Battlestations: Pacific Q&A: Kamikazes, troop landings, and the new Japanese campaign.

Midway was just the beginning. Fresh details from the Pacific and an exclusive new trailer.

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Battlestations: Midway was not an ordinary World War II game. As you took command of the Pacific fleet in some of the largest naval battles ever fought, you had at your disposal battleships, submarines, aircraft carriers, dive-bombers, fighter planes, torpedo bombers, cruisers, and destroyers. More than just a real-time strategy game where you issued units simple orders to attack and defend, Battlestations: Midway put you in control of each of these units in a third-person action view. After orchestrating a battle plan on a top-down strategy map, you could then control any of your units, each with its own unique control schemes. The decisions were not always easy. Do you control the torpedo bomber and try to dodge AA flak to get a critical hit on an enemy carrier, or do you dive, dive, dive in a submarine and put a hole in an enemy battleship as it bears down on your own carrier? This blend of action and strategy set Battlestations: Midway apart.

That said, development for Battlestations: Midway was a long, arduous process as the game was pushed back several times and originally slated for release on the Xbox, not the Xbox 360. As such, the visuals were not exactly "next-gen," the single-player campaign was short, and multiplayer was limited to one mode. The concept was sound, but the execution was flawed. But that's why they make sequels.

Battlestations: Pacific, also by Eidos Hungary, is nearly double the size of Midway. Focusing on the rest of the Pacific campaign after Midway, including the invasion of Okinawa and Iwo Jima, Battlestations: Pacific will also feature a separate Japanese campaign in addition to expanded multiplayer. For the first time you'll also control parachute drops and troop landings as infantry will play a key role. We sat down with marketing manager David Bamberger and lead designer Botond Szalacsi for the first details on Battlestations: Pacific. Not enough? Check out our exclusive first video trailer.

Rewrite history in a Japanese campaign in which the empire strikes back.

GameSpot: Battlestations: Midway was an intriguing blend of real-time strategy and action gameplay, giving you the unique ability to organize aircraft carriers, fighter squadrons, submarines, battleships, and bombers while at the same time letting you control each individual unit yourself. What was your goal moving forward with Battlestations: Pacific?

David Bamberger: Battlestations: Pacific is massive. It's twice the size of the original, has two separate full-length single-player campaigns, 100 warships, and a five new multiplayer modes. We learned a great deal from the Battlestations community as well, and they've helped us improve interface and accessibility.

GS: Walk us through the major battles of Battlestations: Pacific. With 28 single-player missions, it sounds like there's a lot to do. Will we be raising the flag at Iwo Jima?

DB: In Battlestations: Midway, we showed players the US perspective on the war, but with Battlestations: Pacific we are revealing both the US and Japanese sides in two unique single-player campaigns. Players will command the US fleet after the battle of Midway to the end of the war. They will then command the Japanese fleet from the attack on Pearl Harbor to final victory. Relive or rewrite history is the idea. For me it shows how every battle, every D-day mattered. Flags will be raised on Tarawa, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and more.

GS: Battlestations: Midway was hampered by mediocre visuals, an interface that wasn't exactly user-friendly, and one of the worst in-game tutorials in recent memory. What are you doing in Pacific to correct these issues?

DB: Visually it has helped to design specifically for the Xbox 360 and high-end PCs. This has allowed us to open up what we do graphically. Everything is better: environments, explosions, smoke and fire effects, lighting, destruction animations, underwater sea life, visible seabed. And now all planes have a cockpit view.

We have also improved accessibility--this has been a key objective for us. We have reworked the user interface, and players will now be able to carry out commands and control their units through more intuitive and effective mechanisms. Additionally, we have laid more emphasis on training players how to use their units, weapons, and tactics effectively against the enemy in specific contexts.

GS: The single-player campaign in Battlestations: Midway felt very narrow. As you played through the war as Henry Walker, you started out with nothing more than a PT boat, and only at the end of the campaign did you participate in the massive battles that made Battlestations stand out, like Midway and Guadalcanal. In Battlestations: Pacific, what methods are you using to drive the single-player story, and are you making an effort to introduce players to huge, multi-unit battles earlier?

