Star Citizen Developer Wants to Reinvent the FPS

Roberts Space Industries details their plan for making combat on-foot as deep as its dog fights.

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Star Citizen, that ludicrously successful crowd-funded project, isn't just a space flight simulator. The developer, Roberts Space Industries is also creating a first-person shooter to accompany the space combat segments. In a new developer blog post, the team outlined some of its key changes to the FPS formula to improve "realism."

Standard FPS games, the post says only have two combat stances. One holds the player avatar's gun near the shoulder at all times while the other simulates careful aiming down the sights of the gun. Roberts says this isn't realistic and instead proposes a three stance system to improve balance.

The HUD in lowered stance.
The HUD in lowered stance.

With the new system, players will have to manage a gun in a lowered position, in a ready position, and in an "aim down sights" position. The addition of a third stance allows for a clearer distinction between players that have a gun ready to fire at a moment's notice (as they are in the typical first-person shooter), and those that have their gun at ease to making moving around an area easier. This more accurately simulates real combat stances and will force players to be much slower and more careful when engaging in combat. That sounds complicated, but Roberts says that most of this system will be handled automatically.

"Sprinting or using contextual navigation initiates the Lowered stance," the post says. "Moving slowly and deliberately keeps your weapon in the Ready stance. When in the Lowered stance (entered by sprinting or using contextual navigation), pressing the Fire button will bring you back into the Ready stance. When in the Ready stance, pressing the Aim button brings you into the Aim Down Sight stance. Releasing the held button returns the weapon to the Ready stance."

The HUD while looking through the sights.
The HUD while looking through the sights.

Roberts is also adding a new system for breathing and stamina to help reinforce a system of stat trade-offs between different kinds of weapons and armor. Heavier gear will drain players of stamina more, causing them to breath more heavily which, in turn, makes their aim more erratic. Players, much like real soldiers, will have to be careful so that they don't end up tiring their avatars. For the best aim, they'll also need to fire at the tops and bottoms of breaths to ensure that the chest isn't moving when they're shooting.

Roberts says that this will provide more balance and a refocused approach to shooting in games. "This is intended to slow the pace of combat, so that it feels more tactical and reinforces our intention that survival takes consideration, rather than random firing."

These features will be included along with the introduction of the FPS module code-named "Star Marine." There is no concrete date for Star Marine.

In any case, Star Citizen has raised more than $77 million, making it by far the most successful crowdfunding project of any kind to-date.

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

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JonnyC0mbat

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"son, your ego's writing cheques your body can't cash!"


Don't tell us what you want to do, just do it and let us figure it out when the game gets released. That way no one is disappointed.

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Mordeaniis

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@jonnyc0mbat: That is literally the opposite of the point of what they did with this game. Jesus.

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Kyelo

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@jonnyc0mbat: It was part of the plan all along to keep backers informed of progress and future plans.

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Richardthe3rd

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Basically everything he described is already in place in most mainstream shooting games.


"Lowered Position" = hipster description for sprinting. You know, the action that's been in most major FPS games for the last decade.

"Ready Position" = hipster description for the normal state of every FPS.

"Aim-Down Sights Position" = I mean, do I really need to keep pointing out the obvious here?


The fact that they're just applying semantics to existing FPS mechanics worries me that they aren't really making a game that's all that interesting, because their interpretation of realistic FPS design certainly wasn't.

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Mordeaniis

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@Richardthe3rd: Most games don't have the delineation for lowered weapon out of sprinting, this does. Sounds like that mechanic will similar to ArmA, with a manual lifting of the weapon (even if it's just pressing fire, you can do that in ArmA to achieve the same thing). And no one was saying that aiming down sighs was new, but you can't just assume it will have it. Yes, it has it, they stated it. They didn't claim to have reinvented that mechanic.
Thene there's the stamina stuff which is another thing that shouldn't just be taken for granted. Most games don't have stamina use impact point of aim, most games don't have realistic breathing impacting weapon handling, etc.
Making a game feel significantly different doesn't always need huge strokes. It's the details that really change how a game feels.

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Neobone2

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@Richardthe3rd:

Its not really the important part.

This is the main difference between Star Citizen and mainsteam shooting games.

