Interviews// EGX: Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault

Posted 13 Oct 2014 13:22 by
SPOnG: As you said earlier, the decisions a player makes have an impact on the campaign. Can you give us a sense of the size this single-player campaign is?

QD: It's spread over 18 missions and it's bigger than the Company of Heroes 2 campaign for the Eastern Front, plus there is that element of replayability where companies can be different. You can play them, any company in any mission and you can upgrade them differently every time. So there's a real opportunity to go back and explore the bits of the campaign again that you might want to try differently.

SPOnG: Something you at Relic have always done with your games is to create these single player expansions. You build off of a foundation and you're really confident about what you have made, so you bolt more things on to it, Dawn of War being a good example of that. Is this to continue with Company of Heroes 2?

QD: We've changed up the pattern just a little bit this time - we're trying to have a more regular frequency of updates. The base game has had 23 updates in the last year or so and we're really pushing for a lot of extra features and content into the base game. Observer mode is coming, mod tools are being tested and are in alpha so there is a lot of stuff that we feel will give the game continuing legs.

SPOnG: So you're creating mod tools for Company of Heroes 2?

QD: Oh yes. It shows that we are committed to the game and we've talked about this being a long term platform and we want to work on it for many years, get our player-base involved in building content. Giving them the opportunity to curate content that we can put up on Steam so that they can share it with the broader community. Those are key parts of our plans looking foward.

SPOnG: Company of Heroes 2 does away with a lot of the fuss with RTS games as it does away with resource gathering and just gets to the point.

QD: That's one of the things that modding for instance allows us to do. What we want to do is see what the community builds, what they find really compelling and help them succeed at delivering a different experience. We will always have the core Relic experience and then the ability to do whatever you want to try.

So we actually have attribute modding tools to tune units plus we have victory condition modding. So you can set up different victory conditions; the other day we were observing a custom game of a mod that somebody had put together. Seeing these things just go together is really exciting. It's exciting for us from a growth potential but also to get the community engaged.

SPOnG: It may turn into Skyrim, which has this sub-game in which people spend two to three weeks trying to find the optimum version of Skyrim made by the community. It looks and plays nothing like what Bethesda originally constructed.

QD: To be honest that's OK; as long as those who want to play the core Relic game can, that piece remains sacrosanct and separate. Everything else adds to it.

SPOnG: The concept of the player's actions and decisions impacting on the campaign is similar to Dawn of War II. Do ideas from other parts of Relic bleed over into separate projects?

QD: Yes, to a degree. We've always had strong teams at Relic. Sometimes we're working on different floors and that changes the communication dynamic. We've also inherited from various engine developments over time and a certain amount of communication and design comes with those engine choices.

Dawn of War II used the Essence Engine and built upon some of the things the Company of Heroes engine had to work with. So there's definitely communication there; I think it's whatever makes sense for the title that you're working on. We don't force sharing of any kind, we're not forced to share ideas but we definitely use each other as sounding boards.

SPOnG: Thank you very much for your time!
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