Having explored futuristic battlefields with its Ground Control games, for it's next RTS developer Massive Entertainment has decided to step back in time to the 1980s. World in Conflict is based on a Cold War scenario, although its storyline is fictional and penned by author Larry Bond.
Bond's plot takes us into an alternate history on Earth where the Berlin wall never fell and the Soviets, fearing certain collapse, have advanced into Europe. NATO responds in force but is met on a second front, a surprise full invasion of the US of A. You come in as a field commander who is leading military muscle and fighting the Soviet forces in America, Europe and the Soviet Union itself.
World in Conflict is already being looked upon as a potential contender for the RTS of 2007 - we caught up with Massive Entertainment's founder and president Martin Walfisz to find out how the game is coming along...
It's been some time since we last spoke with you about World in Conflict. What are you currently working on with the game at the moment, and what major changes if any have you made to the game during the last six months?
Walfisz: At the moment, we're very busy with our closed multiplayer alpha test. This is very rewarding, as we get a lot of feedback from brand new players who've never even seen the game before! The groundwork for the game is done and nearly all of the features are in, so we're working on a lot of balancing and some tweaking of already existing features. We're also working on maps and the single-player part of the game.
All in all, we have a solid, enjoyable alpha in our hands, which is great! Many big and small additions have happened since we spoke last. Notable are the Special Abilities: one offensive and one defensive for each unit. And the introduction of Fortifications: fixed bunkers and machine-gun nests that you construct by holding a command point for a duration of time.
Is it still the case that you're leaning more toward a multiplayer experience with World in Conflict? How is that panning out and how has the multiplayer side of the game developed?
Walfisz: The multiplayer will go hand in hand with our singleplayer campaign. While the single-player campaign will give players the chance to experience the unique 1980's Cold War setting to the fullest, the multiplayer mode is very important to the game's replay value. The game idea was initially multiplayer based, so a lot of the gameplay concepts come from our original ideas, and it's only gotten better over time! Our play testers love it, and we still play it with enthusiasm each time we finish a new build!
Are you now able to elaborate on the game's storyline and key characters involved? We've heard of some interesting things you're doing with friendly AI in single-player too...
Walfisz: Yes, we can finally start talking about this. The single-player campaign follows the American army in their war against the Soviets. The battles take place in America, Europe and also in the Soviet Union itself. One of the central characters is Colonel Sawyer, who is this tough, rough necked war veteran, who acts as the player's commander. There are many other characters as well, all of whom will give the player a feeling of a full-scale war going on.
A lot of them are AI-controlled soldiers and commanders, who fight side by side with the player on the battlefield, sometimes to request aid from the player and sometimes to offer help in tough situations. The AI does a great job, both in offering good challenges to the player and in giving the player a rich and varied experience. And playing alongside the allied AI will work as a good introduction to the multiplayer teamplay experience.