Looks like it's time for me to take my old camo uniform out of the closet and clean my guns. Again. :P
To no little surprise, I just discovered a new ArmA title that's being developed by Bohemia Interactive, the masterminds behind the original Operation Flashpoint. As some of you may know, I have had a love/hate relationship with Bohemia Int. for a long time. And just like an old ex-couple that broke up but stayed in touch regardless of the past mistakes, we started talking again. :) First I dumped Bohemia because of ArmA and ArmA 2 (which were utterly disastrous), and acted hostile to keep her from calling me again. And Bohemia generally tought I was a selfish d*** and didn't call me again. Then, after a while, I saw signs of progress on Bohemia's part, and decided to return the calls. Thinking maybe she changed after all this time, turning into a girlfriend/video game developer company I always wanted. And KNEW she could be if only she tried a little harder. This time it was me that picked up the phone and invited Bohemia out for a drink. I was skeptical at first, but after a while had to admit I was pleasantly surprised. Here's what we talked about... :D
We talked about ArmA 3. And why I'm (against my will, to be honest) excited about it, and also why I fear I might be disappointed again. So what's the deal? Well, let's try to sum it up. We'll put all the pros and cons on paper and see if ArmA 3 will finally live up to it's potential. So here goes... ;)
Why I'm excited about it:
In my spare time, I sometimes let my imagination wander off and create things of it's own. On such one occasion I tried to imagine what would a perfect military-themed game look like. What I imagined was a cross between Operation Flashpoint, Jagged Alliance and Brothers In Arms. Here's how it's supposed to look like - a hardcore, realistic FPS. That takes place on a huge battlefield, has tons of vehicles, weapons and gadgets, and offers you complete freedom to accomplish your missions any way you choose. Tons of different weapons that can be modified, as well as uniforms, assault vests, body armor, and countless ways to customize your loadout. I want both my allies and my foes to be smart and deadly, so I am forced to use my brain more then my reflexes to survive. I want a simple, Brothers In Arms style system of squad command, so I don't have to break my fingers every time I want to say "Squad, regroup to me!". I want a fully destructible environments. And I want it to run smoothly on a relatively reasonable hardware. Oh, and a bit more realism. Yes, realism. Think about it... In all those "realistic" military themed games, the guns never jam and are perfectly accurate all the time. Even the freakin' sniper scopes are zeroed in perfectly. There is always one side that is "bad" (your enemies), and there are no civilians, mobsters, mercenaries, local militias, black markets, news agencies, corporations or anything else resembling an actual war-torn country. I want that changed! I want a clusterf*** where you can't tell right from wrong, you're not sure who the enemy is and you always expect a bullet in the back, even from a civilian. I don't want a fancy airsoft match! :evil:
So can ArmA 3 fulfill those wishes? Well, some of them it already fulfills. Here's what Bohemia promises...
1.) Huge environments. Check.
2.) Many ways to customize your gear, your guns, even your uniforms according to a mission and terrain at hand. Check.
3.) Complete freedom in a way you accomplish your missions. Lonewolf, squad leader, saboteur, ninja... You name it! Check.
4.) Clusterf*** of many factions, friends, foes, guerillas, arms dealers, etc. Holy s***! At long last, CHECK! :D *tears of joy*
OK, but what about those other stuff? And by "other stuff" I mean - bugs and design flaws that plague ArmA series since it first saw the light of day. Well...
Why I might be bitterly disappointed:
Let's face it, ArmA was never a big budget game. And that's one big part of it's problem right there. It's not a game for a wide audience, like Call Of Battlefield 28 or whatever it is these kids play nowadays. It's a rare gem for a small audience, mostly adult people who want something more then "frags". So you can't make a lot of money from it. Which means no big time distributer would finance it. And you can't make a blockbuster without money. That's the sad truth. No matter how talented and creative you are. In fact, It's a freakin' miracle that ArmA had survived for as long as it did.
The other part of the problem lies in the fact that they couldn't (or most likely wouldn't) fix some of the issues that doomed ArmA. Mainly tons of bugs and stability issues. But OK, I get it, lack of budget, lack of time, lack of proper tools, etc., etc. What I don't get is why the hell can't they create an AI that would at least resemble anything called "smart". And why they simply refuse to fix the broken command system which makes it impossible to command a unit in the field. Also, it wouldn't hurt to put more effort into creating better misions. A little bit more balance of power between you and your enemies, better scenarios, believeable environments... I know perfect AI is impossible to programme, but Brother In Arms had it polished almost to perfection. And you only needed 2 buttons to command 3 to 4 different teams. Why not copy that?
I might be excited about all the progress it has made, and call Bohemia over for dinner or something, but until I see some hard evidence that the most serious and crippling issues of the series will finally be fixed, I will not get my hopes up for ArmA 3.
But I will keep my eye on it... ;)