At E3 2008, we just received a demo of the upcoming first-person shooter, Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising. If you've been following this game, you already know that it will depict a conflict between the United States and China on a fictional island in the Pacific Ocean. And if you know anything about Operation Flashpoint at all, you can bet that it'll be an extremely realistic take on wide-open militaristic combat. But you probably don't know that the game will feature 70 highly detailed, realistic weapons, and 50 equally detailed vehicles on an island that's 130 square miles of highly dynamic terrain.
You also probably weren't aware that if you went online, you'd be able to play eight-player coop with friends, or 32-player matches against them. And the best part is that even in an online match, you'll still have non-player character squadmates to command and fight alongside of. When the game launches in 2009 for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, it's possible that you'll enter a 32-player match with 256 combatants (between real players and their NPC minions).
But how will the game look? After all, no one has actually seen it in action. Instead of showing us gameplay, Codemasters showed us a "previsualization" of what the game is intended to look like at launch. From what we saw, they have their sights set on the best graphics seen yet in a first-person shooter. We witnessed an amazing, photorealistic air strike on some tanks that were rumbling along a hillside. Maybe Operation Flashpoint 2 will look like the best thing ever, and maybe it won't. But Codemasters' model for graphical success is extremely promising. And like everything else about Operation Flashpoint 2, it's unbelievably realistic and ambitious.
A big part of this ambitious realism is the island itself. The island is called Shira Island, and it's a real place in a real island chain. However, it's been transplanted into an area north of Japan that was recently discovered to contain large amounts of petroleum, which makes it the perfect setting for an international conflict between the United States and China. Now, you won't be able to actually blow up or off pieces of the island with your giant bombs and dangerous guns. Instead, the developers will populate the island with all sorts of trees and structures for you to blow up instead.
After reading all of this, you probably know that there's still a lot that you don't know about Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising. But there is good reason to hope that this will be one of the best-looking and best-playing shooters on the market in 2009. When we know more, you will too.