DB: Yes, as early as possible. The story of the original limited us in ways. This time we're not using a character to narrate the story. So the answer was to not assign an imaginary role to the player but to allow the player to experience the battle playing many roles. These were the largest battles in human history. Battlestations: Pacific works to put you into the middle of the large air, sea, and sub battles at their highest points.

GS: Players will also be able to play through a Japanese single-player campaign, giving us a different view of the war, not unlike Clint Eastwood's two WWII films, Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of our Fathers. Tell us about the decision to include a Japanese campaign and how you drive that side of the story?

DB: The original game offered special Japanese missions. It gave players insight into the Japanese Imperial Navy and what it was like to face the US fleet. Battlestations: Pacific offers an entire Japanese campaign. The trailer features a Kamikaze Special Forces pilot in his language and words. The words are from actual kamikaze pilot diaries and letters. Battlestations: Pacific offers a "what if" campaign that for me brings home that point that Japan was a smart and determined force. This is a perspective that also underscores the immensity of the US victory.

GS: Were there ever any red flags in deciding to play as the Japanese during the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

DB: You can apply that question to every battle of the war, from Pearl Harbor to Okinawa, which in many ways is why we focused on the battles as opposed to telling an imagined story with characters. The war and battles themselves tell the story and give you some insight into the real war.

I would recommend to anyone interested to read Sea of Thunder by Evan Thomas. It's about four commanders, two American and two Japanese, and describes how they grew to understand their enemy while they fought to destroy them.

GS: As Japanese pilots in multiplayer, we loved dodging American antiaircraft fire while attempting kamikaze strikes. The only problem was that these attacks barely scratched enemy ships. But now you've introduced the Ohka, a rocket-propelled craft designed specifically for kamikaze attacks--and also credited with significantly damaging seven US ships during the war. What effects will kamikaze attacks now have in Battlestations: Pacific, and what's the best way to use them strategically?

Botond Szalacsi The average kamikaze plane works exactly like other planes--but they are full of explosives, and they can cripple ships easily if they can reach them in time in the AA fire. The rocket-powered Ohka is a little bit different--carried to the battlefield under a slow-moving Japanese bomber, then released. It's a very dangerous opponent.

Japanese commanders can use them as the hardest-hitting planes in the game, planning sneak attacks against an enemy carrier or crippling any ship which they encounter.

Watch out for the combat air patrol, though. The tactics against them are quite simple--shoot them down before they reach you, or you are in serious trouble!

And of course Allies can do kamikaze attacks and ram enemy ships, but they won't do any serious damage to the Japanese vessels--the Allied air power lies in superior units, and they won't have a dedicated kamikaze unit in the game. The Corsair and Hellcat are the best kamikaze hunters.

GS: There were already a ton of military units in Battlestations: Midway, and now you tell us there are 20 new units to play as. What are they, what can they do, and what are some of your favorites?

BS: There are 100 units in the game--20 new ones, too many to list here, but we included most of the highly requested units from every type. My personal favorite is still the F4U Corsair equipped with rockets--a very effective plane which is great fun to play. From the Japanese side, I would choose the I-400, which was the biggest submarine of the whole second world war--a very dangerous underwater unit in the hands of a skilled commander.

GS: Battlestations: Midway attracted a niche following when the multiplayer demo was released on Xbox Live. The players who got past the wonky interface and lack of tutorial discovered a surprisingly addictive blend of action and strategy. How have you expanded multiplayer in Battlestations: Pacific, from number of maps to number of players to PC-Xbox 360 cross-platform play?

DB: We will be talking about multiplayer modes in the near future. But yes, it was important to expand this, and we have. We will not be supporting cross-platform play.

GS: Hey, you know we don't speak Japanese. What exactly is being said in the new Battlestations: Pacific trailer?

DB: Go to Battlestations.net for the translation.

Drop your troops off in Higgins boats to take control of land-based installations.

