Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies is out, and, as explained in our review, provides welcome rejuvenation to Relic's strategy sequel. In this new trailer, the game's executive producer Greg Wilson explains the standalone expansion's* new War Spoils feature. Also he jumps out of a plane.
Chances are you already know about the two forces at the centre of Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies. Germany and the US previously fought out their differences in the first Company of Heroes, in 90% of all FPS games made before 2007, and in real-life history. If you do need a refresher, watching two two-minute trailers probably isn't going to help. If, instead, you just need to see some tanks and explosions, they're practically perfect.
Company of Heroes 2 is returning to the setting of Company of Heroes 1 with The Western Front Armies, a standalone expansion that's coming out in June for $20. It includes two armies: the US forces and the German Oberkommando and eight new multiplayer maps set in the green, unfrozen lands of the Western Front. There are no single player missions or Theater of war Scenarios mentioned, so it looks like an expansion designed to feed the multiplayer scene, which has been quietly warring away since launch last year.
If there's one thing that World War 2 has taught us, it's that you should never fight a war on two fronts. Also that you should find your craziest haired citizens and put them to work doing science. But what about fighting a war on three fronts? That's just crazy enough to work, and Relic are certainly fighting a war of sorts: against the solid, but not stellar reception to Company of Heroes 2. Their three-pronged assault combines Steam Workshop support, a free multiplayer update, and new DLC for the Theatre of War mode.
Earlier this week, we detailed the planned fixes and features of the free Company of Heroes 2 update, Turning Point. Now, Relic have announced Victory at Stalingrad, a DLC pack that will launch alongside the update, bringing new co-op and solo challenges, and three AI battles. Set in the Winter of 1942, it covers the Soviet counter-attack battles of Operations Uranus and Little Saturn. And yes, I've only highlighted those names in a crass attempt to encourage comment thread jokes.
Relic have announced that they're reaching a Turning Point. Confusingly in this case, it's a Company of Heroes 2 update, and not a new commitment to make nice games about not ordering tiny men to angrily shoot each other. As well as more multiplayer maps, this update also puts the tools of battle in the hands of the soldiers, by giving the community a World Builder tool that will let them create and share their own battlefields.
Even now, from the comfort of 2013, it seems callous to make pithy comments about World War 2. Maybe I should play it safe by sticking rigidly to the facts. Fact 1: Germany was one of the founding members of World War 2. Fact 2: Some would say that they played such a key role, that the war disbanded soon after they left in 1945. Fact 3: They are the focus of Company of Heroes 2: Case Blue, a DLC pack for the Theatre of War mode.
Remember the good old days of a few months before the release of Company of Heroes 2? Life was simpler then. You'd visit your favourite PC gaming website, safe in the knowledge that Relic would have cooked up a new trailer for their RTS sequel, probably showing a Russian conscript looking sad. Here, we get to indulge in some early-2013 nostalgia, with a new CoH2 trailer, touring one of two free maps that have today been added to the game.
There's no escape. You'd have thought that Company of Heroes 2's release would have meant the end of its non-stop trailer bombardment. But no, Relic are refusing to surrender. Today's incoming media air-drop marks a free update, which brings a reworked version of the classic Company of Heroes map Langres - one of the most popular small-scale maps of the original. Remade for the Eastern Front setting, this new Langreskaya has been introduced with summer and winter variations.
You might remember Gearbox buying the Homeworld series back in April, uttering silent space-noises about “making them accessible on today’s leading digital platforms”. It turns that's code for 'HD remake', with Gearbox announcing yesterday at the Penny Arcade Expo in Australia that both Homeworld and its sequel (and presumably Homeworld's expansion, Cataclysm) will be given high-definition remakes. Not only that, but the original games will soon be making their way to digital shops too.
It’s called Company of Heroes 2, but it’s a long way into the 15-hour campaign before Relic’s real-time strategy game finds any heroism. It’s set on World War II’s frigid Eastern Front, and is more concerned with rifle-butting home the horror of that bloodiest sector of the conflict. The Eastern Front saw the brunt of the war: Germany lost 80% of its Wehrmacht casualties east of Berlin; the Soviets themselves lost some 26 million souls overall, 8.6 million of whom were in the military.
One thing that's been missing from the previous, genre-baiting, Company of Heroes 2 trailers, is a sense of the game's ferocious, complex, strategic action. That's being corrected here, in the E3 multiplayer recap trailer. In amongst the continuous shelling, the flurry of bullets and the charging enemy, you get a sense of what it would be like to be the one in charge of this mayhem. Terrifying, mostly.
Well thanks, morose Russian soldier man. Here I was thinking about Company of Heroes 2, and getting all excited for another slice of deep RTS action, when suddenly you decide to bring the mood down. Yes, technically war might be a little bit rubbish. But when it's restricted to my computer, it's great. Although, even then, I guess I could understand his lack of enthusiasm. I did get a lot of people killed in the first game.
Rejoice, fans of freezing to death in the harsh and unforgiving coldness, surrounded only by the pained screams of troops locked in a bitter battle between two unstoppable war machines! If you're worried that Company of Heroes 2's campaign won't keep a chill in your bones throughout the summer months, Relic have announced a second mode. Called Theatre of War, from what they say, it sounds like an automated delivery system for human misery (and tactically satisfying RTS missions).
Borderlands developer Gearbox Software has just announced its acquisition of the Homeworld franchise. In the wake of THQ's bankruptcy, the cult classic space RTS was one of the last few licenses up for grabs when most of the publisher's former assets were auctioned off back in January. Gearbox's Chief Creative Officer, Brian Martel, reportedly "personally spearheaded the acquisition."
It's been over two years since we hot-dropped onto the battlefields of the 41st Millennium in Dawn of War II: Retribution, and the sale of Relic to Sega has left the series' future a mystery. While Relic's in-house property, Company of Heroes, changed hands along with them, there has been no official word on whether or not Warhammer owners Games Workshop will continue to license the franchise to the RTS developer. Speaking to Eurogamer recently, Relic's Quinn Duffy gave us hope for a third entry in the franchise, saying there is "a strong possibility we'll all be working together again on Dawn of War."
Do you want to play Company of Heroes 2? Can you live with yourself for pre-emptively "Liking" something on Facebook before you've had a chance to try it? If your answer to both of those questions is "Yes," an indifferent shrug, or "stop imagining hypothetical responses and tell me how to get at the damn beta key," then good news!
Sega have announced the pre-order bonuses available for their new acquisition, Company of Heroes 2. They include an extra "post-launch" mini-campaign, titled Theatre of War. While there's no details of what this supplemental story DLC will contain, I'm hoping we can take the title literally and order soldiers through the creation of fictional World War 2 themed stageplay, A Spitfire Named Desire. Just me then?
If a beta test is a game's boot camp, then you're about to get the chance to become Company of Heroes 2's drill instructor - gurning your way through spittle-flecked insults about bugs and lag in the hope of scaring it into being a finely honed entertainment machine. That's because Relic's RTS sequel is set to enter its first closed beta on April 2nd.
Back in January, web design studio teamPixel came out of nowhere with a proposition to save the Homeworld franchise from THQ's demise, asking for $50,000 through an IndieGoGo drive to fund a touch and GOG version of Relic's original space RTS and develop a full-fledged Homeworld 3 for the PC. The final tally of $13,675 fell well short of the mark, but teamPixel isn't powering down its efforts just yet, instead moving to Kickstarter for a second round of crowdfunding.