Bohemia tells us that ArmA 2 was a missed opportunity to show players more.
By Patrick Stafford on June 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm
Bohemia Interactive missed opportunities to make ARMA more accessible for players in the past, and the franchise’s third iteration is a chance to amend that trend, the company’s creative director told games.on.net today.
In a hands-on demo on the E3 show floor, creative director Jay Crowe said the company wants to make the game much more accessible, but denies the game has been dumbed-down at all.
“There’s definitely no desire to dumb it down because…we need to be unique. The game has the squad commands, the complexity, and sense of player’s autonomy.”
“These are things that make it stand out from things like Call of Duty and Battlefield, the studios which do linear games much better than we would do, or would ever want to do.”
“I think the evidence with the alpha is that we have shown a continuation of things being hard.”
The alpha version of the game has been available for months, but the beta at E3 introduces more elements to the game, including vehicles and abilities like artillery strikes. Players can now coordinate these, using a menu system which is much more simplified and easier to understand for the newer player.
We played a tutorial on the floor, the “Fire Drills” mode, which puts new players through the ropes. (Players will be able to make their own tutorial-type Fire Drill sessions as well when the game is live).
Immediately, the game feels much more accessible than previous iterations of the franchise. The menu system is greatly simplified, with no dark greys and browns, or small text to make things harder to find.
Crowe says elements such as this, and new gameplay options such as adjustable stances, and not things that “dumb the game down”. Instead, he says, they simply add complexity.
“We don’t want to hide information away [in menus]. We want to make it more accessible,” he says. “Being able to control your player more? That’s not dumbing down. That’s making things more useful.”
Players move the same, there is no major difference in how the combat is set up. But they will notice sleeker animations, with less clunky and awkward shifts between weapons or items. “We want to make the game more fluid,” Crowe says.
Crowe even says the franchise missed some opportunities during the second game to make those changes and open the game up to more players. However, he says a “lot has changed” in development since then and the company has to respond appropriately. “The beta is really the product of all of those changes coming out and being in the public,” he says.
This is a good-looking game, with the graphical updates giving ARMA a healthy sense of place and realism. But more than this, it feels just that tiny but more accessible without losing any of its edge. Elements like the new menus and the less cluttered inventory system are testimonies to this.
This is still ARMA at its core. For those fans of complicated and complex military shooters, the franchise remains at the top of its game.