Naval War: Arctic Circle
is set for release next week, Paradox have revealed. The real-time naval strategy game has been on our long-range radar for a while, but we weren't expecting it to sneak up on us so quickly - which, I suppose, is the point.
It's set in a hypothetical near-future cold war, where dwindling resources force the NATO countries and Russia into conflict in the far north. You control fleets of ships, subs and aircraft across vast swathes of ocean, and clever use of radar and reconnaissance craft will be key to getting the drop on your opponent. "Naval War: Arctic Circle is a modern wargame that reflects the reality of naval combat in the near future" says the press release accompanying the announcement, "where you could be easily eliminated by a 10,000 tonne ship you never even see." I live in perpetual fear of being crushed by a 10,000 tonne ship I never even see, so this sounds like the game for me.
There'll be two campaigns - one for NATO, the other for Russia - as well as standalone single-player scenarios and multiplayer. Graham saw the game earlier in the year, and said that it reminded him a little of Atomic Games' Close Combat series, with a touch of Defcon to the setting and tactical map. That means relatively straightforward control of units with an emphasis on positioning and numbers. Turbo Tape Games claim to be taking a realistic approach to unit balancing, taking a vessel's real-life capabilities into account alongside the needs of the game. A single unchecked plane or sub can apparently cause trouble for an unprepared fleet, no matter how large it might be.
We'll let you know what we think of Naval War: Arctic Circle in due course.