Operation Barbarossa. The largest invasion in the history of mankind launched when 3,700,000 Nazi Germany troops invaded the Soviet Union in the Summer of 1941. The Soviet Red Army defended their homeland against 80% of the entire Nazi Army, holding firm to their cities and dragging the invasion into the cold depths of winter, just as the Russians had planned.
History buffs and military experts can rattle on and on about the intricacies of the enormous Eastern Theater of World War II, but even the average Joe can tell you Hitler entered Russia unprepared for one of the harshest winters on record. His army suffered a catastrophic 750,000 casualties, including 150,000 dead, due large in part to the Soviet’s intimate knowledge of their country’s bitter winters.
Relic wants to recreate the bitter Russian winter of 1941 in their upcoming RTS Company of Heroes 2 by making the cold weather a huge factor in gameplay. A recent video release from VG247 has Game Director Quinn Duffy explaining how the cold almost acts as an entirely neutral third player able to wipe out armies just as easily as opposing units.
Ice freezes over lakes and rivers, offering high risk shortcuts. Cold snaps can kill lightly armored troops, or make them unfit for battle. Deep snow makes troops travel slower, while engineers can scout ahead and set up fires to refresh frozen troops. The freezing cold winter is more than just an aesthetic for Company of Heroes 2; the entire gameplay wraps around the idea of exposure to the dangerous winter elements.
Company of Heroes was a game changer for the RTS genre when released back in 2006. The amount of thought and attention Relic is putting into the sequel should keep the franchise on track for another well received release.
Company of Heroes 2 will be released on PC’s in 2013.