[COLOR=black]I typed up an article for [/COLOR][COLOR=black]www.psittacine.com[/COLOR][COLOR=black] that I thought would be highly relevant here. I know we always hear someone say that there have been too many World War Two FPS games, a statement that usually triggers a response from me on various forums. Last night I came across one such statement again, and this time decided to type a full fledged ranting article. I mentioned Forgotten Hope at the end as it was a major part of my thinking process during the writing process, and so would like to see what you all have to say.[/COLOR] [COLOR=black]"[/COLOR][COLOR=blue]A lot of people complain that World War Two has been overdone in the gaming industry, that developers should stop making World War Two FPS games and instead start focusing on something else. I say hogwash![/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]The problem is not that World War Two has been hogging the FPS genre, but that every World War Two game always chooses to portray the exact same thing.[/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]World War Two is so immensely vast that if you take every World War Two FPS in existence, you'll find that they've only begun to scratch the surface of the conflict. By now you'd think World War Two consisted of "Normandy."[/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]Let us not forget that the Second Sino-Japanese War began in 1937. Point out a single non-mod FPS game widely released (mass produced) in the United States that has ever portrayed this Far East conflict between Nationalist China and Japan, a brutal conflict which put the majority of Japan's ground forces against the Chinese in a static front that lasted until the end of World War Two, 1945. I dare you.[/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]What about the beginning of World War Two? How many FPS titles have portrayed the German Blitzkrieg in either the east or west of Europe? How many show Poland's defense? None. How many show France's defense? One: World War Two Online (Battleground Europe) which in itself is merely alternate history, and thus not a true World War Two game.[/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]The Italian Campaign has gotten only a few portrayals, all of which were half-hearted, historically inaccurate junk (a Medal of Honor portrayal, a few CoD titles, and Battlefield 1942: Road to Rome). [/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]Have we seen other Far East campaigns? Burma, Singapore? What about Vichy French Indochina, which faced off Japan in 1940 for a short while, then Thailand 1940-1941, then Japan again in 1945. [/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]How about any part of Africa that isn't the British 8th Army at El Alamein? Where's East Africa, where the British fought the Italians in Eritrea, British Somaliland (the only un-assisted large-scale Italian victory of the war), Ethiopia...? Or Central Africa, where the Free French took over Gabon from the Vichyites? Or Madagascar, where the British and South Africans fought for months against Vichy French forces?[/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]The Middle East, where Commonwealth and Free French forces faced the Vichy French at Syria and Lebanon? Or Iraq, which fought Britain for a short while?[/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]How about the liberation of Elba?[/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]Even in campaigns we have seen, we've only seen a very narrow vision of the war. I'm still waiting to liberate Toulon as part of the French First Army following US and French forces landing in Southern France during Operation Dragoon. What about smashing through the Romanians during Operation Uranus in order to encircle the German 6th Army at Stalingrad? Face-off between the Finnish and Soviets during the Continuation War?[/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]Yet with this entire wealth of historical battles, many of which whole wars within the war (the French-Thai War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Continuation War…), all we get time after time is the exact same stuff: how many bloody times do I have to storm Omaha Beach, how many bloody times do I have to paradrop into Normandy, how many bloody times the same things over and over again until some company refreshes the genre by portraying something different from what we've seen? Normandy, shallow North African portrayal, and some shallow, stereotypical movie-inspired (then again, the rest are movie-inspired stereotypical junk too) Soviet front. That's all we've seen, and that's all companies continue to make. The reason behind this is, of course, marketing; what is popular in today’s mass media culture is what will sell. Nevertheless, it is important for this reason to note that World War Two is not to blame for the lack of originality in FPS titles based on the conflict, but rather the fault is with the developers, who refuse to take a risk in showing any conflict not based on Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan. [/COLOR] [COLOR=blue]Battles alone are not the only problem with the World War Two genre; another major issue is gameplay. When you consider that just about every World War Two game plays the same... How about having different games with varying degrees of historical accuracy? Not only are guns often nothing like their real counterparts, but simple style of play is off. What is all this going rambo in CoD and MoH games? CoD at least tries to create the impression of teamwork by having useless meatshield bots, but what we really need is games more along the lines of a realistic version of Battlefield 1942, games that ensure no one soldier would be a superman.[/COLOR] [COLOR=black][COLOR=blue]A good example of a start to the type of World War Two game that should be made is the Battlefield 1942 modification titled Forgotten Hope. In this mod, we’re given a glimpse of campaigns ranging from the invasion of Poland by German forces on September 1st, 1939, to the fierce fighting over the Karelian isthmus by Soviet and Finnish troops during the Continuation War. In addition, the combat style is given a realism twist, so that gameplay feels very different from the typical World War Two FPS title. Although it has its flaws, the Forgotten Hope mod is a step in what is, in my opinion, the right direction, and is an example of how much we’re missing in the current crop of World War Two titles.[/COLOR]"[/COLOR] So what do you FH regulars think on this subject? You can find the original article at: To the History Mobile!