Stamina

Stamina is a resource you will need to manage. Performing actions such as sprinting, vaulting, mounting, climbing and breath control (detailed below) will lower your stamina. Low stamina will have several temporary knock-on effects, such as drastically reduced sprint distance, diminished ability to aim properly, and even a reduced amount of time that breath can be held. This is intended to slow the pace of combat, so that it feels more tactical and reinforces our intention that survival takes consideration, rather than random firing. Actions such as sprinting, jumping, climbing, vaulting and holding breath reduce stamina, while walking slowly (slow regeneration), standing still (faster!), staying behind cover, or aiming without holding breath will regenerate it.

Additionally, your armor and other held equipment will have a direct impact on your stamina consumption. If you are in large heavy armor, then stamina will drain at a much faster rate. If you are wearing light armor, then stamina will go down more slowly and you can run around a bit more. The armor you wear should have little impact on how fast you regain stamina so long as you remain still. This should add a nice choice when you have to sacrifice maneuverability for defense and vice versa! The design team is experimenting with several different options for ‘displaying’ stamina without taking you out of the universe; the current thought is to indicate on the HUD how much stamina is available via a heart rate monitor.

If you have little to no stamina remaining, your character will be breathing very heavily. This will make the bullet spread and sway increase dramatically. This will help prevent you from running around and expecting to be able to fire as accurately while you run. This also will make natural pauses during breathing (after heavy exertion) very short, making accurate fire a lot more difficult. Your helmet will make small changes to the HUD and even your helmet’s glass, depending on the level of stamina. With low stamina from running around, you will breathe heavily, fogging the helmet and further obscuring the view.

Breathing

We intend to prove that breathing can be an active, interesting part of the FPS experience. Soldiers must control their breathing in order to fire more accurately, so why not simulate that in the game? Firing at the top and bottom of each breath, or holding your breath entirely, are ways soldiers learn to fire their weapons most effectively, so it makes sense to reward players for having the skill and patience to do the same.

Firing at the top and/or bottom of your natural breaths mean that there is (briefly) no movement of the upper chest to move the barrel, making your shots more accurate. Holding your breath is another way which can be used for a longer stabilization time, at the risk of waiting too long and needing to catch your breath — with a resulting loss of stamina, should you hold it too long!

These “natural pauses” during the breathing cycle will only occur while in the Aiming Down Sights stance. There will be a pause at the top and bottom of each breath. During this pause there will be almost no movement to the sights and it will be the best time to fire. We might also tighten the spread of the rounds when firing at these points. (See below picture for the range explanation.)

Breakdown of full stamina breath pattern:

  • 1 Second pauses at the top and bottom of the each breath
  • 2 Seconds to move from the top to the bottom of the breath
  • Left and right sway and up and down limits are dictated by the weapon and attachments’ values
  • Up, down, left and right sway values should be determined by modifiers on the weapon’s sway

Breakdown of no stamina breath pattern:

  • Very short pauses at the top and bottom of each breath, about .2 – .3 seconds
  • Very rapid up and down travel time of about 1 second
  • Left and right sway and up and down limits can have a modifier on top of the base weapon and attachments’ values
  • Up, down, left and right values should be determined by modifiers on the weapon’s sway
    Holding your breath is the active part of the breath system. By holding a button, you will hold your breath for a specific amount of time before your character releases the breath for you. The longer you hold your breath, the lower your stamina gets. If you have little to no stamina, then you will not be able to hold your breath very long.

Breakdown of full stamina breath hold:

  • Holding [key] will begin the “hold breath” state
  • Sway is reduced to 0 for the duration
  • You can hold your breath for 10 seconds before needing to release (this action will be involuntary)
  • The release will create sway for 3 seconds, with a modifier making it a bit more extreme
  • After the sway, breathing returns to normal

Breakdown of no stamina breath hold:

  • Holding [key] will begin the “hold breath” state
  • Sway is reduced to 0 for the duration
  • You can hold your breath for 1 second before releasing
  • The release will create sway for 6 seconds, with a modifier making it a bit more extreme
  • After the exaggerated sway, breathing returns to the breath cycle based on current stamina
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ggsimmonds

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I am not one of the "it's vaporware" guys but at this point how about just finishing the game??

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Hypre1

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@ggsimmonds: fps is a part of the game, them detailing how its going to work and sharing it with us does nothing detrimental to the game being developed, if anything it helps since we are able to help them test and iron out any bugs or major balance issues we find.

