D.I.C.E.'s Battlefield series is rightly acclaimed as one of the most detailed and authentic MMO FPS ever conceived and if you're a Battlefield fan, it can't have escaped your notice that a brand new version of the fearsome franchise is heading your way this autumn after making a big splash at this year's E3.
Eschewing the historical conflicts of the past, the new Battlefield 2142 catapults you into the near-ish future, where a new ice age grips the planet and EU and Pan Asian Coalition forces clash over control of ever-diminishing natural resources.
It's quite a departure for the series, so we thought it was best to track down senior producer Marcus Nilsson who's heading up the game and subject him to a gentle but thorough CVG probing.
Here's what we discovered.
Traditionally, the Battlefield series has used historical or near-future settings. What prompted the decision to go so far ahead in the future?
Marcus Nilsson: We've been thinking about this for years. For something like Battlefield, it's easy for us to go into the future because for the first time ever, we make things up and we can make things that fit perfectly into the world of Battlefield. It's all about the toys and the equipment, the vehicles and how you use them. And if you can start designing how they work, then you can build upon them. We're now reaching a level where we make it more interesting to play the game.
So rather than building it around a pre-set scenario, the gameplay comes first? You're not restricted, like in Vietnam, to crawling through jungles?
Marcus Nilsson: Exactly. The way you start out when you make a game like Vietnam is you go reference hunting; you Google up 'Tiger Tank' or whatever. This time, you need to have a very clear vision of where you want to go.
Is it harder to invent stuff from scratch?
Marcus Nilsson: It's far more creative, far more inspiring to do it. At the same time it's more pressure, because you need to make things look good and interesting, because you don't have a template to follow. It's important to have a strong vision from an art standpoint and from a game design standpoint to be able to do a game like this.
Is the Ice Age scenario a reference to global warming or just something that fitted in with the game's style?
Marcus Nilsson: We wanted to find an interesting scenario where we knew people would be pushed together towards the area we wanted. It's quite a convenient thing happening to the world. At the same time, it raises the point of global warming.
Will you actually get to fight over the frozen areas?
Marcus Nilsson: Yeah, part of the fact that we wanted to go with ice is so we can make very interesting levels with it. We also have levels where the ice pretty much invades the level. What's the name of that movie? The Day After Tomorrow - if you reference that you're quite close to what some of the levels will look like.
How do you go about predicting the year 2142?
Marcus Nilsson: The world is not Star Trek. There's no lasers, no plasma guns - this is a dirty, gritty and brutal world where you're fighting to survive. We're keeping it interesting and making the stuff we have very compelling.