The makers of Verdun and Tannenberg are headed to the southern front of the Great War for the next addition to their WW1 Game Series. Featuring new animation and movement systems and high-altitude environments, Isonzo will be based on the bloody clash between the Kingdom of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a conflict that dragged on for more than two years and cost more than a half million lives.
Like the previous games in the series, Isonzo will feature accurately modeled weapons, uniforms, and landscapes, with trench layouts and significant landmarks recreated using historical sources including films, diaries, and modern photographs. But series creative director Jos Hoebe said that it will differ from its predecessors in some significant ways.
"The harsh, rocky Alpine landscape meant we had to dramatically improve how the players move through the landscape, with systems like IK (inverse kinematics) and vaulting in place to ensure a smooth and good-looking experience," he explained. "These improvements have led to gunplay also being updated to be way smoother using a dynamic IK system in first person. Movement and recoil are now more fluid and weapons in hand interact with the environment."
Inverse kinematics (opens in new tab) is essentially the process that determines how a series of connected solid objects move in concert with one another. In videogames, it's used to calculate how characters in move in relation to the world around them, ensuring their feet land properly on surfaces and that hands grip objects in a reasonably believable fashion. An improved system should mean better character movement, even in challenging vertical environments.
Isonzo will handle classes and squads "in a more liberal way" than Verdun and Tannenberg, with a greater degree of player customization and flexibility. There's also a heightened emphasis on historical scenarios through the new Offensive game mode, which will have teams undertake large-scale attacks or defensive actions based on preset scenarios. "With set attackers and defenders, there’s a real momentum to these multi-map experiences which truly immerses players," Hoebe said.
The overall goal for Isonzo is to provide a more "dynamic" battlefield that will enable players to impact the flow of battle through their actions, Hoebe added. "You can expect Isonzo to have more cinematic, smooth and diverse gameplay than its predecessors, which are focused on a more specific trench war experience.”