Available: Q1/Q2 2004
Developer: Stormregion
Publisher: CDV

Interview by: Lennart Kaiser / justgamers.de
Reprinted with permission from justgamers.de
Original German Language Article

Big thanks go to Lennart Kaiser and Dominik Marosi from justgamers.de that made the translation and reprinting of this article happen, and Achim Heidelauf - the game's producer down at CDV for providing two exclusive screenshots of the game. The previous interview with the game's designers from Stormregion is still available, as well as the recently released trailer.

Codename: Panzers by CDV takes a different approach to WWII-based games: While other games by CDV like Blitzkrieg, Sudden Strike or Combat Mission focus on precise, often slow manoeuvres, with Codename: Panzers the Hungarian developers are delivering more action into the often used WWII-scenario. Hollywood-esque explosions, detailed models and landscapes combined with a twisted plot, interesting features and a huge bunch of tactical possibilities make Panzers one of the most promising runner-ups for the strategy throne in 2004. We sticked our heads together with Achim Heidelauf, Senior Producer at CDV, responsible for Panzers among other games.

Hi Achim, would you first please tell our readers some details on yourself: Who are you, what are your responsibilities at CDV and which projects did you watch over in the last years?

I work as a Senior Producer at CDV Entertainment for two years now. My projects at CDV till today included No Man’s Land, Combat Mission II, the Santa Clause and Rosso Rabbit in Trouble series, the Kore Gang (X-Box) and now Codename: Panzers.

Before my time at CDV i was a Producer and later on Development Director at TopWare Interactive among other companies. During the last 8 years i produced and co-developed more than a dozen games.
More on me and my ongoing projects is available at www.producedby.de.

The official trailer, published some months ago, showed lots of action at the same time. The alpha version, playable at the Games Convention played much alike and few tactics already were in the game. Is there more to be expected in the final version or is Panzers focusing on action all along the way?

Graphics and speed may seem to make Panzers very action-orientated, but clearly it’s a strategy title. At any time, you can pause the game, giving orders to your units still being possible. Winning the game with quantities will not be possible- you always have to look out for choosing the right unit against the enemy.
Panzers is going to be released spring/summer 2004. so the version showed at Games Convention and the first trailer are both seriously outdated at this moment. The real game couldn’t be shown at that time, with everything being under construction. But a new trailer as well as a playable demo are up on the horizon...

Infantry, judging by the first pictures and the trailers seems to play quite an unimportant role amongst the Panzers, with the title of the game indicating this. Which function will infantry have later on in the game, making them an absolute necessity for the player to win?

Even with the title indicating to the tanks, Panzers lets you win or loose depending on your infantry. Only soldiers gain experience, making the handling of the vehicles a decisive ability.
Additionally, Panzers lets you invade buildings, build bunkers, drop commandos and so on...

Airfields were among the most often chosen targets in WWII, some screenshots were already showing these important positions in detail. Will they be handled as normal buildings or, like in Sudden Strike 2, will they be more important making it possible for the player to reload his planes and send them back into air battles again?

Re-equipping ones planes will not be possible, but airfields are to have an important role in Panzers. Some missions have them as setting for goals like „destroy all planes before they get into the air“.

What can we expect regarding battles in city perimeters? Many objects were destroyable as early as in the alpha demo or got under the chains of the tanks (like street lamps). Can we go for whole cities or will it be only single objects?

In brief: Take the city! :)

The Co-op mode from Codename: Panzers was heavily featured in the trailer, will it make its way into the final version? Which other modes are to be expected and what are the plans concerning multiplayer mode (supplies etc.)?

Panzers will deliver everything the multiplayer soul wants: At least four different modes will be available as well as Internet ladders (including such for successfully completed solo campaigns).
Modes include besides Co-Op are Capture the flag, Deathmatch, Hold the line and Kill the leader.
Supplies and ammo work just as in the solo part. Repairs and the like are done by dedicated vehicles and technicians in an automated manner if you want to. Our goal was not to divide the players attention from the regular action.
There is gonna be a big surprise concerning the multiplayer part which i will announce next year. The feature really rocks and my palms are sweating as i think of the upcoming test-battles- be prepared!

Motion Capturing is a big thing among FPS, but strategy titles almost never use it. Why did Stormregion think of it as an important means to enhance movement credibility? Why didn’t this show in the alpha demo (infantry just fell over synchronously when hit) ?

The alpha demo was never meant to be released due to this. This version you’re speaking of is almost two years old! Galaxies lie between movement of these soldiers and the actual ones today. Motion Capturing was done after the demo and is almost completely implemented- so look out for the demo, the trailer or the game...
A splendid, long story is told by Panzers, and due to this, heroes and main actors have to be believable for the player, graspable. MC being a good technique for delivering lots of variation and “authenticity” in the characters movement (as well in-game as in cutscenes), it was a must have for us. Far more than 3000 moves were recorded!
By the way, don’t think of the Matrix game here... many ads focused on MC for matrix, but i’m talking about really good lookin’ movements. ;)

Which missions will be in the campaigns? Big battles like Stalingrad or Kursk or just skirmishes with exploration units? Will the campaigns be linear or dynamic?

Campaigns will be linear. On the German side, 12 missions between 1939 and 1942 are included. Followed by the Russian campaign with 8 missions between 1941 and 1945. At last, the allies with 10, 1944-1945.

How will mod-support be handled by CDV and Stormregion? Is it gonna be decided shortly before the release, or are there existing plans on how to support the community?

It’s being planned at the moment. Fans and Modsupport are really important to me. Those of you who played Earth 2150 & other games I've produced will be able to recall what we set up for these. I want it to be just like that with Panzers, too... concerning tools as well.
Unfortunately, I can’t go into details right now, too early for it.

After Blitzkrieg or Sudden Strike, no one is surprised about not being able to build bases in Codename: Panzers. Even though, the previous titles included limited assembly options, like tank obstacles and the like. Which possibilities will there be in Panzers?

Not the smallest bit is gonna be constructed in Panzers. Believe me, you won’t miss it- it just doesn’t fit into this game, this is a design decision and nothing else. It flows, it’s fast and really exciting- “economy” and “base-building” aren’t included and won’t be.

Thanks a lot for the detailled answers and the two new screenshots. Me being a huge Panzers fan i’m glad to hear the answers to my questions and don’t regret having waited for them!

Thanks for the interview! The questions were really interesting. Thank you,

Achim Heidelauf