Available :Q3 2005
1. Well, to start things off, why don’t you introduce yourself to everyone?
Hi everyone! My name is Nikolay Demchenko, PR manager of the team. The backbone of the team was formed in August 2003 with more people coming in later on. “Officers” is our first commercial project. But it doesn’t mean we don’t have any experience in this area. Most of the guys were involved in development of such titles as Cossacks series, American Conquest, Brute Force, Freelancer, HoverAce, FireStarter. So we believe we do have the credentials for the project.
2. Why did you want to create a WWII game?
Not to mention its popularity among the gamers all over the world, we picked WWII theme as a setting for the game because of its epic battles, tactical opportunities, diversity in troops, weapons and vehicles, and its scale. All these things are part of the game idea. So, it is quite natural we decide to exploit this particular subject.
3. There are a lot of WWII games out currently. What will make your game stand out from the crowd?
Indeed, there is a great deal of RTS games in the market. But truth be said, most of them are pretty much identical, commonplace and lacking tactical challenge. I personally call them build-and-rush games. People may like them for their simplicity, dynamics, you name it, but they are definitely lacking what we are implementing in our game. Firstly, you don’t manipulate every soldier individually. Instead, you control whole platoons, squads, companies, etc. depending on your rank. The latter will grow depending on your performance on the battlefield. Then there is the nonlinear storyline. It allows the player to achieve objectives in different ways instead of having to follow a pre-designed path. The game also boasts the dynamic generation of objectives. To put it simple, losing a battle doesn’t end the game for you. This is when the saying “sometimes you have to loose a battle in order to win the war” kicks in.
5. Which historic battles will form the games levels, or are the levels more abstracted (or a mixture of both)?
It’s actually both. The game has a non-linear storyline that as you understand doesn’t fully provide for historically correct battles and events. The game sticks to the history only in its beginning. It means you start playing for the faction of your choice at a historically correct time and place. The countries will initially have realistic ratio, troops, objectives and weapons. The rest will be determined by player’s actions and AI.
Speaking of the levels we make them authentic and identifiable by giving them realistic architecture and unique landscapes.
6. How many unit types will be available for each faction - what sort of breakdown of units will there be (land/sea/air and further tanks/transport/troops)?
From an entertainment standpoint, it is important the game have as many different units as possible. Keeping this in mind, we take a different approach. We split all available units into six classes – rifleman, tank crew, medic, sapper, gunner and scout. Each of them can be armed with any of around 30 types of hand-held weapons and dressed into a different uniform. So, generally speaking there will be between 100-120 visually and effectively different infantry units. On top of that, we are implementing about 300 types of vehicles and 60 types of airships.
7. Will terrain and the environment play a large part?
Yes, terrain and environment will be very important for the gameplay. For example, taking higher ground will give you certain advantages over the enemy. Buildings and trees will provide cover for the troops. Additionally, terra-morphing feature allows making use of craters, trenches and parapets that also serve for protection purposes.
8. What structure does the single player campaign have and how does it differ for each of the 3 factions?
As I said previously, each of three campaigns will start at the moment when the country engaged in the war. As an ultimate objective you’ll have to reach the enemy’s capital with your path going through such territories as Poland, Italy, Hungary, France, Finland, Belgium, Holland, Romania, Denmark, and some others. So, the player will fight through the battlefields of virtually the whole of Europe.
Territory of every in-game country is represented with several large locations that have their own strategic points such as cities, factories, warehouses, railroad hubs, etc. These strategic points will become high-priority targets for AI and it will be trying to capture or retake them if circumstances permit. Your HQ is managed by AI and will set the directions of your movement on the strategic map depending on a situation on the front in general and situations with strategic points in particular.
As to distinctions between campaigns, the player will find different tactical opportunities and challenges. Weak and strong points of every faction will ensure a unique gameplay experience and fun no matter which side the player picks. Different missions and objectives for each faction simply go without saying.
9. How and where do the RPG elements come into play?
Every unit in the game will have a number of upgradeable parameters such as accuracy of fire, morale, skill at handling captured weapons and equipment, medic skills and some others. These parameters will develop along with experience the units obtain during the battles. This way the player will find it advantageous to care about his troops instead of using them as a cannon fodder.
10. Is there a traditional resource gathering element to Officers or have you substituted this for something different?
The game has no economic part as it mainly focuses on combat aspects. Hence, instead of taking care of building up a base and developing economy you have to supervise logistics, maintenance, coordination of different military arms, keep an eye on ammo (limited) and morale of your troops, etc. To make it short, the player won’t even have time to think about capturing deposits and procuring resources as well as expanding and fortifying his encampment.
11. How will you go about balancing the 3 different factions in the game – in terms of historical accuracy vs. making the game fun to play?
“Officers” is not the first game that exploits historic events and focus on realism. As a result we don’t have to reinvent the wheel and can keep to the track beaten with other titles. What we can do in terms of the realism and historical accuracy is to present a relevant storyline based on real-life events, realistic models for vehicles, weapons and troops, correct uniforms and unique architecture for every country, excellent graphics and visual effects, and make sure AI reacts adequately. The rest would be about creating “relative realism”, that is balancing the game in the way that it is fun to play and at the same time provokes as little it-is-so-unreal feeling as possible.
12. Will the game ship with any mod support?
We are fully aware of the importance to support mod communities. However, the current development status requires other things to be resolved first, and unless we are done with them we can’t make any decisions about the mod support.
13. How is the multiplayer game taking shape, what plans do you have for multiplayer games?
At this point I can only say the multiplayer support definitely will be there. This part of the game is in early development stage and we’d like to abstain from any untimely statements.
14. Any word yet when we can look forward to getting our hands on the game?
All demo and release questions will be handled on the publisher side. What I can say now is that we are planning to finish the game by the end of Q3 2005.
Do you have any final comments you wish to share with us?
We’ll release additional information shortly.