1. In terms of game play, we hear that Officers will take the genre in a few new directions - can you expand on this for us ?
Officers is a WWII real-time strategy game with RPG elements where the player acts as a military commander of entrusted troops. There will be three factions – USSR, Germany, Allies – you can play for, each of them having a realistic army structure and hierarchy. The player will control subdivisions built in line with the military structure instead of manipulating separate units. It’s not like when you bind say 30 identical riflemen to a specific key and move them around the map (most RTS games have this system). Instead, you will have to control a military subdivision armed with several types of weapons.
Starting as a low-rank commander you will be gradually promoted up to the divisional commander provided you proved worth it. Promotion means you will have more troops under your command and your objectives will grow more demanding and challenging. On the other hand, bigger responsibility will bring additional tactical opportunities, freedom of actions and fun. Skillfully deploying entrusted subdivisions, wittily organizing their cooperation, taking advantage of the area peculiarities and so on increases your chances of success.
Additionally, the game has a non-linear storyline that allows you to achieve objectives in different ways.
2. In your opinion, what are some of the more interesting units to be found in the game ?
All units are split into six classes. These are rifleman, tank crew, medic, sapper, gunner and scout. Each of them is armed with any of around 30 types of hand-held weapons. Depending on the season, the uniform will change correspondingly. So, generally speaking there will be between 100-120 visually and effectively different infantry units. However, it’s not about importance or uniqueness of an individual unit. It is how you make them all cooperate that matters. Every unit has its experience, skills and abilities. On the abstract level a military subdivision is basically the very unit with its skills, abilities and experience, but visually the player sees and operates several men instead of just one. Apart from this, there will be special units in the game with unique abilities, the so-called heroes. They will also be of interest from the gameplay standpoint.
An assault on a village
3. Atmosphere can add so much to create an immersive experience; what ambience will you be promoting in the game and how do you hope to achieve this ?
I can’t but agree the atmosphere is very important in modern games. It is built by many elements and can be achieved in different ways depending on the genre, story, etc. Music is among them. It is vital to pick the right style and pace, make it add to the game experience rather then just sound in the background for no reason.
Level design, weather and seasonal effects, day and night cycles, voice acknowledgements and reports, etc are also among those factors that influence the ambiance. So, we are trying to pick what’s really needed, balance them properly in order to provide an unforgettable gaming experience and feeling.
4. How many campaigns/missions will there be, and how varied will they be? Will the campaigns be linear or dynamic? Can you give us an example of specific missions in the game? Which historical battles do you plan to include in Officer ?
There will be three campaigns, one for each playable faction. We are still working on the campaign/mission design so I can’t tell you now how many missions there will be for each campaign. The campaign for each faction will start at a historically correct time with observation of historical force ration, location of the troops and armament. In other words, the beginning of the war will be pretty much realistic. And then the player kicks into play and starts changing the course of events by taking actions the way he or she sees fit. It means there will be no historical battles as such, although in-game events may take place in areas where these historical battles occurred.
As I said above, the game will feature a non-linear storyline that brings along great re-playability and freedom of strategic and tactical maneuver. Another interesting feature is a dynamic generation of current objectives on the tactical map. Failing a specific mission will take you to another task instead of ending the game for you. They say, sometimes you have to loose a battle in order to win the war.
5. What can you tell us specifically about multiplayer ? Game modes, amount of players, etc ?
The multiplayer part is in early development stage and I don’t want to make any untimely statements.
6. Will there be any beta tests or open demos of the game released before the game reaches the stores ?
Beta test is an integral part of the game development process. However, I can’t say now whether there will be any public testing. As to the public demo, this issue will be handled by the publisher.
7. Will you be hoping to create and support a gaming community around the new title? if so, how ?
As of yet, we are considering mod support. In our opinion, this is the best way to support the gaming community thus far.
8. What are the minimum requirements needed in order to run this game properly ? And what are the requirements which have to be available, to make this experience unforgettable ?
We haven’t finish optimizing the game engine yet so I can’t give you any specific information on that. Anyway, we are making a mass market game and have to keep this direction in mind. Most players can’t afford hi-end systems, so we are trying to optimize the game to run smoothly on the current medium-level configurations.
9. What is the current status of the game's progress and when will it be released ?
The game is currently in alpha stage. However, we are still heading for Q3 2005. The final release date will be set by the publisher though.
10. Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Officers at this point ?
This is all I can say now. More information is coming soon.