Massive Assault Interview (PC)
Si: Please introduce yourself and your team.
Victor Kislyi: I'm Victor Kislyi, the president of Wargaming.net and Massive Assault's game designer. The team working on Massive Assault is big, so let me name just the managers: Vadim Gajdukevich - the lead programmer, Kozlov Dmitry - lead 3D artist, Ivan Dribas - sound director, and QA, Kirill Mal - PR Manager.
Si: Can you tell us little about the game itself? How would you describe Massive Assault in short?
Victor Kislyi: In short, Massive Assault is a turn-based strategy game where players fight for world domination. The game deliberately drops many "standard" features in order to concentrate on its original concept (Secret Allies, guerrilla warfare, etc.). The rules and mechanics are simple, so that the players can grasp the ideas fast and start having fun playing right away. Plus, it has World War Deathmatch mod, which hardcore gamers will appreciate playing online.
Si: Will the game be in full 3d?
Victor Kislyi: Yes, Massive Assault has free camera, which can be moving and rotating in any direction, even seeing the horizon. Everything is in full 3D: terrain, units, explosions, and effects.
Si: How many playable sides will there be?
Victor Kislyi: The first version is planned to have two nations, as you know: Axis-of-Good and Shadow Clique. But later on, of course, we plan to add new nations with different units, weapons and storyline. But you know additional nations do not change the concept, so they can be added later.
Si: On screenshots we can see that there are naval, land and air units. Please tell us little about them. How many units will there be?
Victor Kislyi: Each side is planned to have 13 (maybe 14) units. We'll soon be uploading the unit catalogue to our web site, with detailed description of each unit, its parameters, advantages and weak points, as well as with examples of usage. Briefly, land and naval units are classed as: light troops, heavy troop, artillery, and transports. There are also air bombers, carriers, and amphibians. The success in Massive Assault depends on how a player manages to combine these units, because no single unit type is "the best" - you should always cover your rocket launchers or mortars with light bots, you usually should have land and naval transports for making long marches and for some "dirty tactical tricks", etc.
Si: What is the feature you are most exited about Massive Assault? Will Massive Assault offer anything new to strategy gaming market?
Victor Kislyi: The gameplay - this is what excites our whole office and our quality assurance stuff - none of us has yet been bored by playing a battle after battle, while "searching for bugs" during the last months. The Secret Allies concept provides literally endless replayability. Speaking about new things, Massive Assault will bring, I would put it like this: in many of the current strategy games, there is quite standard flow of events: you start your base/city, you build something for resource gathering and then keep collecting the resources, building the structures, upgrading the buildings and units, moving along a certain technology tree. This all is "spiced" by trade, some sort of "politics" here and there, sometimes by "magic" or "random events". Speaking of historic simulation games, they are very often limited by "historic truth", and starting, for example as the English in a medieval-times game, you will always have the same French at the same place, and you pretty fast learn those couple of tricks they can employ against you. I don't mean that all these games are crap - no, I just want to point out that Massive Assault is going to be different - each new World War Deathmatch game is totally unique, in terms of strategic situation, the "tricks" you can expect from your enemy and the tricks you can perform by yourself.
Si: Artificial Intelligence in strategy games is often below the level and replaced with "cute" graphics. How will A.I. work in Massive Assault? Will it be able to develop attacks from more then one side?
Victor Kislyi: Good question...Well, attacking from "more than one side" - is what Massive Assault is about. The rules concept works towards scattering and intermixing the opposing forces around the globe, so that you always have a couple of army groups threatened from the rear or from the flanks, or being under long range artillery, battleship or air strikes. And yes, our AI will be capable of doing all these multiple-directional things. We set high standards for our AI, and watching its development and testing, I can assure you that Massive Assault's AI will be a tough opponent in the release version. Of course, during the Concept Test, which will start in a couple of days, do not expect AI to be too genius - it will not operate transports and will not make huge intercontinental re-locations of its forces, but it will be good enough for giving a couple of valuable strategic lessons, beating you in the first games, preparing you for facing live opponents online.
Si: Will there be any resource management in MA? How will it work?
Victor Kislyi: No. This is our principal position - there will be no resource gathering units/structures. There is only one major economic rule about resources: as soon as your military forces control the territory of a certain country, this country is bringing your revenue (accumulated in the country's capital) every turn. There are other types of resources: regular army, guerrilla, indemnity, but they are rather "one-time" actions, taking place under certain circumstances. Yes, we know that many RTS fans will find that unusual - but that's the way Massive Assault is achieving its dynamic gameplay. Our idea was that a General must command his military forces and fight with the enemy, leaving agriculture, industry, and mining to other governmental departments. That's why the game flows fast and is packed with actions and strategic decisions - military-related actions and decisions.
Si: What will the system requirements be?
Victor Kislyi: This is the preliminary set of the requirements: Minimum: 450 MHz CPU, 128 MB RAM, Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, DirectX 8.1, 16MB DirectX-compatible 3D accelerator, DirectX-compatible sound card, 300 MB HDD space. Recommended: 1000 MHz CPU, 256 MB RAM, 64 MB 3D accelerator.
Si: Is there anything you would like to add?
Victor Kislyi: I am greatfull to Strategy Informer for arranging this interview. We are happy by the fact, that in the tough gaming industry, there are online resources devoted exclusively to strategy games. We really want the strategy game fans to know, that we are preparing something original for them, with a special sort of gameplay. As we believe, - Massive Assault will be easy to play, but absorbing. As you probably know, the online Concept Test will start December 10.