Long read: Who is qualified to make a world?

In search of the magic of maps.

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OpFlash for Xbox dated

It's out in November.

Codemasters has announced that Operation Flashpoint: Elite, the Xbox version of the hit PC title, is due to arrive in the shops this November.

The game is set in 1985 at the height of the Cold War, when underground Soviet groups are attempting to rise up against Gorbachev and his new regime [or, wait, was it that the PC version came out in 1985? Maybe both - Ed]. One nasty group has established an armed island stronghold and is joining up with the US to take on Moscow - which is where you come in.

The game puts you in charge of more than 40 land, sea and air vehicles - both military and civilian - including the UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter, A-10 Thunderbolt Jet, M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank and SCUD Launcher.

You can also control individual soldiers and squads, drive tanks and troop carriers, pilot military helicopters and even take a few pot shots as a sniper.

It all takes place over four different battle zones, each more than 100 square km in size. You can go anywhere at any time (thanks to new 24-hour drinking laws), and "anything can happen."

There are more than 50 multiplayer missions to play through on Xbox Live, and there's a mission editor so you can build your own map using any of the troops, weapons and mobile units in the game.

We're also promised loads of bonus content, including a special 15-mission campaign titled Resistance which is a prequel to the main story.

OpFlash: Elite is being developed by Bohemia Interactive Studio, with technology "which is also used in real-world training by various military organisations around the world including the US Army and US Marines," don't you know.

"This is not another run-and-gun shooter," said Marek Spanel - studio director of developer Bohemia Interactive.

"You'll need brain power as much as quick reflexes; act before you die, think before you act, and find cover before you think."

And they've cut no corners for the console version, according to Marek: "We have adapted and improved the game for Xbox while keeping the sheer scope and complexity of the gameplay.

"The visuals have been recreated specifically for the format with map sizes and draw distances ultimately more impressive than anything seen on a console."

And all that for just £19.99. Bargain.