If there's one game that needs a sequel, it's Operation Flashpoint.
"It was a game with a lot of potential," observes the game's senior designer and lead AI designer, Clive Lindop. "People fell in love with it even though it had lots of quirks and lots of things weren't quite right with it, but its promise, and the fact that it was unique kind of drew people in."
And draw people in it did. Released in the summer of 2001, the PC-only military shooter sold well over a million units and spawned two successful expansion packs, Red Hammer and Resistance. Such success proved that despite (or possibly because of) its brutally uncompromising approach to the genre, gamers were hungry for a title with scope, ambition and freedom. Admittedly, the visuals were rubbish even then, but what lingers in the memory are the moments of palm-sweating tension as you snuck through a wood or crawled through a field with enemies just feet away from you.
Seven years on, Codemasters is finally ready to take the wraps off the long-awaited follow-up. "There's a reason for that," Lindop says - but declines to clarify further. The well-documented souring of relations between original developer Bohemia Interactive and Codies certainly didn't help, and meant that the UK publisher was faced with either binning one of its most successful original IPs of the decade, or going it alone. So, in 2005 the company took the latter option and essentially built the game from the ground-up.