Operation Flashpoint: Red River Preview (PS3)
Release Date: May 24, 2011
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Cross Platform: Yes (PC, Xbox 360)
Bohemia Interactive Studio's original Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis had gained quite a reputation with war simulation junkies for its realistic take on the war shooter genre. The award winning tactical shooter enjoyed a small but a dedicated fan following that revelled in the ground hugging and meticulous crawling that was required in a world where death was dealt by a single bullet. The franchise was known for its accurate ballistic simulation model and an emphasis on tactics and squad commands. However, when Bohemia fell out with Publishers Codemasters, they moved over to another publisher to work on the Operation Flashpoint's spiritual successor ArmA: Armed Assault, leaving the Flashpoint franchise with Codies.
Being a big publisher, Codemasters decided to tread a more mainstream path and tried a more traditional Call of Dutyesque war shooter take on the franchise. Although the game enjoyed commercial success, it was critically panned for being confused between being a war simulation and a regular shooter. The fans of the original weren't impressed. So the question plaguing everyone's mind is: Will Codemasters' return to its tactical shooter roots or finally make up its mind and make a Call of Duty out of Operation Flashpoint: Red River?
The answer is pretty much clear in what Creative Director Sion Lenton told PC Gamer in an interview, "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 that wasn't clear enough, Lenton further dispels any ambiguity by stating, "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."
The writing is on the wall. If you like military simulations, you're better off with ArmA. Just like its decision to inch towards the mainstream with the Flashpoint franchise, Codemasters also went platform happy with Red River slated to hit Xbox 360, PS3 as well as the PC platform. Bohemia Interactive Studio, however, have stayed focused on the simulation roots and accordingly stuck to the PC, which is exactly where all the simulation junkies reside. And just like it expected, Bohemia has found its niche with the military tactics and simulation crowd, but what about Codemasters, whose last outing with Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising couldn't quite make up its mind if it was a tactical shooter or a regular CoD clone? Either way, it's an uphill task for Codemasters, because going back to the simulation would alienate the console gamers and going mainstream would pit it against the big daddies of the genre - Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises.