Look, video games are awesome and military video games are doubly so. But video game companies are not even trying to capture real deployed life. As they continue bragging about their realistic sound effects and HD graphics, here are 9 features that would actually help gamers get a real combat experience.
1. Make players rehearse a mission four times and then send them on a different one.
The player is briefed on a mission to capture or kill a high-value target. They have to watch a rehearsal on a sand table, then practice in an open field, and finally they assault some fake buildings with their squad to be sure everyone is on the same page.
They climb onto the birds but halfway to the target are diverted to capture an undefended dam before terrorists can blow it up. The player's squad defends it for three days against nothing before returning to base. A friendly engineer squad then blows up the dam.
2. All calls for fire take at least 10 minutes and miss the first three times.
Artillery units rarely hit their target on the first try in the real world and even airstrikes have trouble getting it right a lot of times. Yet video games which allow a player to call in an airstrike always show rounds cascading down on the exact spot the player asks for.
Instead, the player should have to adjust fire over three or four iterations before actually killing anything. They should also have to wait at least 10 minutes from the first call until the fire mission is fired and rounds begin falling on the target.
3. Random mistakes by other members of your team.
Every once in a while, a squad mate should get their gear stuck on a door handle, trip on their own rucksack strap, or slip on a wet spot in the ground and fall. The player has to decide whether to help their buddy or continue firing at the enemy while attempting to stifle their laughter.
4. Include a 40-lb haptic bodysuit that punches you when you're shot.
When the player is going into battle, they're usually wearing a hoodie, some boxers, and a fine layer of chip crumbs. But soldiers wear 40 pounds of armor plus whatever other gear they're carrying at that moment. So, players should be given a vest that weighs as much as the armor.
As an added bonus, motors and weights could be used to punch the player where their character was just shot. And they could carry an 8-pound controller.
5. Your inventory always includes at least 3 items you'll never use.
The player should have a limited inventory space, some of which is taken up with "just-in-case" items that never get used. It could be gas masks, backup batteries, whatever. If the player tries to throw them away, the items show up on later patrols as booby traps.
6. Weapon misfires
Anytime the player crawls through mud or sand, it should increase the chance that their weapon misfires. Every 100 rounds without a cleaning should increase the chance of a misfire as well.
7. Can only level up after passing a PT test and reciting random facts from memory
After the player completes a few missions while exhausted from the countless rehearsals in the heavy bodysuit, overcomes misfires at critical moments, and has proven their ability to carry around useless equipment, they should be given the opportunity to level up.
To get selected for the higher level, they just have to score in at least the 80th percentile on a physical training test and recite the muzzle velocities of at least three weapons. Otherwise, the player is sent back to the tent to study. It doesn't matter what their kill-to-death ratio is. Side note: KTD ratios are not a thing either.