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Codename Panzers: Cold War

Still somehow including Panzers in the 1950s

John Randall is having fun. The community manager for Codename Panzers developers Stormregion has the camera centred on a crane in the middle of a postcard German town.

It's a beautiful day in the Cold War, the sun creating dappled light in the gradually evaporating puddles. On top of the crane sits a Russian sniper. He's sitting peacefully, minding his own business, doing no harm.

"Let's bring down an artillery strike." The rounds hit slightly to the left, buckling the lower support beams and sending the poor trooper toppling to his death. The mainly German crowd, squeezed into an crowded booth at the Leipzig game show, are entranced.

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"Let's try it again." The scene is reset. The artillery lands just to the right this time. The tower leans the other way, before catching on a small villa. This time our victim is flung across the sky, bounces off a chimney and dies once more.

"Again!" Bang. "Again!" Bang.

Perhaps it's WWII fatigue, but the Cold War suddenly seems the perfect setting for conflict. Even the intricate strategy series Codename Panzers is moving on, rebuilding and retooling itself for a fictional war in the 1950s, when Russia and America decide to settle their differences with guns and tanks.

"Our game is more about leaving World War II and exploring a new era than just jumping into the Cold War," explains John.

"Going to the 1950s was a natural progression: we're continuing the storyline from where we left off. It gives us the opportunity to present something fresh and new, as well as an interesting mix of war technologies to experiment with."

It may be alt.history but this doesn't mean abandoning reality: "We go to great lengths to ensure that what happens is credible and believable. In our storyline, the Berlin airlift was an ongoing operation with MIG fighters harassing the cargo planes. So we took this situation and used an accidental mid-air collision as the spark that ignites the Cold War."

Eighteen single-player missions are set to follow returning heroes from the previous games, Wilson and Groebel, and some new, younger main characters, in battles set mainly in Europe as the war escalates.

Pitting NATO against the USSR, missions will include large-scale battles as well as espionage and commando-themed challenges. "Expect these heroes to play a very influential part in a rich and detailed storyline," promise Stormregion.

But what's the obsession with crushing snipers? The teaser video shows the repeated destruction of a single, large building containing a crane. Depending upon the attack, whether by helicopters, air-strike or ground forces, the building crumbles uniquely, and never better than when crushed by the collapsing crane.

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"We wanted to create an environment where everything is destructible, usable or both," explains Randall. "This dynamic allows for strategic use of the environment by, for instance, toppling the crane onto a building and crushing the enemy inside."

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