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Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising

James Batchelor

Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising

‘Authenticity’ is a term often applied to games offering contemporary experiences. Call of Duty 4 was praised as one of the most realistic shooters ever and music games, such as Rock Band, offer controllers very reminiscent of their real life equivalents.

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is the latest game on the block to bring gamers their very own slice of the real world. This FPS game, built using Codemasters’ proven EGO game engine, takes place in an open world environment, known as Skira. Silence and precision are paramount to survival – and the game’s publisher believes the title could raise the intensity of what we’ve come to expect from virtual war. The player takes charge of a small team of soldiers as they attempt to out think the opposition and gain tactial advantages. This could take the form of directing troops to flank a group of approaching hostiles or securing the floor of a building.

“A major part of Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising’s unique experience is the four-player multiplayer mode – here co-op is king,” says Codemasters’ brand manager, Dan Robinson. “The game’s full campaign can be played through in co-op, which is a massive plus point – that social level of gaming is almost tipping the balance over the anticipation for the single player experience with FPS gamers.”

As with other shooters, Dragon Rising will also feature online multiplayer modes. The console versions will be limited to two squads of eight players or two squads of four players. However, the PC version will play
host to 32 players. More information is still to be revealed, but an online beta is expected to take place before the game’s release.

WAY OF THE DRAGON
Codemasters has lined up one of the biggest marketing campaigns in its history to promote the title.

“The campaign launches an early barrage online to hit core gamers and culminates with an explosive cinema campaign to impact and inspire the mainstream,” adds Robinson. “Operation Flashpoint’s ‘Think You’re Ready?’ campaign is executed with believable, documentary, gritty, unnerving and visceral creative work.

“Online promotional activity will run two months before and after release across top tier online gaming sites and a raft of hardcore gaming networks. The title will also enjoy a presence on Xbox Live and PSN before widening out to mainstream sites in the immediate run up to launch.

“We also have a ‘Sound of War’ cinema campaign which will then run for two months and target three million impressions.”

The reaction from publications has been largely postive so far. OXM said that Operation Flashpoint is ‘a war we can’t wait to get a piece of,’ while OPM dubbed it ‘the most realistic shooter ever made.’ PSM3 commented: ‘OF's realism is set to redefine your expectations of first person shooters – war has never been so cerebral or rewarding.’

 “The marketing drive is all about maximising the consumer’s opportunities to see the game in the right channels. This game has had a two-year publicity build and now is launching in a relatively clear launch window for shooters,” says Robinson.

Codemasters are shooting for authenticity throughout, with clever enemy AI, locations modelled on real world environments and motion capture sessions making character movements all the more believable. Added touches, such as smoke and fire visual effects and contextual sound, complete the brutal depiction of modern war.

“Three years ago the dev team here at Codemasters Studios set out to take gamers ‘as close to war as they’ll ever want to get’ with a game that challenged what console gamers have come to expect from on-rails shooters – a game for those that were ready to graduate and take more control of their men, their missions and the war,” says Hayley Holland, brand director at  Codemasters. “The result is the most accessible, immersive, engaging, sandbox war game seen in recent times.”

Offering a rough, challenging tactical war experience, Codemasters certainly look to be pushing the authenticiy of shooter with Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising.

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