Venturing forth into a heavily saturated genre is more risky than standing on the edge of a cliff on one leg while playing thrash metal air guitar, but developer Stromregion proved itself in the World War II RTS field with Codename Panzers: Phase One. Now Phase Two in the series is waiting in the wings, all involved hoping that with the new campaigns and other fresh content being stuffed in it can outflank the competition and send it fleeing from the battlefield.
We recently caught up with Stormregion to find out what's what in the world of Codename Panzers: Phase Two.
Codename Panzers: Phase One garnered complimentary reviews. What is your main area of focus to make Phase Two even better?
Stormregion: With Phase Two, we aim to improve the Panzers' experience significantly. The new design focuses on hard-hitting action, offers large scale tank battles and exotic locations. We took the opportunity to fix a number of balancing issues as well: anti-aircraft units will be more lethal, consequently more useful in all game modes, while infantry units will use their optional equipment against enemy armor with increased efficiency. The lineup of new vehicles and features include the German Bison II artillery, the Italian Basotto tank hunter, two authentic locomotives, new aircraft with 40 distinctive (Desert and Mediterranean) colour patterns for all models, a German railway gun, an Italian warship, a desert fortress, a active environment with sands shifting, caravans passing and vultures circling above... and so on.
Phase One's action-packed gameplay belied its realistic RTS appearance. How would you describe the interplay between sober realism and exciting action in Phase Two?
Stormregion: We did our homework on the epoch in general and wartime events/units in particular. All major campaign missions are based on historic fact and feature a number of fictional elements/objectives to improve gameplay.
Do you feel it's important to capture accuracy or are you more concerned with giving the player an exciting, action-packed experience?
Stormregion: Panzers is all about bringing authenticity and fun into balance - that's what Phase One did so well in the first place. Our idea was to do the same with offensive tactics with strategic thinking - in Phase Two, you need to master both to achieve victory.
One of the main criticisms of Phase One was that there wasn't a great deal of tactical and strategic variety. How have you addressed this in Phase Two?
Stormregion: Apart from the introduction of new buildings, objects and a host of other improvements, a serious effort was taken to rebalance units and make them more useful. Each mission in Phase Two can be accomplished in several different ways. There are several vehicles have switchable headlights, and night time environments where you can put them to good use. With their line of sight extended, your troops will have an easier time spotting the enemy - if the enemy fails to spot you behind the headlights first...
Can you give us some examples of tactical options available to players?
Stormregion: Do you need more air strikes? Occupy the enemy airfield and free the POW pilots to get more tactical bombers. Did you lose your artillery? Ambush the railway gun, kill the crew and use the cannon against the enemy. Did that anti-aircraft battery shoot down your recon plane? No problem, free the Arabian civilian, and you can use him as a spy to assess enemy positions. Do you prefer infantry over armoured vehicles? No problem, get a few anti-tank guys, stick them with a few medics and snipers, and they can beat solo tanks without any problems.