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ghost140

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@ggsimmonds: I know with all the news it feels like Star Citizen has been in dev 6+ years but its only been 4. Well within how long it takes most AAA games to be developed.

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naz99

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2.5 mot 4...

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Darkwalker75

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@ghost140@ggsimmonds:

Its only been in development for about 2.5 years, not 4.

Development on the game didn't start until the original crowd funding campaign in 2012.

I know some people will argue that they started development earlier because of the tech demo, but that's not really true.

The tech demo was just a proof of concept and not part of the games development.

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MestreMun

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@Darkwalker75@ghost140@ggsimmonds: True be told if you don't count "tech demos" as development, we could claim that at this point, their development didn't start yet, since all the things that they released so far and to be released next, are no more than tech demos, hardly could be considered beyond that.


Or maybe you also should not mention "Oh other AAA took 5 years" or other similar generic quotes when referring to other games, because, they also spent an year, sometimes more, in "tech demo" phase and it is generally counted in the time revealed as spent on the development.


In the defense of these other AAA, I barely think that after almost 4 years, the only thing that they produce and are able to show to their "backer" (publsher) is that mini-tech demos barely playable and fun that SC released so far. I also think that they usually release in more than one platform, and due this reason, have to spend more time optimizing, as well as coding for more than one platform.


But, "things must to be different and work the opposite of the logic followed to any other game" when Star Citizen is involved, right?

LOL

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zBlackDeatHz

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@mestremun: AND LOL. While reading up on my bi-weekly Star Citizen news, I found another guy (you) raging about the game, as if it had murdered his family, on another website. Someone in the comments posted about the guys (your) commenting history, and all I can do is laugh, all the while feeling immensely sorry for the fact that you have to live with yourself.

This is so pathetic, I can't even describe it. You take the time to slander the game on everything from Twitter, to Facebook, to Gamespot, to the La Times. You even asked anonymous to aid your cause. There are people out there who have been shot, and hold less hate for their attacker, than you do for Star Citizen.

This is so, so, so very sad. You are so, so, so very sad. Go find help.

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zBlackDeatHz

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@mestremun: Either your hobby is visiting every GS article on Star Citizen, and ranting about it, or you need to find help.

No rational person alive would take you seriously after seeing your post history. It's pathetic, and I don't think you could make a bigger fool out of yourself even if you tried.

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naz99

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Psycho.

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screecwe

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@mestremun: Nutjob

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MestreMun

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@Darkwalker75@ghost140@ggsimmonds:

"Its only been in development for about 2.5 years, not 4."

"I know some people will argue that they started development earlier because of the tech demo, but that's not really true."


You mean, by some people you and Chris Roberts in the past, right?


That was hilarious to read from you, when in the past you said this:


<< LINK REMOVED >>


"1. They need $21 million for a fully crowd funded game.

2. They originally said they needed $2 million to show other investors that there was a demand/market for the game, but they always said the total price was around $20 million.

3. Be patient, they ARE working on the game, its not like they can just snap their fingers and have it ready.

They actually worked int this game for a full year before before they even announced it.

Check their website for updates instead of complaining, the Hangar module comes out in August, and Alpha will start in November, beta sometime 2014 and release in Late 2014 - Early 2015"


.... I loved the part that you put even in bold then.


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Kyelo

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@ggsimmonds: Due 2016.

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Sushiglutton

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If the core dogfighting actually looked fun this would be ok. As it is they should focus all efforts on making space combat better. This game will be a giant pile of mediocrity spiced up with microtransactions. Not exactly an appetizing combination.

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Damnation_6

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@Sushiglutton: All baseless assumtions. They have 7 studios working on the game pretty sure they are able to work out the FPS and Dogfighting. Among the studios is Infonic who made Nexuiz and who are in charge of the FPS part of the game. Let alone that they have people from Crytech US and Germany working for them now.

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Sushiglutton

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@Damnation_6@Sushiglutton: The assumptions are based on the gameplay footage they have shown thus far which have been very unimpressive (from a gameplay pov, graphics look fine ofc) to say the least.

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Darkwalker75

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@Sushiglutton@Damnation_6:

Have you actually played the game or are you just judging the game as a whole based on a few ALPHA videos?

First of all the game is still in Alpha so allot will change before release.

Second you cannot judge how the gameplay of a game will be just on a few videos as those videos dont really show everything, only way you can really get an understanding of it is to actually play it yourself.

