27 June 2011

War in the gaming world

It promises to be a fierce battle, with armoured tanks, battleships and fighter jets scrambling across the screen as bombs are exploded and the enemy is mutilated mercilessly - in two rival war video games whose release this year is being highly anticipated.

Gamers across the world are awaiting the release of Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 by rival franchises around the same time this year.

Battlefield 3, a first-person shooter action video game, is by gaming company giant EA Digital Illusions CE. The game is set to release Oct 25. It is the 11th installment in the Battlefield franchise, and a direct sequel to Battlefield 2, which released in 2005.

Modern Warfare 3, also a first-person shooter video, is part of the Call of Duty series by multi-billion dollar videogame publisher Activision Blizzard. Modern Warfare 3, the latest installment of the blockbuster combat franchise whose previous two releases were the biggest-selling video games of all time, is due to release in November.

Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, released in 2009, earned $400 million in one day. Its successor, Call of Duty: Black Ops, broke the record the following year.

A preview of the Battlefield 3 on the net is fetching huge interest. The scene, based in Iraq, has armoured tanks rattling across the desert sand, broken by shrubbery, leaving long trails and billowing dust. The sky, the clouds and the bright sun look real as the player views them through the glass visor of his tank, with the sun leaving tints on the glass.

While the Battlefield series multiplayer -- with many people playing across the net -- has always been good, it has failed to notch success in its single player missions.

Gamers are hoping that Battlefield 3 single player won't just be about realistic war scenery but have good gameplay as well, something that its earlier series lacked. Call of Duty, which has a shooter game every year, has been keeping its fans hooked to the games with a well-evolved story line and good gameplay.

"The visuals are generally great in the Battlefield series, but there is not much game-play in the single player. As a shooter game it lacks excitement," gaming enthusiast Anand V. told IANS.

Showing the intricate graphics of Battlefield Bad Company 2, a previous game, in which the protagonist and his aides are running through a jungle, Anand says, "Just see how life-like the setting is."

"The EA people (the makers of Battlefield) use dynamic lighting (kind of simulated lighting), and a lot of physics in the shooting. When a player is shooting at a building, the building walls develop holes with each shot, like it would in real life, and with persistent shooting, the wall would even crumble. For Battlefield 3, they have revamped their graphics vastly to make it even more realistic," he said.

However, the graphics in the more successful Call of Duty (COD) series are believed to be "pre-rendered". Explaining, Anand says, "if you notice carefully, the shadows are static in the COD series. But this has its advantages, as your computer graphics card can take the load, but for Battlefield 3 there are chances the graphics card will not be able to run the game smoothly."

In a review of what the two games would be like, gaming review site gamespot.com says Battlefield 3 is "more scripted in order to compete for the attention of people, compared to previous versions".

EA is matching the moves of the hugely successful Activision to churn out a surefire "heavy hitter" game this time.

At the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) meet held in Los Angeles earlier this month, John Riccietiello, chief executive of gaming company EA, declared that Battlefield 3 is "the beginning of the war".

Using a Frostbite 2.0 engine to deliver more firepower to the game, EA is hoping to leave no stone unturned to ensure its Battlefield 3 is a sureshot winner.