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Interview: Hidden & Dangerous 2 unsheathes Sabre Squadron

Exclusive: Dropping behind enemy lines with Illusion Softworks to discuss its H&D 2 expansion pack

Hidden & Dangerous 2, Illusion Softworks' rock-hard but utterly brilliant WWII squad-based shooter on PC will, in the Autumn, be the proud recipient of expansion Sabre Squadron. A return to action for the Allied crack combat troops that cut their teeth on the original title's globe-spanning campaign, new missions, co-op play, further multiplayer additions plus more, more, more is being crammed into the add-on.

We caught up with Sabre Squadron team lead Alexander Sila to find out precisely what's what.

Sabre Squadron features nine new single-player missions - in which countries do these missions take place, and is there an overall plotline connecting these missions that you can tell us about?

Sila: We have kept the concept of campaigns divided into several missions in Sabre Squadron. As such, we will lead you through four different locations: Libya (three missions); Burgundy (three missions); Sicily (two missions); and La Rochelle (one mission).

What actual events from World War II have inspired the missions, if any, and could you perhaps detail what one or two of the new missions entail?

Sila: Most of the missions are based on real actions, but we had to change a few things in favour of gameplay. For example, adding some objectives. I can give you two examples of historical backgrounds from two missions to give you a better idea.

The Sicily campaign is based on a real event from July 1943. Operation 'Husky' began with the landing of Allied forces at 10.7.1943. Part of this operation was mission 'Chestnut' where two teams of SAS helped the USA invasion by destroying ground communications like bridges and railways leading to the northeast coast (effectively cutting Sicily away from Italy).

The campaign in Burgundy has been also based on a real event. After landing in Normandy, 144 men from the Special Forces were put ashore behind enemy lines on enemy territory near the French town of Dijone. The operation was named 'Houndsmith'. The objective of SAS forces was to cause chaos in enemy supply lines, destroying important ammunition storages, interrupting important railway connections and capturing German officers and other persons cooperating with German empire.

Operation Houndsmith was a great success of British SAS in a war against the Nazi regime. Seven thousand seven hundred and thirty three German soldiers died because of this operation, 4784 were captured and 700 German vehicles were heavily damaged or destroyed. One hundred and forty three important railway connections were cut off, seven trains were destroyed and 33 more derailed.

Twenty four members of SAS died in this operation and one American pilot ended as a German POW.

We've read about AI improvements - for instance soldiers will run for cover, set
up ambushes and have a heightened sense of self-preservation. Can you elaborate on this and give us details on any other AI improvements that have been made?

Sila: Both player and enemy AI has been improved in many ways. They run for cover when they get hurt, use grenades in a clever way and have more realistic behaviour while using weapons etc. Enemy reaction to your weapon or vehicle usage has also been improved. Your teammates will also locate cover much more effectively than before. And the whole path-finding system has been improved as well making it much more dynamic.

Is Sabre Squadron running on a revised LS3D engine? If so, what additions have you made and how do these directly impact gameplay?

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