World War 3, the 'more hardcore Battlefield,' comes back from the dead

We said in late 2018 that World War 3, a multiplayer modern military shooter being developed by The Farm 51, is "a more hardcore Battlefield." It wasn't a flawless experience, but it was also just a few weeks into Early Access at the time, and in the opinion of our in-house shooter expert Morgan it delivered a promising pre-release experience.

Development proceeded apace for a while, with new content and free weekends to attract new players and keep them around, until June 2020, when the studio announced a new partnership with Warface publisher My.Games, and halted sales of the game on Steam ahead of a planned revamp and relaunch. At that point, it pretty much fell off the radar, and The Farm 51's attention seemed to shift focus to the upcoming Stalker-like Chernobylite.

But it turns out that work has in fact been continuing on World War 3, and today the studio dropped a new video—the first in more than a year—showcasing all that's changed. Maps have been updated to make them more navigable and "interesting," some movement and weapon animations have changed, and scopes have been given a "big revamp to meet modern military standards."

The movement system has also been overhauled to enable players to "double sprint," climb, vault over obstacles, slide, and go prone, and there's a range of new weapon and character customization options, interface improvements to help with navigation, enemy spotting, and—of course—a kill cam.

Taken altogether, the update gives the impression that The Farm 51 might be moving away from the "hardcore" approach to the game, but the studio said it remains committed to achieving a balance between realism and accessibility.

"One of our goals with World War 3 is to offer realistic simulations with an altogether enjoyable experience," it says in the video. "We call this 'playable realism': Gameplay features that enhance believability and immersion, without hindering the fun."

The announcement comes on the same day as a big infodump about the next actual Battlefield game, which is oddly coincidental (and probably unfortunate) timing. Still, it's good to see that the World War Three wheels are still turning, and with any luck at all we'll be able to convince Morgan to jump back in and see how it's coming along. Unfortunately, there's no indication just yet as to when he'll be able to do so: A date for the resumption of World War 3 sales on Steam hasn't been set. The Farm 51 said more information about the game's progress will be shared over the next few months.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.