Or how about that legendary Winter War game that never came out? If COD would make a game out of finnish wars, or any other "forgotten fronts", other than Normandy/Stalingrad, I would perhaps consider returning to that game series. For now, I keep my eyes open, altho mind closed. Im sick of all the yankcrap. In mods, our salvation stands.
I for one, love "yankcrap" but I understand your frustration. Great read Johannes. I dont think I could ever get enough of a WWII FPS. So vast and amazing. Its perfect for video gaming. How many of you spent hours with the toy soldiers with a friend? We couldnt get enough of it. And now to play in a sandbox with 64 other people is ridiculously cool.
More people need to see this...
Wanna go Double Dutch?
9th December 2003
I fully agree. But I doubt you will find many who disagree here... =p
Nicely written though.
Very well written article. This is from the son of an English teacher, so be flattered! You make excellent points, too. Couldn't agree more, really, although saying WWII Online is not a true WWII game is not really correct, given that it remains the only WWII game to allow players to decide how the war is fought on a grand scale - yes, the Allies can win in 1940, but I don't see how being alternate history stops it being WWII.
The problem with WWII Online is that it relies on the assumption that the German Blitzkrieg did not steamroll over France in 1940, and that as a result weapons of war that were not implemented until far later in the war are seen in a fictional France and UK versus Germany setting in what is essentially 1940 France. Tanks, planes, etc. from outside the historical setting (1940 Invasion of France) are thus fully playable. That is why I do not consider it a "true WW2 game" in the strict sense that it does not, at least, fit properly with the progression of the war. Of course, similar problems abound elsewhere too (StG44 as a common infantry weapon at Stalingrad, 1942, in Call of Duty, anyone?), but WWII Online just happens to take that problem to a level outside of what I personally would consider a "true WW2 game." Thus, although WWII Online uses WWII weaponry, I personally classify it under "alternate history, thus not WW2 as we know it."
Agree. IIRC, XWW2 had a couple of Sino-Japanese battles in its version from a couple of years ago, and it was a nice change.
Johannès;3843387The problem with WWII Online is that it relies on the assumption that the German Blitzkrieg did not steamroll over France in 1940, and that as a result weapons of war that were not implemented until far later in the war are seen in a fictional France and UK versus Germany setting in what is essentially 1940 France. Tanks, planes, etc. from outside the historical setting (1940 Invasion of France) are thus fully playable. That is why I do not consider it a "true WW2 game" in the strict sense that it does not, at least, fit properly with the progression of the war. Of course, similar problems abound elsewhere too (StG44 as a common infantry weapon at Stalingrad, 1942, in Call of Duty, anyone?), but WWII Online just happens to take that problem to a level outside of what I personally would consider a "true WW2 game." Thus, although WWII Online uses WWII weaponry, I personally classify it under "alternate history, thus not WW2 as we know it."
I can see what you mean. But to clarify, it all makes sense - by the time items from 1941 are implemented, in game time (give or take) it would actually be 1941, and so on.