Details on Massive Entertainment's World in Conflict PC real-time strategy game have already appeared on these pages courtesy of pre-official announcement coverage that whacked on caterpillar tracks and rolled into the public eye. Today however, the game's publisher, Vivendi, has finally got around to unleashing the all-important official blurb, and thanks to cunning work conducted by our agents in the field we're able to present you with an in-depth interview on the title on announcement day.
Massive has opted to set World in Conflict during the Cold War era, but it's a fictional scenario that's being employed which has been penned by writer/author Larry Bond - the idea that the Berlin Wall never fell being the cornerstone of the plot. Despite the fictional scenario, the developer is keen to point out that it hasn't "taken any liberties with reality" regarding military muscle - "it's the full arsenal of the existing superpowers at that time [late 1980s] - no more, no less", it says. Events kick off in 1989 as the Soviets, fearing certain collapse, advance into Europe. NATO responds in force only to be met on a second front - a mass invasion of American soil. As a field commander caught up in the war, it's the player's job to retake the American cities and suburbs that have been overrun by Soviet forces.
What's particularly interesting with Massive's design plan for World in Conflict is the weighty team-based multiplayer experience in the pipeline. In fact, it's World in Conflict's multiplayer that's virtually all the talk at this stage. An "extensive" single-player campaign is promised, but the developer's not spilling too many beans. We do know however, that the single-player campaign explains the "hows and whys of the conflict", that it concentrates on an American officer's involvement in the war and that it features "overlying gameplay in addition to the 'battle' gameplay of the multiplayer game." Massive has also said it has "worked very hard to make the [single-player] campaign more than just a linear string of skirmish maps".
Full information on World in Conflict's single-player will be handed out in due course, but in the meantime read on to discover a little more on this part of the game and - and here's the BIG bit - find out what exactly Massive's team is whipping into shape for the major multiplayer component. Answering the questions are Massive's David Polfeldt, VP Marketing, and Magnus "Soundboy" JansÚn, lead game designer.
Assume we know nothing about World in Conflict - can you give us an overview of the game and inform us of your key design goals?
David Polfeldt: The game is set in the late 80s/early 90s. It's a "what-if" scenario, where the Superpowers are pitched against each other at the very height of the arms race. We get to see what it would have been like if the US and USSR went head to head in a ruthless and desperate war that no-one really wants. That's the story and setting.
The game itself is an intense, all-out-action version of a strategy game. It is entirely focused on the fun parts of the game, i.e. the battle itself. Even though the battles are straightforward, the game contains a lot of depth. Skilled players will become superior tacticians. In multiplayer, the team members choose roles, and a team that learns how to combine roles and tactics will become a fearsome opponent.
Magnus JansÚn: One thing we've always aimed for is that the superior tactician should win the day. It's not about how much you've got but how well you use it - and more importantly: how you use it together with your team. Another key aspect of World in Conflict is the drop-in game structure. You can drop into a game where there is 5 minutes left (of a 20 minute game), and the battle will be far from decided. WiC matches are a fight to the end.