Relic acting as documentarians for Company of Heroes 2’s eastern front
Company of Heroes 2 is all about authenicity and providing a realistic backdrop for RTS gameplay on the surface. Set on the eastern front and telling the story of the entire conflict between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (from the initial German invasion of 1941 to the battle for Berlin), Company of Heroes 2 designer Quinn Duffy has gone so far as to call developers Relic “documentary videogame makers”.
An enormous amount of work has gone into authencitiy, says Duffy:
“I think what’s really important for us is to be able to provide context to the gameplay. At Relic we feel that the gameplay is missing something if the presentation and narrative elements aren’t there. So, yes, we put an enormous amount of effort into those areas and particularly the authenticity.
“I think our audience has learned to want those things. Our early game development is about the mechanics, but we do base a lot of our work on how the game looks and feels. That goes all the way back to Homeworld – which was light on game mechanics and gameplay, and in many ways the game design took a back seat because it just looked so gorgeous. We wanted to support that kind of thing with the game design here [with Company of Heroes 2].
“It’s very important that we understand the context for everything. Even when we build gameplay we ask ourselves how it fits into the world and how we justify everything.”
We specifically asked Duffy whether he saw himself and the team as documentary videogame makers:
“Yeah, it is very important that we capture the history. That’s for sure. When we talk about authenticity, it’s not about getting the numbers of bolts accurate on the wheel of a tank, it’s about the overall tone and what we imagine the tone of the war would have felt like.
“We can never give the player the true experience of what it was like to be there, but if we get close we can provide a bit of emotional involvement. I think that’s what we’re really striving for.”
Our full interview with Quinn Duffy, and a preview of Company of Heroes 2, is coming later this week.