The vehicles rendered look very nice, almost photorealistic and look to have at least doubled the poly count of the original game. Soldier animation’s and graphics are significantly improved as well and the troops look very realistic and are planned to move and gesture like a real person. This will become more important as I go on.
View and draw distances are going to be improved as well and the plans are for them to scalable to boot. One of the bigger gripes with the original game was the fog effects which limited the effectiveness of some of the air weapons in your arsenal. Now you can set the view range as short as 1km away and as far as (they hope) 5km away depending on your hardware capabilities. In addition there are plans to limit the number of drawn objects for people in aircraft so they don’t have to deal with the slowdowns caused by trying to draw large amounts of objects quickly.
We were short on time so some things didn’t get asked by me. I am not sure what kind of single missions will ship with the game; that is something that will have to be researched over time. Likewise the company doesn’t really know what the multiplayer will be like at this time. There will be multiplayer, they just haven’t really gotten to that part quite yet and don’t really want to talk about it until they can evaluate what can and cannot reasonably be done.
The game will ship with an American campaign, like the first game. The campaign will actually ship with three specific chapters, or essentially three different campaigns. The player will start out as a USMC private essentially playing the game as a grunt out in a combat environment. The second chapter will have the player play a ‘mid level commander’, essentially a platoon leader controlling a small group of men in battle. The third chapter will have the player play as an SF detachment officer, essentially doing all the deep secret hoorah stuff.
The game will be a little different with its control of soldiers than the original OFP. This version is planned to have the individual control groups of troops (teams or squads) more than individual soldiers. How this is going to work I am not totally sure but it looks like the higher you go up the chain the more control you will have over groups and the less you will have control over individuals. This is a nice touch since a company commander would rarely, if ever, send individual soldiers out to do the mission. Instead he or she would instruct the platoon leaders to perform a task and then let that individual leader perform the mission. You get a feeling of command that will actually be put into the game. If the game pulls this off it will be a first.
But wait, I’m not done yet. If you think all this is amazing, you read what they want to do with the actual game engine. In this game there is going to be no real set mission, no real set paths or anything of the type. Essentially the idea is going to be that all the individual units in the game (which Bohemia states could run into the thousands) will actually operate as individuals and will interact with other units in the game. Essentially what they are saying is that if an AI unit goes out on patrol and finds the enemy they can report it and remember it. If they don’t find that enemy unit then you may not find out about it until you run across it.
In other words, your decisions, especially if you are a higher level player in the game, can and will affect what happens in the game. In addition, the decisions you make in the game will have consequences. Not only will friendly and enemy AI be modeled in the game but there will be neutrals in the game that you will have to interact with and the decisions you make will have an effect on what happens later on.
For example, if you say or do something that ticks off a fellow soldier (you can interact and ask limited questions of the soldier in the game) by doing something that the troop would obviously dislike then the trooper may not tell you some information that may prove to be vital later on. Likewise, your interaction with the local people will have an effect on their treatment of you and your fellow soldiers later on. If you shoot, pillage and destroy wantonly in the game then the next time you enter that village the people could range from sullen and uncooperative to downright hostile.
In addition you can be disciplined for doing things that are outside your rules of engagement. Yes, it is a game so there probably won’t be any virtual courts marshal but there will be consequences for your actions.
Essentially this means the game is a combination of a role playing game on top of being a combat shooter. This really is going to be a stretch for Bohemia Interactive but if they pull this off they will make every other combat shooter obsolete. Without a doubt they are trying to raise the bar to a whole new level and I really hope they pull this one off.