Imagine waking one morning to discover that two of your staff had been detained in a foreign country over allegations of espionage. What would you do? You're not the head of MI6. You don't employ spies. You employ developers who make video games. You discover the news in your online forum but soon it's spread like wildfire, to local radio and TV, and people are knocking at your door for comment. What do you say? What do you tell the families of the arrested men?
Back at the start of January, we wrote of our hope that 2012 would bring us more Actual New Games. As much as we like stuff like Diablo 3 (when we can play it), we also want games that "invent new styles and genres", as I said at the time.
Two possibilities: Either you're excited about DayZ, or you haven't heard of it.
For those of us that like our games khaki and complex, 2009 has to go down as a bit of an Annus Mirablis. We trundled about the Ukrainian countryside in splendid steel coffins courtesy of the best WW2 tank sim since Panzer Elite. We hovered with intent behind Georgian tower blocks in the most detailed fake helo ever fashioned. We foxed Fokkers and forswore parachutes in a great Great War aviation recreation. I could have GOTY-ed any of these gems, but instead ArmA II, the clear victor in this year's battle of the soldier sims, gets the nod.
Moo! I am a cow, wandering peacefully through a warzone. Splat! I am now a tank, running over that cow. Boom! I am now an armed insurgent with a rocket launcher, claiming revenge for my bovine brethren. This is Armed Assault II: military simulator as pure, instant fantasy. While an elaborate campaign and intrinsic co-op play are what will sell the game, it's the amazingly easy to use editor that will keep people playing. You can create a war in minutes, then immediately jump into it as a soldier, civilian or dumb animal of your choice. The editor is truly remarkable, and astoundingly accessible.
In the moments when they're not busy fabricating the follow-up to the world's most realistic soldier sim the staff of Bohemia Interactive Studio like nothing better than stroking kittens. It's true, I've seen it with my own eyes. Bohemia's surprisingly rural base of operations is home to a couple of cute black felines called Lock and Load (okay, I didn't actually get round to finding out their names, but it's probably something along those lines). On the day of my visit, these two moggies are stroked at least three times an hour.