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Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us about your work in Operation Flashpoint: Red River.
I’m Tim Browne, Principal Games Designer at Codemasters. My work in Operation Flashpoint: Red River has been overseeing the development of the core gameplay mechanics by leading the Core Design team.My team is responsible for the way the game feels, handles, the balancing of damage and the XP system. I’ve also been involved in the work on the licensing focus of this game.
How would you describe Operation Flashpoint: Red River in your own words?
Operation Flashpoint: Red River is first and foremost a tactical shooter for someone who is tired of what I call the ‘roller coaster shooters’ out there. Red River is more of a thinking man’s shooter where you have to rely on being tactical rather than the run and gun style of gameplay. It is at it's heart a solid co-op game experience and as I’ve said before it’s a great game to play on your own but 4 times as fun when you’re playing with your friends.
What are the main features that make it unique and that differentiate it from other games of the same genre?
As I mentioned earlier this is a game with co-op at its heart. We developed Red River from the ground up with 4 player co-op in mind. So the whole of the campaign is 4 player co-op and now that we have included join-in-progress, the action doesn’t have to stop when you want to invite your friends into your game.
On top of that we have 4 very unique co-op based Fireteam Engagements (FTEs) which like the campaign, can be played on your own but if you want to get the highest score on the scoreboard, you’re going to want to play with friends. The tactical aspect of Operation Flashpoint: Red River also makes our game feel different from the rest of the crowd. I have to think about how I’m going to approach my next objective and as I can attack most of them from any angle I’ve got to be careful that I don’t order my fireteam mates into a potential ambush or death trap.
What are the graphical and technical features that we’ll see with the EGO Engine?
In Red River we still have a very impressive draw distance but thanks to the fact that all internally developed Codemasters games utilise the EGO Engine tech we’re able to borrow aspects from some of the other games. For example many of the post processing effects have been co-developed with our racing studio so that both teams benefit from some fantastic looking graphics. Each mission within the campaign has been given a colour treatment in the lighting so that each one has a different look and feel. This was achieved thanks to working with the EGO Engine.
What ideas have you included in order to offer variety?
Red River offers the chance for players to play as 4 different classes of United States Marines. These are the Rifleman, the Auto Rifleman, the Grenadier and the Scout. Each of these has a different pro and con to them, for example if I want to approach an objective from a great distance I’d choose the Scout, where as if I wanted to go in close and dirty with the enemy I’d choose the Grenadier. This allows the player to choose what their four man fireteams make up is and allows them to choose how they will approach each scenario they will come to. On top of this we have an excellent XP and unlock system that is not tied to online or multiplayer only. We wanted the player to be rewarded if they were playing solo or co-operatively and this allows them to shape their chosen class to best suit their play style.
Please tell us about the story: realism seems to be the key feature of it, can you expand on this?
We have focused on keeping the game, setting and story as authentic as possible but not to allow it to get in the way of excellent gameplay. Operation Flashpoint: Red River is set in Tajikistan in 2013. Tajikistan is a beautiful country that borders Afghanistan and forms a link to China. The story is based around a four man fireteam who have just been deployed to Tajikistan to continue the hunt for insurgents that have fled Afghanistan and are trying to get a foothold in it’s bordering countries. I don’t want to spoil the story but after a little while China start to get edgy in how close American forces are getting to their backdoor so they begin to intervene also and the rest, you’ll have to find out by playing the game.
Wars in Middle East are always a subject of debate in real life, with people arguing against or in favour of “invasion for resources” or “spreading democracy”: Do you support any of the “sides” in the story, both, or just don’t take part in the debate and focus on other aspects of wars?
As the game is set around being a Marine they may or may not have views or opinions on the politics or what they’re fighting for. Something we know from working closely with the USMC is that they are Marines first and foremost and they have a job to do. We take that attitude into the game and apply it to the narrative and story.
After seeing the results achieved until now: What has impressed you the most?
There are many things that are great. One of the most impressive things I’ve seen recently is when calling in the 2000lb JDAM on a target and the sheer size of the explosion you see in the distance is phenomenal.
I think another thing that impresses me is what we have achieved with Operation Flashpoint: Red River in quite a short space of time. We set out to learn from what we did on Dragon Rising, adapt and improve it and to make a tactical shooter with co-op at its very core.
After Operation Flashpoint: Red River: Do you have any plans for the future of the franchise?
We have some plans and things in the works but obviously we can say anything more on the future of the franchise at the moment.
Thank you very much, and best wishes for Operation Flashpoint: Red River.