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World in Conflict: The Massive Q&A

Massive's President Martin Walfisz succumbs to the CVG question salvo

World in Conflict is Massive's epic alternative history RTS, where the cold war never ended and the US and NATO now face a massive Soviet invasion of America's heartland and Western Europe. Marvellous in single-player, it's also going to be rather special in multiplayer, so high time we thought to track down Massive's entertainments President Martin Walfisz, to get his thoughts on one of this year's Games for Windows star performers.

But don't forget there's still time to score yourself an exclusive place on the World in Conflict closed beta. Simply follow this link to enter our great competition and you could be lobbing battlefield nukes to your heart's content soon!

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How did the original idea for World in Conflict (WiC) and its intriguing scenario come about?

Martin Walfisz: After Ground Control 2, we started work on a number of concept designs, but in many ways we still wanted to work on a strategy game but our real desire was to attempt to 're-invent' the genre. The cold war setting came about because we wanted to deal with realistic, modern warfare, but not with any current conflicts. As such, the 1980s setting was a pretty obvious choice, partly because it had never been done before, and partly because it's focusing on the two biggest military superpowers of the late 20th century. There's obviously a lot of potential that comes with such a setting, and we loved working within it!

Did the 80's classic Red Dawn influence game development at all? (We note it's also getting a collector's edition DVD this summer)

Martin Walfisz: We've seen the movie, of course, and it's been one of the sources that we've looked at during development. But as with any creative environment, there are a lot of different influences circling about. Red Dawn was definitely one of them, though.

You're obviously known for the splendid Ground Control series - what lessons from that game did you bring over into WiC?

Martin Walfisz: Well, because of our experience within the real-time strategy genre, we have a good understanding for what works and what doesn't work for strategy gamers. Fans of the Ground Control games will see many things in WiC that were, in some way, already present in those games. With the new game, we've fine-tuned some ideas from back then, but we've also brought a lot of new ideas to complement them. Altogether, the game is looking very solid, and we're confident that WiC will be even greater than the Ground Control games!

The game begins on US home soil and moves onto Europe and Russia. What kind of iconic locations can gamers look to fighting in? How does the environment affect gameplay?

Martin Walfisz: We've got some very interesting environments, but I can't really go into any specifics (plus, you wouldn't want the climactic scenes of the campaign spoiled, would you?). But there are some pretty cool landmarks in the game. The environments are a central part of how things pan out. One thing we've learned over the years is that map design is key to a successful strategy game. It might sound obvious, but it's not so easy to accomplish. Our maps are naturally dynamic, not symmetrical, and there are many things that affect the battles - such as elevation, forests, buildings and rivers. Plus, nearly everything is destructible, so if there's one particular building that is in your way - just blow it up!

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