Blitzkrieg II Interview (PC)

Si: Hi. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your position within the Blitzkrieg 2 team is.
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George Ossipov: Hi! :) I am George Ossipov, the project leader of Blitzkrieg II.
Si: For a start could you please give a brief introduction to Blitzkrieg for those unlucky people who haven't yet tried this game. How would you describe it?
George Ossipov: Blitzkrieg is a RTS game that puts you in command of over 220 tanks, vehicles, artillery and aircraft with 40 different types of infantry to recreate the major battles of WWII in the European and North African Theaters. It includes 3 campaigns for the Allies, Germans and Soviet Union and an unlimited number of random missions. Unique and completely flexible campaign structure puts you in control of deciding how your forces will fare in each of the major engagements that comprise three central Campaigns. Blitzkrieg has almost complete historical accuracy as each unit is endowed with the actual capabilities and characteristics that existed at the time. Each campaign has been meticulously researched to provide an accurate depiction of the battles, while still maintaining the flexibility (and fun!) necessary to let you play the way you want.
Si: When and why did you decide to make a sequel to Blitzkrieg 2?
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George Ossipov: To tell you the truth we had ideas of making Blitzkrieg II even before the original Blitzkrieg got released. :) The thing is that when we have been working on Blitzkrieg, there were so many ideas coming up that they would simply not fit into just one game, so we have put some of them aside. Once the original Blitzkrieg hit the shelves, we've received a large amount of feedback from our players. Most of them were not just cheers but also good suggestions and thoughts that players came up with. It totally assured us in the decision to make a sequel. And when we started analyzing the ideas we had received from the players, we found out that in many aspects they coincided with our image for the sequel. And this was good. :)
Si: So what will be different in B2?
George Ossipov: There will be certain changes in the gameplay. Probably the main one is in giving more depth to the strategy element. We've put primary and secondary objectives in missions that are connected to other missions, so the player will be provided with unlimited strategic choices. The more success you achieve on the battlefield, the more advantages you get. Moreover, player can also earn promotions that allow him to use more units in further missions. As in the original game units gain experience and upgrade the more the player uses them, but now they get much more abilities with the experience. So everything is in your hands! Give thought to every move - that's the difference between strategists and great strategists! There will be real historical leaders and real elite forces that the player will be able to use in some missions, a greater variety of units, and missions, inshore warfare and air battles. So the player will have even more options to wage war the way he likes. His strategies and actions will expand to a larger scale.
Si: Will it be using the same engine as B1 or have you made any changes to it?
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George Ossipov: We developed a brand new engine for Blitzkrieg II. First of all, it's totally 3D, so everything in the game including landscape, soldiers, and buildings will be 100 % volumetric. We will also apply more animations to every soldier, vehicle and map object. And certainly, the engine will influence not only the general looks of the game, but its gameplay either. Moreover, it will allow for AI improvements: path-finding and collision detection will get better, the enemy will act rougher and smarter, and more...
Si: Will we still have the same 3 sides to choose from (Russians, Germans and Allies)?
George Ossipov: There will be four countries this time you can fight for: Germany, Great Britain, USSR, and the USA. With the introduction of Pacific operations now we have all theatres of WWII covered! :) Each campaign has its own distinctive feature: in American campaign the essential accent is put on aviation, in the British campaign it is inshore warfare... So in each campaign the player gets a unique experience and more freedom for strategic choices, while the historical authenticity is still kept accurate.
Si: The difficulty levels in the original were finely balanced, has this changed in any way?
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George Ossipov: No, we still provide the player with balanced difficulty levels. Besides the usual źeasy-medium-hard╗ option, he can adjust the gameplay to his game style íV whether he would prefer to take the challenge and accomplish all the tasks, including the secondary objectives, or whether he would rather choose the simplest mission in each chapter and pass it with minimum risk. Also since the strategic element is deepened more than in the original game, I might even say that the player manages the difficulty level almost with every step he makes.
Si: Can you tease us with some details of the campaigns & missions?
