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Interviews

Battlefield 2142, part one

Producer Jamil Dawsari tackles our question salvo as we discuss near-future warfare

EA and Digital Illusions' latest Battlefield game, Battlefield 2142, transports combatants to a near-future war zone where world powers are battling for land in the wake of a second Ice Age. During a recent press jaunt to Digital Illusions' Stockholm offices, we managed to corner BF2142 producer Jamil Dawsari and quizzed him about the title, and part one of the resulting interview is below. We'll be hitting you with the second and concluding part shortly! But now, over to Jamil...

So, firstly, how did the idea for Battlefield 2142 come about, why did you go for a futuristic scenario this time around?

Jamil Dawsari: Well, the original idea behind 2142 was to take the Battlefield gameplay and put it in an entirely new setting, a new genre if you will. Funnily enough, our original design idea had it on an entirely different planet and it was a US-Russian sort of alternate history where the Cold War had never stopped and the space race kept going.

We changed our mind about a month after we started the whole thing and brought it back to Earth and it was more relevant. The Battlefield fans always like realism, and it seemed like we were going away from that core, so that's why you have 2142 as you see it today.

Past Battlefields have been rooted in historical scenarios. Do you think this move has allowed you to be more creative?

Jamil Dawsari: Very much so. Our artists were ecstatic to go someplace where they could be as imaginative and creative as possible. However, we did have some constraints. Notably, because realism has been an aspect of Battlefield, maybe not necessarily in gameplay but in the way it looks and feels, they see a Tiger tank, they see an M1 Abrams or a Cobra helicopter, they want to believe it. So we worked quite hard to make sure it was grounded in a believable reality, the idea being that if you had a Discovery Channel or a History Channel 2142 that you would see these things on it. In part, that's why we don't have things like laser beams in the game, we have slug throwers, bullets. First of all it feels better when you're shooting them, but it feels more credible.

You've chosen a very interesting storyline and scenario. Perhaps you could expand on that?

Jamil Dawsari: In a nutshell, the year 2142 finds us in the midst of an ice age in which the 10 billion inhabitants of the Earth find that the only remaining land will hold 2-3 billion, so there's quite a lot of competition for it. In a nutshell, that's it right there!

True, but you've got two opposing forces the Europeans and the Pan Asian Coalition. Do they have a different emphasis, different weaponry as the game evolves?

Jamil Dawsari: We have a couple of fundamental differences, one is really with... the main battle tank, for example. The Pan Asian Coalition has a hover tank which controls quite differently from the EU tank, which is built along more standard lines. The interesting thing is some people love both of them, most people love one not the other and it's very much specific to your gameplay, how you like playing it. So it will be interesting to see how people react to it.

How would you characterise the two sides? Are the Europeans more like a modern mainstream army for example?

Jamil Dawsari: Interestingly enough, to go back to your earlier question regarding the history... We built a very big context, the history of our world. Part of that is people want to believe in the world and the context of it. So you read our battle descriptions, like the fall of Berlin, the battle of Verdun and they give you a real flavour of the history of this conflict. As far as the back-story for the EU - and while we don't explore it in-game - the whole idea there is that European countries fell into a massive civil war, prior to the whole building of the alliance.

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