In an interview with The Guardian, Andy McNab talks about advising EA on how to make Battlefield 3 the most realistic shooter on the market today:
You haven’t been heavily involved with a video game before. What drew you to Battlefield 3?
Andy McNab: The story. It’s as simple as that. Normally, when you’re approached by a games company, they just want you to jump on at the end as a marketing tool, or do a bit of motion capture. But when the call came from EA Dice, I went out to Stockholm and the guys there just seemed to get it – they wanted to progress the story-side. You’ve got to have a lot more than just shooting in games now, you’ve got to have that sense of engagement.
The first things EA Dice showed me were the scripts – and they had a sense of character, of emotion, of connection. That was what did it for me. And my first job was helping with the writing, coming up with plausible bridges between missions, doing some of the dialogue. Military speak is very progressive and positive. No one says, “Well, we’ll try to get to X by 9am”, it’s all about you will do this, I will do that, this will happen. The point of that is, if you start with a moment of doubt, when things get worse, doubt becomes failure. It’s got to be positive from the start. And it’s all about brevity – military language is not as formal as we think it is.
And I spent time with the designers and artists, looking at the aesthetics – the right use of weapons, different ranges of fire, operations in urban and desert environments. I worked with the stuntmen and actors in the motion capture studios, showing them how to hold their guns. The team just wanted everything to look right.