GS: An exciting new feature is tactical troop landings, in which airborne troops parachute into enemy territory. Walk us through the troop landing. Can players actually control individual soldiers or even the parachute drop? What about storming the beaches from iconic Higgins boats?

BS: Island capture is a new feature where players can capture islands and take control of weapons, radar, and more. We felt that just controlling individual soldiers would take the focus away from the fighting machines. Battlestations: Pacific works on a different scale, so we decided that the player should be able to control a variety of landing ships, LSTs, and huge transport ships--these carry dozens of small assault boats that you can launch to the shores. They are similar to other in-game units, you can fully command and control them, and launch the assault when you are close to the landing zone. Also, I have to mention the transport planes filled with paratroopers--you can also control these planes and decide where you want to deploy your troops.

GS: Thanks for your time.

Discussion

67 comments
GraySpeed
GraySpeed

My friends and I are highly anticipating the release of this new realistic sequel. Midway should have at least an 8, the game is fun and addicting. A great game to play with friends.

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

Battlestations Midway still is one of my favorite games, I know it did not receive much praise from the critics but I considered it a great play. It needs some uplifting but this game hopefully will be as enjoyable. Looking forward to seeing more previews and video clips.

t295
t295

very good!can i see more trailer?

ThAdEa82
ThAdEa82

So since they over-did the whole Normandy invasion, now they will be killing off the Pacific Theater? Call of Duty will have theirs and Battlestations will be another? Come on! They couldn't space these games out by several years?

pidow
pidow

I need more time, more videos, and maybe a demo.

EvanescenceUK
EvanescenceUK

LOL@diogopt You were joking right? The game is not made by Midway. It has Midway in the name because it involves the island of Midway in the Pacific.

klinsi
klinsi

Looks good ! Now with Japan campaign too !

humancalledBob
humancalledBob

As usual I'm behind the times and just bought Battlestation Midway a few days ago at Frys for under $10. Pretty good for arcade style and if they can improve on it all the better. I'd gladly buy it if the reviews are positive. I like the gameplay and a larger single player game would really be cool.

EnigManic
EnigManic

I'm pretty stoked about not being stoked!

king_loei
king_loei

@Sammojo I'm actually really STOKED about this game! I'm really ECSTATIC that it's coming out! I mean, I'm so STOKED that I think I'm ECSTATIC!

wogglies5
wogglies5

YAy! We get to play as the Japs!! I kinda find the same american story boring...ant wait to see wat that will be like. Troop landings and all, should be excellent

campo911
campo911

i actually want to buy midway, im not really into campaigns any way because i like playing with other people. this looks amazing but im worried about the cost, im still young and i cant really buy what i want, midway is only £9,99 from amazon.co.uk so i can sort of ask my dad and theres a higher chance ill get it. but i gotta have a demo of this, maybe 1 or 2 missions and like 3 multiplayer maps.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

i just want to see a game where you play as japanese in a War game or a game where you play as germans and theres an alternate story that has you win. :O

diogopt
diogopt

I was thinking of getting this for pc, untill I saw it was from midway... I don't want to end with a game like stranglehold that doesn't work with a 8800

joshua05
joshua05

Great news to hear about how they are doing so far. I hope they will get in done right when it goes public.

wis3boi
wis3boi

lookin' good! I never got around to playing Midway, due to rather "meh" reviews and comments. THis one looks to be a blast, especially with the troop landings and better visuals

SilentCompany
SilentCompany

@Sammojo If you don't have anything to say about the game don't say anything at all. Because of your comment you're just making yourself look like a tool. About the game i am STOKED about it since me and my LAN mates played Midway for quite awhile after release and still ECSTATIC to play it.

Sammojo
Sammojo

I like it how people use stoked as a form of mild excitement nowadays. The word has been murdered. Usually if you ARE stoked, then you are pretty much speechless and won't be saying "I'm stoked." I know people who say it all the time instead of 'happy' and the word has lost it's intended meaning. 'Ecstatic', you are probably next, so start preparing for your death...

sportwarrior
sportwarrior

Pretty stoked for the game... I just hope they don't built it entirely for the 360 and then screw us PC users over with a shoddy interface. I loved Midway, so I'll definitely be checking Pacific out.

