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Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising

Everyone gets everything he wants. Will Porter wanted a mission, and for his sins, Codemasters gave him one

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What complicates matters is that hundreds of years ago it was owned by the Chinese, after which it was occupied by the Japanese, before (at the close of WWII) being granted to the Russians. And in Codemasters' opinion, with the real-estate value of the island suddenly increasing, something of a confrontation could brew in the real world if and when everyone claims the rights to its tasty oil-rich filling.

In their vision, the marine task force is sent there to protect US interests from a Chinese incursion, but then the Russians (caught somewhat unawares) request assistance. It's at this point that you'll be stepping in, occupying the bodies of various men on the battlefield - whether they're on foot, piloting a helicopter or packed tight within the metal belly of a tank.

Thing is, even though Sakhalin is being recreated from satellite data, detailed research and beautiful panoramic photos of verdant forests, lonely lighthouses and jagged rocky outcrops taken by newly employed locals and sent to a development house near Leamington Spa, Codemasters are refusing to say that the game is actually based there. Instead, they're giving the island the fictional name of Skira.

Why? Well, because they don't want the game to be inauthentic in any way, shape or form - and in their view, claiming the game is set there when it isn't a 100 per cent geographical recreation would be a failing. 'Not being flamed by fans' is clearly of critical importance - it's almost like a mantra that echoes through their halls. Codies want the real deal - no more, no less.

So it is that 70 people are currently employed in Kuala Lumpur to ensure that every weapon is modelled entirely accurately - from the bullets it fires to the scope. A single hand grenade is now composed of 5,000 polygons - an entire Op Flash soldier used to have only 500.

"The core of the game is the gun in your hand, and it either keeping you alive or not keeping you alive," explains Clive Lindop, the game's senior designer, when I meet up with him later on. "We've put an enormous amount of work into replicating weaponry, both in terms of the physical thing in your hand - models and texture-wise - and everything that surrounds it: ballistics, different ammunition types, weights of ammunition, characteristics of the weapons themselves." In fact, the type of ammo you fire from a gun will even affect its range and damage. Anal genuinely isn't the word. Codemasters are talking to veterans and serving soldiers alike (the dialogue and script are sent straight to the Army to check terminology and the exact phrasing), and a large number of developers are themselves ex-servicemen.

It doesn't stop with the authenticity of the shiny sheen on your gun barrel, though. Oh no, sir. Codemasters want the tactics and the way the enemy reacts to you to be entirely real. "As with Flashpoint, the enemy will adapt and won't always do the same thing twice," claims Wafer.

"They're going to be extremely tactically aware and strategic. You're not fighting a couple of guys - you're fighting a unit that's able to adapt to the circumstances that are going on. You need to think, do I suppress the enemy? Do I call in an air strike? If I do, how will that affect the troops around me? How will it affect the scenario? What you do will affect what the enemy does - they may decide to retreat, or they may throw smoke grenades at you.

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