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MestreMun

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@Darkwalker75@Sushiglutton@Damnation_6: Roberts is counting that people will believe in your speech, so he can have much more time to milk people and delay the core of the game as more as possible.


Maybe he/she is one of the 99% of the backers who refuses to give to AC a single try. Or half of that 1% who tried for a few seconds/minutes and that was enough to see how bad it is. Or... you know... are so disgusted with all the new cash grabbing ideas which appears instead an actual progress, that in no way will ever look to this game with forgiving or good eyes anymore.


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Kyelo

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@Sushiglutton: "Not exactly an appetizing combination"...if that was in fact real but it is not.

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VirtualSkill

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This game sounded amazing at first but I've never seen a game promise so much since Peter Molyneux's games. This can only end in disaster. There's no way they will be able to nail all of their huge ambitions and still release in reasonable time..

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JonnyC0mbat

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@virtualskill: No need to bring up the "M" word. That person's name is banned around here :D

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Damnation_6

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@virtualskill: Just wait till it releases if you don't have any faith in the project. They set about 4 years for releasing the game which is not unreasonable.

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Jigen32

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@virtualskill: Reasonable time has already passed for this game.

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Kyelo

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@Jigen32@virtualskill: 4 years from launch of funding(Oct 2012)to launch date isn't reasonable? Mmmm ok.

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naz99

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Nah they should have it out within weeks not years fu**ing noobs :p

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oldtobie

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Calling it right now, is going to be the clunkiest system in the world... The walking mechanic itself in this game is already far worse than Skyrim's and that's saying quite a bit.

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lilmcnessy

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What's wrong with Skyrim Walking system?

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I5204

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Realism/open universe sci fi vidya game. choose 1

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deactivated-5a1d4b615a3a3

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I'm pretty sure these stances have existed in most FPS' for a while. In both COD and Battlefield, mantling and sprinting cause your weapon to lower removing or hindering your ability to shoot...


Unless the ready stance is purely restricted to walking speed then I'm not sure how this is any different.

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lrdfancypants

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It was reinvented already March 2014.

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treemasterx

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@lrdfancypants: and that is?

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lrdfancypants

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The game that revolutionized the FPS genre.

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LoganDaDestroya

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As a supporter of the game I have to say this is pretty dumb, there's no "innovation" here at all, calling it such is pretty obnoxious to say the least. Especially when we consider the hilariously large ADS view taking away all your FOV, and how doing so with that kind of helmet is incredibly difficult if not impossible. ARMA is the only game I know of which does this right - making ADS and zoom seperate (the ability to zoom simulating our abilty to focus on far objects, which we can't naturally do with a 2D screen of pixels). But even then, ARMA also runs into the issue of having so many buttons for everything that it arguably becomes less realistic, because we have to think step by step how to achieve simple tasks which as humans we perform naturally and without thought.

A more interesting suggestion made is that, since the game is set so far into the future, we can have aim links in the helmet/visor hud so soldiers don't need to aim down the sights, but still use the stances for stability and will need to use the sights if an EMP messes things up: << LINK REMOVED >>

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mari2kde

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Please not another FPS ..

Make the ground combat turn based !

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Hypre1

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@mari2kde: that would be hilarious

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Kyelo

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@mari2kde: They are going for the realism thing, turn based doesn't fit that.

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nyran125tk

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Arma 2 does this. If you run all the time , your aim is screwed. Depends if you want your game fun or not. I'm I'm a huge fan of Arma for its mission editor I can make my own ghost recon missions. But realism is not everyone's cup of tea. Some people hate realism in games.

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DaSlyOne

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All their efforts toward realism will go out the window when people choose to play the way they want to play.

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cboye18

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Unless it has a completely demolish-able terrain or vehicles I won't even bother. That is the reason why the Guerrilla games and BF: Bad Company games were such fun anyways. By now this "next-gen" power should be able to do that.

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nyran125tk

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Be interesting to see what Battlefront is fling to do in this department . If anything.

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oldtobie

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Here's hoping for BFBC2-esque destruction.

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skipper847

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Reinvent micro transactions

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nyran125tk

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Just don't buy them . That's how i fight against it :)

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Talavaj

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Gotta love how they keep describing things that were in gaming forever as if they reinvented the wheel.

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