SeanMike had a very brief opportunity to see World in Conflict - an alternate reality RTS - during E3. He really liked it for its lack of resource gathering and unit specialty design. At QuakeCon, Asterix was fortunate to corner Vice President of Marketing & Business Development for Massive Entertainment and finagle a little background into how WiC came into being and how the designers have strived to keep balance.
GamersInfo.net: David, could you please tell me a little bit about how World in Conflict got started?
David Polfeldt: It could be a long story, but after we finished Ground Control II, we went back to the drawing board to see what we really liked about our approach to real-time strategy games. We wanted to capture wide consumer appeal for our ideas. The end result was World in Conflict, which brought about the following two key changes: make our typical RTS game simpler and move away from the sci-fi universe.
GamersInfo.net: As far as the gameplay is concerned, do you think there is potential in the new multiplayer game roles that will be featured in your game?
David Polfeldt: Looking at games like the Battlefield series, it makes perfect sense to have specialized roles. This is the first time this feature has been deployed in a real-time strategy game. There is no formal commander, but a player can volunteer to be one and issue orders. Tactical aid points can be moved between players, and one good strategy is to give all of these points to the team's leader, who can buy with them special abilities and use them strategically.
GamersInfo.net: There are some beautiful DirectX 10 visual goodies in the game. Is your game also friendly to older computers? Tell us about your 3-D engine. Is it an extension of the engine that powered Ground Control I & II or was it built specifically for World in Conflict?
David Polfeldt: It's, in a way, an extension of the eight-year-old engine that powered Ground Control series of games. We have redesigned the engine to be specifically scalable, thus you will not need the latest computer to run World in Conflict. If you can play Battlefield 2.0 on your computer, then you will be able to run World in Conflict. For those gamers who have the latest gear, including a super fast CPU and a DirectX 10 video card, there will be a lot of eye candy.
GamersInfo.net: I really like the game's scenario depicting the confrontation between NATO and the Soviet Union as featured in Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising. Why now? How has the whole storyline come together?
David Polfeldt: We wanted the game setting to be logical and unique. There are a lot of World War II games out there, so we opted for the Cold War's top "what if" scenario. Some very powerful weapons systems were built during the Cold War, and our game puts them to use in an actual conflict that thankfully never happened in real life.
GamersInfo.net: Currently, I am playing a real-time strategy game called Cuban Missile Crisis: The Aftermath. The confrontation is similar, but there is one big difference — there are tactical nukes in your game. How does that change gameplay? Are there balance issues?
David Polfeldt: The nuke in World in Conflict is something we will just have to observe over time. It can turn the tide of conflict. The game is designed with offensive and defensive balance in mind. This is based on the specialty of each military unit. On top of that, there are a few elements, such as the nuke which can help in creating a winning strategy by destroying a large portion of the battlefield and making it dangerous due to radiation.
GamersInfo.net: One of the big problems in RTS games is rushing. How do we prevent jeep and tank rushes?
David Polfeldt: Using a good defense with specialized units will prevent such a strategy as utilized in real-world conflicts. Tactical collaboration is what adds depth to World in Conflict.
GamersInfo.net: Do units hit area point values? For example, on tanks, is the front and side armor data different?
David Polfeldt: Absolutely. We have also pushed it a bit further than with other games. Flanking, ambushes and armor facing can truly work wonders in World in Conflict. It is a good strategy to master the single-player campaign before advancing on to the multiplayer game mode.