Recently I spoke with Level Designer and co-founder at Reto-Moto, Peter Fleckenstein about their new World War II game Heroes & Generals. Peter was kind enough to answer our questions about their awesome looking game.
What is the background and setting for the game?
When we started the design Heroes & Generals, which should be a new online multiplayer shooter and strategy game we were looking through several scenarios, and after many discussions we decided to go for a well-known era: WW2. The conflict fitted our design perfectly, and since it’s a well-documented and well-designed period in war history we could start very fast to get assets into the game. There is a broad appeal to WW2 – and the conventional warfare can be well balanced.
The first (and current) setting is in Western Europe – from London to Berlin, throughout all of Europe. We have two factions at this point in time; the German and the US But it is our goal to expand with more factions and territories – since we’ll never stop developing the game. We won’t just have annual updates and expansion packs – but monthly or so.
In games of this type, A.I. is often critical for the success of a game. How has the A.I. for the game been setup and what features will it have?
Right now Heroes & Generals is PvP only, but on our developer server we have the first iteration of AI for some singleplayer missions like the “Interdiction” mission. In the Interdiction mission you fly in a fighter plane and need to take out as many wagons of a supply train as possible – but it’s guarded with mounted AA-guns, controlled by AI. There will be several missions later on where AI could be a fun feature, so keep an eye out for that.
What are some of the units featured?
Our strategic units are called Assault Teams, and these are the ones you can control as a General or Commander on the strategic map. All FPS missions are initialized when the Commanders attack an occupied battlefield on the strategic map. The current Assault Teams are Infantry, Anti-Tank Infantry, Mechanized Infantry, Recon, Tank Destroyer, Armor (Tanks), Paratroopers and Fighter Squadron. The Commanders plan which Assault Teams will be most efficient in a coordinated attack – it depends on the opponents’ strength and units. If you only attack with one type of Assault Team you might run into challenges – like Tanks works are very well as distance cover fire, but are not that useful in the cities and close combat.
The scope of the game sounds amazing. What are some of the biggest obstacles you see in creating the game for a console and what are your biggest goals for the game?
The PC online market is evolving quite a bit these days, and our main focus to be in this market. However, we’ll quite soon release an iOS/Android app called “Heroes & Generals: Mobile Command”, where you’ll be able to access and play the strategy part of the game on your mobile devices, including chatting with the other players. Consoles are not currently in the pipeline – but it will be doable with some changes.
One of the challenges in creating a free2play game is to avoid pay2win. Are there mega weapons and if so, how do you balance giving players the destructive power they want, yet maintaining a balance in the game? We don’t have any nuclear bombs yet, but still – imagine that your faction during the war can develop nuclear bombs if you get the right resources.
We try to make the overall balance between the factions a little bit different than other games. The Germans might have the most powerful (but slower) Tiger tank – but the US have very fast tank destroyers, that are fast to maneuverer and difficult to hit. The same balance goes for guns and planes – upsides and downsides for each asset.
How is resource gathering handled for the game?
Some battlefields on the map represent factories, and the resource flow will depend on how many factories your faction controls. We have many plans for further resource gathering – like a cluster of battlefields representing some mineral resources, etc.
What forms of multiplayer will be featured?
The first game mode is “Assault/Defend” – but where the access points to the map are controlled from the strategic map – so you’ll experience different scenarios almost every time you play. The resources you attack or defend with are also linked to the strategic map, so sometimes you are defending with just an Infantry unit versus fighter planes, tank units and motorized infantry. You can then blame it on the General if you lose.
Right now we only 12 vs. 12 players in each mission, but in the next build we’ll have 16 vs. 16 and it’s our goal to go much higher, like 64 vs. 64 on some maps.
Weather has played a large part in strategy and battles in the past strategy games. How do you plan to implement weather conditions in the game and what can players look forward to?
We currently have a day/night cycle and fog, so the tactics for the battles vary a lot even using the same environment. Infantry are at better use during the night than e.g. Tanks or Fighter Planes. A weather condition like fog also gives a huge impact on the feeling and gameplay – and we have a lot of other weather conditions lined up for future releases.
Do you have a favorite unit and strategy when playing, and if so, what is it?
Even though I’m getting old I like to move fast and furious, so I prefer the Mechanized Infantry with MG’s mounted on my jeeps and halftracks. I’m always equipped with SMG and grenades as I’m not camping in the forest as a sniper. 😉
What sort of missions and campaigns will players face?
The campaigns will have different victory conditions. Right now we only operate with one victory condition, which is to conquer the opponents’ capital, but other scenarios, such as controlling 80% of all battlegrounds, etc., are also in the pipeline.
Besides the “Assault/Defend” mission, which is a progressive CTF game mode with a number of central objectives, we currently have the “Skirmish” gamemode, which basically is Team Deathmatch. And the next game mode we’ll introduce will probably be the single player “Interdiction” mission. We have many other game modes planned – mostly multiplayer modes, but with the introduction of AI, we’ll also introduce more single player and coop missions.