God almighty, an entire thread about leaning.

    *Goes off to play Dwarf Fortress*

  40. Gap Gen says:

    That said, having played Raven Shield a lot and watching people look around corners, Rainbow team must suffer from terrible back problems in their old age. Lean giveth, and lean taketh away.

  41. GLOWi says:

    @Optimaximal
    Of course it will sell better, no one expects the opposite. It’s less demanding in every aspect, tailored for an average gamer and distributed by a big distributor.

  42. AndrewC says:

    By which you mean ‘more welcoming’. I like games that are more welcoming. They’re, I don’t know, more welcoming somehow.

    I’m just super touchy about any post that even hints at a pc-superiority complex or console bashing. It is staggeringly tedious.

    I’m quite up for this game though. I hope you can play as a cow.

  43. klumhru says:

    As an avid ArmA2 player I didn’t think I’d be saying this, but I think this is looking really quite good. It’s in a different vein from OFP/ArmA’s heavy emphasis on reality – as far as that goes in a computer game – leaning (heh) more towards accessibility and flash. Comparing the two feels like comparing GRID and GTR, and I wish the developers would stop trying to drag previous OFP players into OFP2 by trying. It’s counterproductive, as those playing OFP/ArmA have far more affinity to Bohemia Interactive and are only antagonized by the mention.

    In lieu of a new IP (too late etc), they should try to distance themselves a bit more from the original OFP. “Look, we took the original idea, streamlined it, and we’re releasing it on our own terms” would work better I think.

    I’ll probably pick up the demo before making a decision about buying, but that’s perfectly normal in my opinion.

    As for the leaning issue, I’ve always found leaning quite artificial as implemented in most games. In my opinion leaning is necessitated none the less by the fact that your sight line is fixed from the center point of your body, even when looking down the sights. The strangeness lies in the fact that if you look down the sights of a weapon held in the crick of the arm, your sight line should be offset in the direction of your handedness, but no FPS games I’ve played simulate this – OTS games are in a better position to deal with this issue, but OTS has always broken my immersion in shooty games. If it were simulated properly the only lean that was needed would be the one opposite to your handedness. Maybe a slight lean in the direction of your handedness as well.

    ArmA2, for alll its faults, implements lean decently. When leaning your steadiness is affected, but it gives the peek ability and oppurtunities to affect covering fire without overly exposing yourself. Wonder of wonders, the AI uses this feature frequently as well.

  44. Dracko says:

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to stream-line a piece of entertainment to make it more playable and accessible. Even if it is a pseudo-military sim.

    This does look very good for what it is, but I do wish trailers revealed a lot more of the actual battlefield gameplay, just how flexible situations are and how far they’ll demand you to adapt to them.

  45. Derf says:

    Given the utter miserable failure of ArmA II, this could be the true Operation Flashpoint evolution fans have been waiting for. I mean, for fudge sake, we should expect since Brothers In Arms that quick, simple, intuitive execution of squad tactics comes as standard. It pains me to simply recall how pathetically unaltered ArmA II is to ArmA and even ArmA to Operation Flashpoint.

    My only hope is that Dragon Rising isn’t just a re-skinned Call of Duty.

  46. Novotny says:

    I’ve been getting quite into that utter miserable failure, Arma2 recently. Finally got it running well and for me, the TrackIR support is a great feature.

    I’ll get this too, though I suspect that Arma2 will have the greater longevity.

  47. rocketman71 says:

    No LAN, no Flashpoint, thanks.

  48. Binary says:

    This is ridicoulus.

    Hardcore?

    Play ArmA 2 instead..

  49. Spectre-7 says:

    If you did that assault building in Arma 2 or even OpFlash you would have died…

    If it’s any consolation, the fellow who recorded that footage reports that he died several times while trying it. What ended up in the trailer was a lucky break, while the enemy was tied up with his AI teammates who were at the windows.

    If anyone’s interested in some actual gameplay footage (on the Xbox, unfortunately), here’s about 25 minutes of it from Codemasters’ August 09 showcase event in London:
    Taking the beach, Part 1
    Taking the beach, Part 2
    Blinding the dragon, Part 1
    Blinding the dragon, Part 1