Available: Q2 2004
Developer: 1C
Publisher: Codemasters

Interview by: Lennart Kaiser justgamers.de
Reprinted with permission from justgamers.de

World War 2 - endless story? Not really, because famous and not so famous Developers always find new ideas for exciting new games. The same creativity is shown by the Russian developer 1C, developer of IL-2. But will it not be boring to play WW II games over and over? Probably not, because there are always interesting games, that change the genre positively - same with Wartime Command. Because of fantastic graphics, a high level of realism and interesting new gameplay elements, the game already is on the wishlist of lots of gamers.

Reason enough for us to contact Codemasters and ask them about the newest changes in the game

Before I start with the questions, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to answer the following questions. I also want to thank you for the outstanding work with the community, especially regarding the development updates every two weeks and the monthly answering of questions from the board.

First I'd like you to introduce yourself and to explain what your function in the team or at Codemasters exactly is.

OK. My name is Callum Godfrey and I'm the Assistant Development Manager assigned to Wartime Command at Codemasters. My job involves arranging schedules and budgets for the project, sorting out delivery of code and making sure the game is heading in the right direction at all times. Basically it is my responsibility to know everything that's happening on the project on a day-to-day basis and respond to any issues that may arise.

And now the questions concerning wartime command:

The Russian developers 1C have already proved their abilities in modeling historical scenarios into realistic simulations with IL2 : Sturmovik. Regarding the recent name change of Battlefield Command into Wartime Command: What puts Wartime Command ahead of other games? This was also given as a reason for the name change. Which advantages does wartime command have that other games don't?

Wartime Command takes the attention to detail shown in IL2 and expands on that. As you spend a lot of time moving from unit to unit, and commanding many different type of troops we have had to research and recreate massively detailed models for every unit in the game, even down to the small arms and grenades. The same attention to detail has been given to the gameplay, where the player really has to think like a Commander and make the best use of the resources available to them.

Screenshots from the development updates are already showing an immensely detailed landscape. My question aims at the woods, from which we haven't seen that much yet. Some very famous battles like the 'Allerseelenschlacht' in the Hürtgenwald and a lot lesser-known battles took place in the woods. How will you handle this in wartime command? And if it's going to be realized, in which way will the controls be affected?

It seems that bird's eye as well as third-person-perspective are unsuited for this environment.

One of the best features of Wartime Command is that the environment is all fully 3D. With this in mind one of the features of the game is the ability to attach a camera to a unit, and then zoom right in to that units eye level. If you were to send a unit in to the woods you could use this feature to get a soldiers eye view of the battlefield and then use the other controls as normal.

In one of the last development updates an impressive street battle with a stationery MG 34 was shown, but city battles consist of more than just fighting in the streets. Will it be possible to send infantry units into houses like in many other titles, just for the sake of seeing muzzle flashes for example? Or will it be possible in Wartime Command to give explicit orders for indoor behaviour?

We have given this a lot of thought at the design stage and came up with a flexible system to handle this. When you order units to get in to buildings the AI will automatically choose a default location for them based on their equipment and stats, so for example a sniper will get higher up for a better field of view. If the player wants to, they can click on the house and scroll through all the units in there and specify places for the unit to go.

Artillery in WWII was quite an important weapon giving protective fire for your allies, clearing the way in front. A large variety of different ammunition types had been available, each with its own special purpose like anti-tank, anti-infantry, forest-battles and so on. In Wartime Command, will there be different types of ammunition available or will they be left out for gameplay-relevant causes?

We have tried to give the player as much choice as possible without bombarding them with so many options that they don't know where to start. The player will have access to many different ammo types depending on the guns they fire, such as Explosive rounds, Armour Piercing or Anti-Infantry.

Will there be day/night cycles and if yes, how will they affect the game? For example, will the moral be affected if the player has to defend himself from a surprise-attack in the small hours getting huge losses? Or artillery-fire during night time?

We do have real time day and night cycles, so if you were to wait around long enough day would turn in to night. Most battles however will not take that long as they are based on real world events. Obviously things like vision will be altered by the weather and light available, which is where extra equipment such as lights will come in to play.

Long-time playability of many games these days is secured by a good multiplayer-mode, what do we have to expect from wartime command regarding this? Will there be 'special' modes or just the 'classics' like king-of-the-hill, death match or objective with one team attacking and the other defending?

We have the following game modes for multiplayer: Death match, Team Death match, Capture the Flag and King of the Hill.

What do we have to expect from the campaign mode? Will we be spending a lot of time as sidekicks of the great generals of WWII or will we be the ones in charge at battlefields like Stalingrad, Kursk or the Normandy?

The idea behind the campaign is that you take part in some of the greatest battles of WWII. You are basically in charge of a smaller section of the battle as a whole.

"If tanks succeed, victory follows"; a well-known quote of an even better known Commander in WWII. Will the balancing in Wartime Command follow this quote and give a lot of weight to the armoured military vehicles, i.e. the tanks or will the interaction of man and machine play an elemental role in fulfilling the mission objectives?

A tank is only as good as its crew, and in Wartime this is more poignant than in many other RTS titles. Every soldier has his or her own stats, so picking the right crew for the job can be the difference between victory or defeat. And infantry will play just as big a part as the tanks in the strategy of the game.

Will there be missions set in more "exotic" playfields like on research areas or airports?

All the missions are based on real world battles and locations.

Last question: What else would you personally have liked to see in the game? Quite often some very interesting but time-intensive features have to be left out of a (still) good game due to deadlines or because of gameplay-relevant reasons.

Personally I would have liked to see samurai warriors and ninja's cutting each other up, but that's just my personal fetish! :o)

Thanks a lot for answering all my questions. I hope these questions don't cause a lot of other questions from the fans of wartime command meaning more work for you. :-)

Lennart Kaiser / justgamers.de