George Ossipov: Teasing is my favorite part, so I'll do it with pleasure! :) Each mission will have something interesting and unique in it. In some missions you'll be able to use a special unit ("heroes"), in others you'll have to fight in special conditions (say, the heavy weaponry will be not very useful in the sands of an African desert), the third will have many secondary objectives that can bring you some advantages... As I have said before, each mission will have not only primary, but secondary objectives that are connected to other missions. Accomplishment of these secondary objectives is certainly not required for completing the mission, but results in bonuses and advantages in the further missions. I'll give you a vivid example of what I mean. Let's imagine that you're choosing the mission on the strategic map. One mission is flashing - it is the easiest in this chapter. You can choose this one - or you can try depriving the enemy of air support (enemy's air superiority is stated in every mission of this chapter). So it is totally up to you, whether to capture the enemy's airfield or not. Doing so will provide you with air superiority in all further missions. And once you've started the operation you may see, say, a small railroad station pinned to the secondary objectives. If you decide to make some more effort and occupy the station, you'll be able to call for more reinforcements by railroad... If you attain both primary and secondary objective, enjoy air superiority and railroad reinforcements in future. And keep in mind that apart from air superiority and more reinforcements, you may also get a promotion to a higher rank, increasing combat capabilities of your army. Does all of it worth the risk? The decision is yours, commander. :) With such nonlinear structure the player's strategic freedom is unlimited, and if he is not ready to "get tough" for some reason, there is always the easier way to go. So even in this aspect Blitzkrieg II is very close to real life. As some philosopher has said, life after all is just the chain of decisions we make... :)
Si: How many different types of units will the game feature?
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George Ossipov: All in all, there will be over 300 combat units and 60 types of infantry in Blitzkrieg II. You'll see the majority of the units, presented in the original game, but some of them will get improved - they will change their abilities or will get some additional abilities. There will be new types of units added: ships and motor boats, tanks and artillery modifications, new types of infantry. As the theater of war gets larger, there will also be more American and completely new Japanese units. The greater the variety, the more tactical possibilities the players will have. There are also very special types of units called "heroes". These are real historical leaders and real elite forces of WWII that have special abilities and greatly stand out among regular units due to their many advantages. And of course it wouldn't be Blitzkrieg, if these special abilities were not based on the real events! :) Peter Churchill is great at dressing in enemy's uniform and gathering the information, and no other tank commander can match the deadly accuracy of Michael Wittmann in tank duels.
Si: Is there still no resource management?
George Ossipov: Although there were suggestions to allow building units, we have decided not to include this option into Blitzkrieg II. The ability to build units does great in some other games, but it doesn't coincide with Blitzkrieg's concept, its historical authentisity. Can you imagine, say, Winston Churchill transform tiberium into tanks by a single click of the button?! See, both Blitzkrieg games go beyond just being good games, they are actually more of a philosophy - how far a human mind can go when put in the conditions of a total challenge? :)
We added a little bit of resource management though - a player will be able to call for reinforcement. Still, this option is tied closely to the player's actions on the battlefield. It is his success that determines what type of reinforcement he can call for, whether the player deserves a special type of unit as a bonus, and so on. So as you see, we provided the player with resource management but kept this option in the frames of Blitzkrieg's historical accuracy. The reinforcement option will definitely deepen the strategic and tactical abilities of the player even more. Imagine that you're trying to pass over the river - and your troops are being constantly attacked by the enemy. There's simply nothing you can do... but call for reinforcement. You'd probably choose a couple of planes (maybe even a special unit - a hero pilot) and you might as well call for self-propelled artillery to help them out. Now you are ready to strike back and to lead your men across the ford... and even farther - to take over a small quay. And once you've captured it you are able to call for armed-motorboats to strike the enemy with the final attack. Don't think they can stand against it too long! :)
Si: Our reviewer Canker mentioned that game camera controls were "frustrating". Has anything been improved there?
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George Ossipov: Yes, Canker didn't like that he couldn't control the camera. In Blitzkrieg II we have included zoom-in/zoom-out feature especially for him and for all other players who like to get into details. Besides keeping Canker's internal harmony unharmed it will add to the better strategic planning as well. :)
Si: One of the better features of the original were the 'set' battles that were used within the tutorials. Will we be able to recreate some of the original WWII battles like Kursk or the Ardennes Offensive?
George Ossipov: The tutorial battles are kept in Blitzkrieg II as well. We are also expanding the learning curve to the larger part of the campaign, so that during each campaign the player will drive his professionalism to its maximum. Regarding the depicting original battles, we tried to include some epic WWII operations that were missed in the original game to give players more variety. You will fight in the battles for Koenigsberg, Sevastopol, Stalingrad, Sicily, Bastogne, Philippines, ArdennesíK In fact, the majority of Blitzkrieg II missions are based on famous operations of WWII.
Si: When can we buy the game?
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George Ossipov: We are planning to release the game in the Q1 of 2005. The reason we want to take some time is to polish every single detail to its best. The exact release date is still to be announced íV when we settle it, we will definitely let you know! :)
Si: Where will it be released?
George Ossipov: As all of our games, it will be released worldwide. :)