Operation Flashpoint Dev Doesn't Like Using Real Conflicts for Games

Logan Westbrook

Transform, Roll Out, Etc
Feb 21, 2008
Operation Flashpoint Dev Doesn't Like Using Real Conflicts for Games

Using ongoing, real world conflicts in videogames is in poor taste and unnecessarily controversial, says Operation Flashpoint's creative director.

Sion Lenton, the creative director for Operation Flashpoint: Red River, says that he has no problem playing safe when it comes to using real world conflicts for videogames by side-stepping the entire issue.

Lenton said that at no point had Codemasters considered using a real conflict as the setting for Red River, adding that it was deliberately avoiding that controversy by sticking with fiction. Moreover, his personal view was that to set a game in an ongoing conflict was in poor taste. He related the story of a nephew of one of the women in the office, who had been killed by an improvised explosive device. Hearing news like that, he said, made him feel very uncomfortable about the thought of setting a game in an ongoing conflict.

It's not hard to understand why developers might steer away from using actual, current wars; the chances of someone on the team having suffered a very real and very recent loss - as happened with Lenton's co-worker - are significantly higher, and that's a difficult subject to broach at the best of times, let alone when you're making a game about it.

All the same, the issue seems not to be that developers shouldn't be making games about war - dozens of war games come out every year and hardly anyone bats an eyelid - but that they should be so indelicate as to be specific about where that war is taking place and who it's against.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River comes out for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 next spring.

Source: Edge [http://www.next-gen.biz/news/codemasters-games-about-real-world-conflicts-are-%E2%80%9Cinappropriate%E2%80%9D]



New member
Jul 15, 2008
Kudos to them. It is a hard subject for most and well worth avoiding.

Want to watch real things? Go to Youtube for your war porn. And to work within a military sim for some fun try something like this.

Shame they make horrible games now though.

Baby Tea

Just Ask Frankie
Sep 18, 2008
I agree, actually.
I certainly think that gaming devs have every right to make games about any conflict, current or not.
But having the right to make it, and it being in poor taste are very different discussions.

Use real-world countries, groups, weapons, and even locations.
But to play off of an on-going conflict I think is very much in poor taste.

That being said, I'm very much looking forward to the new Operation Flashpoint.
Despite some mixed reactions in the gaming community, I loved 'Dragon Rising'.
Can't wait for this one.

Albino Boo

New member
Jun 14, 2010
At last a Dev that sounds like a grown up human being. Most of them make Mariah Carey look undemanding and pleasant. If more of the Devs thought like that the whole anti game legislation would disappear.

Mike Richards

New member
Nov 28, 2009
I can certainly understand his argument, but I don't for a second agree. Yes, it's something that needs to be approached with the utmost care and caution, but it should be OK to approach.

The most obvious counter-point is that movies get away with using current conflicts all the time, why should games be any different? Especially when it's perfect obvious what current conflict the developer would like to be using. Take Medal of Honor, a part of me finds it MORE disrespectful that they changed the team in multiplayer to Opposing Force. They took something with pretensions of being serious and realistic and when all was said and done all they had made was a poor cartoon that didn't have the decency to own up to itself. At least Modern Warfare had the sense to go completely bat-shit bonkers by the time it was all over, now we know for sure it was 'just' an action movie.

What about WWII games? That was a very real conflict, and yet know one bats an eye when another one of those comes out. Or Vietnam? I can think of two games that came out this year set there. Is that going to far? Just what is the statute of limitations on how dull our memory of something needs to get before setting works of fiction there is going too far?

I'd bet that no great work of art has ever been made that hasn't offended at least one person somewhere for whatever reason. There are too many people with too many different viewpoints for that not to have happened. Developers need to be respectful, they need to be tactful, and they need to pick their battles carefully. But more then that they need to be able to do anything and everything they feel they need to, and if we don't like that we shouldn't fire back at them. We should just take our ball and go home.


New member
Nov 17, 2009
It's all good and fine saying that, but they're making a game where American soldiers are fighting insurgents in "Tajikistan" (or, "not Afghanistan")

If anything, saying Tajikistan is pretty much Helmand (never mind moving the conflict in Afganistan there), and painting countries like China as plain warmongers* is a hell of a lot more distasteful than showing a modern or historical conflict.

*especially considering they're one of the few countries, along with their fellow "warmongers" in Russia which actually seem intent on calming down the situation along the Korean DMZ, rather than trying to provoke the North enough that they throw the first punch...


New member
Aug 15, 2008
This is nonsense. How is a game about a previous war somehow more tasteful than a current war? Plenty of people had relatives killed/mutilated in World War II or Vietnam. And besides, they're "steering clear" by changing the setting to Tajikistan? Really? That's, like, a real country right next door to Afghanistan.

It's as though they avoided controversy by having a war game about the N-Day invasion of the Brittany coast in 1943. Nothing to do with Normandy at all, nosiree!


New member
Feb 25, 2008
Fronzel said:
They're making a third Operation Flashpoint?

No, they're making a reskin of the console spinoff and selling it as a new game. ArmA and ArmAII are OPF 2 and 3.