Eurogamer: What shape was Battlefield 3 in when you first saw it?
Andy McNab: These guys know what they're doing, they've been doing it for years in different games. But what they want to do is get it right. The meat was already there. And the beauty of it is, unlike film - where you have a point where the creativity has got to stop because you've got to film - you can still be creative and change and adapt, and everybody wants to as well. So the process was good.
Eurogamer: Did you do any motion-capture?
Andy McNab: No, I didn't get the kit on. When you got the actors there and the stunt guys there you do the walk-through talk-through with them. On part of the promotion packs there's some film of me on the motion capture, on the floor in the studio doing bits and pieces with the actors.
I'd look ridiculous with one of those suits on anyway.
Eurogamer: Has working on Battlefield 3 brought back memories?
Andy McNab: When they're in Iran and in the game it looks and feels very much like the Gulf [War]. You know, about a million-and-a-half people got killed in that war. And actually a lot of the urban stuff in Tehran takes me back to infantry days, running around the streets of Northern Ireland. The tactics, the way that you operate in an urban environment, is obviously different to a rural environment. That was quite good, because I was trying to give practical examples of why guys on the ground would do a certain thing, so the guys had some kind of context for it.
Eurogamer: In real-life, war isn't pretty, but a game can't go that far. How much more gruesome could Battlefield 3 be?
Andy McNab: I don't think it's about that. What we're trying to do is to entertain - it's a vehicle of entertainment. We're not trying to say, with any ideology, that this is what war is really like. What we're trying to do is give people entertainment that actually feels right, because when you're playing a game or watching a film, it's really easy for your unconscious mind to go "that's wrong; I don't know what it is, but it's wrong". All the effort is really about making this feel right. But it's entertainment. It's not a documentary.
Eurogamer: Games today resemble real-life - are video game makers behaving responsibly enough with what they portray?
Andy McNab: I think they are responsible. If you look at it as part of what people are exposed to: there's a nine year-old today, and when he comes back from whatever he's doing he can turn the telly on and he can watch rape and murder at half-past six at night. Or he can turn on 24-hour TV and watch famine in Somalia and kids literally dying in front of his eyes. People are more exposed now to trauma of all types than they've ever been before.
Eurogamer: Do you play Call of Duty?
Andy McNab: Yeah, yeah I play them all. And I lose at them, from Wii Bowling upwards. I've got a couple of godsons and they range between nine and just turned 14, and I'm really bad - I get annihilated by them all the time.
"Whether it's books or the media in general, there's always offers that come in. But nine out of ten times, quite frankly, they're sh*t."
Eurogamer: Is this a one-off or will you work with Battlefield again on four, five, six?
Andy McNab: Well I hope so yeah! All depends how this game goes, ha ha. So far so good. I like the process very much, because you've got that flexibility and everybody's involved in that process. It's good fun and I enjoy it.
Eurogamer: Is this your first game project?
Andy McNab: No. Like all these things, whether it's books or the media in general, there's always offers that come in. But nine out of ten times, quite frankly, they're sh*t. Once something comes up and it's something I would like to do [I ask] has it got its own credibility - could it stand alone anyway? It doesn't become enjoyable if you're just called on board because they think you're going to elevate it. Well this [Battlefield 3] has got its own elevation anyway, so you're joining something that is already a winner, which is a great thing to do.
Eurogamer: How much are EA paying you?
Andy McNab: Well my answer to that is: not enough! Ha ha. Unfortunately there's no one here from the EA office listening! No, it's all good, and you get loads of time spent in Stockholm. It's fantastic.