Operation Flashpoint: Red River's creative director, Sion Lenton, thinks military simulations are “immersive” and “realistic” but not necessarily “fun.”
Speaking to PC Gamer, Sion directed gamers yearning for an accurately simulated warzone towards Bohemia Interactive's ArmA series, and claimed that PC is “Not the market to be in.”
Sion Lenton was Executive Producer on Codemaster's Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, released in 2009. PC Gamer described it as “An attractive and powerful sim that spoils itself by trying too hard to be a straightforward military shooter.”
We asked Sion about that decision to move even further away from the series roots with the follow-up: “We want to steer away from the idea that it’s a simulation; we’ve banned the word in the studio. Authentic is fine, as it gives you some leeway to be creative, and that’s what we are. We’re creative, we’re making an entertainment product, and it should be fun. I don’t really get much fun out of military simulations. They’re immersive, they’re realistic, but I wouldn’t call them fun.
“If you want simulation, then it’s out there; go play ArmA. We wanted to do something different, in our own space, and we don’t want the Op Flash brand tied down to simulation.”
I'd argue that it is possible to have fun in ArmA, even though it's an unforgiving beast. Evan has video proof. What's even more odd about the comments is that ArmA developers Bohemia Interactive are responsible for the first game in the OpFlash series, Cold War Crisis. By 2001's standards, it provided unparalleled scale and extensive realism. The developer left the Operation Flashpoint name behind at Codemasters when it switched publisher.
Sion also didn't seem enthused by our platform of choice either, despite some high profile developers considering it to be one of their strongest assets: “As great as PCs are, from a sales point of view, it’s not the market. There’s a bigger market out there and if you get success you can start to experiment more. You need to get the sales under your belt, and then that gives you the freedom to do other things.”
Operation Flashpoint: Red River is due for release on April 21 in Europe and April 26 in the US. For more information read our Operation Flashpoint: Red River preview, or watch the latest trailer. What do you think of Sion's comments? Ever managed to have fun in a simulation?