Company of Heroes 3 is due to launch next year, and our grizzled veteran Fraser reckons it's coming to wake up the RTS genre. A major part of the game's development, which Relic has been highlighting ever since announcement, is how the studio is using player feedback: allowing series fans and community figures extremely early access to the game, well before its official reveal, and changing elements based on their experiences.
The first in a planned series of developer diaries has no been released, and it focuses on the Company of Heroes 3 'community council.' There is an element to this of just watching series fans gush about how good the next game in the series is going to be but, at the same time, the examples given of how Relic incorporated certain suggestions are somewhat impressive and also, at times, verging on 'why didn't you just hire this guy?'
To briefly expand on that: one community member talks about how he basically designed a faction from the ground-up, submitted the design documents to Relic, and the studio said thanks and put it in. OK, that's just one side of the story, but it sure feels like he should have been paid for that. Another dude talks about how his UI suggestions were incorporated.
It teeters between being cool and having a slight whiff of audience labour, but the other side of the argument is that audience engagement is good, and these boundaries can be fuzzy. If I was faction man, though, I'd be sending Relic an invoice.
The talk is overlaid on a bunch of new footage (showcasing some of the gorgeous destruction tech at the heart of this entry), as well as concept art and development assets, all of which confirms that this certainly looks like Company of Heroes. The community initiative is called CoH-Dev and has a considerable 200,000 players signed up already, with Relic promising it will be listening to suggestions all the way up to launch.
The original Company of Heroes was launched in September 2006, making this the 15th anniversary of the series. To celebrate, Relic hosted the CoH-Development Invitational, in which developers faced-off against fans in 2vs2 battles, which you can watch below.