TheRooskie
TheRooskie

Midway deserved a sequel. I'm happy that that they've finally decided to roll the next one out. Graphics wise: the game seems to be shaping up!

thatmy
thatmy

AWESOME! Must have it! I enjoy this type of gaming.

datniccah187
datniccah187

The played the demo for the last on, i wasn't really into it though.

Kirky-
Kirky-

I'd go for a demo

PHeMoX
PHeMoX

[quote]The concept was sound, but the execution was flawed. But that's why they make sequels.[/quote] I totally disagree in this case... the execution of Battlestations:Midway wasn't even worthy of a sequel. Also.. I hope they will bring what they promised for the original game, because Midway was damn boring and WAY WAY WAY too easy and ARCADE. Fix this and I might buy the sequel... pidow is right though, we needs a demo.. just to be sure.

pidow
pidow

This game needs a demo.

VolcanoMan001
VolcanoMan001

Online play was way too buggy in the first one, with disconnects frustratingly common. I hope they do something to fix this, especially since the battle are supposed to be larger. I will have to wait and see with the demo.

volcomstoner180
volcomstoner180

this game sounds good.....a lot of potential so lets see if they can live up to it from the way this game sounds, i would buy it in a second

Gruug
Gruug

Hated the first one. Online play was pathetic. I think I will pass on this one.

duderdave
duderdave

Why do we have to 'register' to the site just to read the translated text???

razorwolf05
razorwolf05

Loved the first one, will for sure pick this one up

Mike0193
Mike0193

dam this game sounds so awesome. never played the first, but this one is a must get for me !

Dill-Man
Dill-Man

Battlestations: Midway was way underrated and underplayed, it's a great game and this looks even better!

combatsoldier
combatsoldier

good game good game definitely worth getting.

userunknown11
userunknown11

japan war in WW2 wow they actually make a game about this war. japan wanted china land country before it can become a nation. i japan conquer china the rest o the world will fear japan. usa wanted japan to surrender,if they refuse they will bring destruction, they dropped the atomic bomb. japan surrender becasue they cannot face a total war. midway finds alot of ancient japanese storys thats why mortal kombat is popular today

renknram
renknram

I still play BSM multiplayer if you look beyond the graphics(never had a fault with it), & have a tactical/strategic mind you will not have time for looks, I even still have matches whereas half the time you're looking on the actual map/grid. A favorite map of mine is Coral Sea, having subs sneak up on your Carriers can be a pain, there are so many options how you can play the game especially if you have a competitive side to beat, also having a good team which communicates & follow orders is a must, i've also had games which can last a couple of hours, someone & me have even won matches against 4 opponents so anything can change! BSPacific will ROCK! & I can't wait this is gonna be more complex & compelling due to new modes & units to operate & I'm glad ive had the experience & enjoyability of BSM. This is GR8 News!

Mega-Tom
Mega-Tom

Look's alright actually. WWII games for the win this year fellas :)

EvanescenceUK
EvanescenceUK

I loved Battlestations: Midway. I can't understand why so many people were complaining about the graphics...I thought they were pretty damn good! Sure, if you zoomed right in to the ground textures they were very low res, but since there were no ground troops in the game, it was not designed to be looked at that closely I guess (but the oceans could do with looking a little rougher rather than a calm, mirror-like lake all the time). Maybe I think the graphics were pretty good because most of my gaming time is spent playing Battleground Europe :) I can't wait for Battlestations: Pacific. Thank god they've made it longer and added a 1st person cockpit view to the planes, which were my only two gripes about the first game.

raverrozza
raverrozza

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

couly
couly

MadDog's inglish iz reelly gud.

Satanmar
Satanmar

Loved Battlestations: Midway, was a very unique game and surprisingly challenging. Look forward to this one!