Tom Clancy's EndWar Exclusive Hands-On - Single-Player, Multiplayer, and World War III

We get our hands on this upcoming console strategy game in this exclusive E3 preview.

If you thought gas prices were bad now, wait until 2020 when Russia becomes the world's largest supplier of oil and natural gas production in Tom Clancy's EndWar. This development fuels a military buildup not seen since the Cold War. A missile defense shield is constructed that protects the United States, Europe, and Russia from nuclear annihilation, but instead of peace, the tension escalates into a massive ground war spanning the globe. In EndWar, World War III has begun, and the future may be bleak, but it's never been brighter for console strategy fans.

Scheduled for release this October, EndWar is a different sort of strategy game, built from the ground up with consoles in mind. We recently visited with creative director Michael de Plater for the latest on EndWar. Hands-on multiplayer sessions and a few new details were included in our visit, as well as whispers of a possible PC version.

Though purple, this orbital laser strike is one of three WMDs in EndWar.

You can't fight a war without an army, so the first thing you'll do in EndWar is choose and customize your own battalion. After selecting either the US, European, or Russian factions, you then choose the type of battalion, be it airborne, mechanized, armored, signals, or assault. For example, airborne will feature increased gunship and riflemen ranks, armored will have tank bonuses, while assault will be a balanced attack force. From there, you select a task force bonus. Airborne gunships, for example, can immediately unlock a rocket barrage, a volley of 80mm unguided rockets that deal "kinetic damage" and "blast damage." Artillery units of mechanized battalions can grab a bunker buster shell, an incendiary warhead for increased penetration. The list of bonuses is lengthy; there are about 90 different upgrades for each faction that can be purchased with credits earned based on your performance.

The customization space in EndWar is called the barracks. This is where you'll edit your battalion's camouflage and purchase the aforementioned battle upgrades. The barracks were inspired by, believe it or not, the garage in Forza 2, a place to tweak and enjoy your creations. The units--riflemen, engineers, tanks, transports, gunships, artillery, command vehicles--will gain experience in the persistent online campaign called Theater of War and will rank up. There are six ranks, and by the time you have a unit maxed out with combat bonuses and field experience, you will have grown quite attached to it. But if a unit is eliminated in battle, it will be replaced by lowly privates. War is hell, after all.

Ordering your army about is a breeze, thanks to the slick voice command system.

In the single-player campaign, you'll play as Gen. Scott Mitchell of Ghost Recon fame and command the United States faction against Mother Russia. The warzone spanning most of the northern hemisphere is broken up into battle points. This is the same map that will be used online for Theater of War. In the campaign, you will choose which battle is most important to win, and the AI will handle the remaining battles on the map. Online, success in each battle will be decided by which faction has the largest winning percentage.

The multiplayer modes have been changed somewhat since we last saw EndWar. There's Conquest, the battle for uplink stations on one of the 29 maps. The uplinks are responsible for protecting the area from nuclear strike. Once a majority is controlled, the losing team will have five minutes to regain a point or be annihilated. The losing team will at least gain access to a WMD to even the odds--a kinetic strike fired from space for the Americans; an orbital laser blast for the Europeans; a tactical nuke for the Ruskies. If you do use a WMD, be warned. Aside from general devastation to the environment and local plant life, your enemy will also be able to launch a WMD following your attack. The Assault mode is a basic deathmatch, while Raid is an attack-and-defend match using multiple uplink points. The final mode, Siege, is another attack-and-defend match in which the defenders have 10 minutes to protect one major point on the map, like the US Capitol or the Eiffel Tower for instance (both fully destructible, by the way).

We jumped in a two-on-two conquest map at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was supposed to be a great day for the Americans as they launched a shuttle into space. Instead, the Russians destroyed the shuttle, and it's all-out war on the ground. We teamed with de Plater to take on the enemy AI and immediately felt the strategic appeal of EndWar. Thanks to the seamless voice command system, you feel like a general on the battlefield, reacting immediately with tactical changes to enemy advances. It will only take a few minutes of ordering "unit one to attack hostile two" and "unit three to secure Yankee" before you'll be fully engrossed in the battle. Having such seamless controls is important to keep the rock-paper-scissors gameplay flowing. Gunships destroy tanks and artillery, tanks destroy transports, and transports can take out gunships with AA flak. The core combat flows from this system and the voice commands make it that much easier to master.

World War III comes to a video game console near you later this year.

If you look closely, you can almost feel the influence of the Total War strategy series at work. De Plater also headed up Rome: Total War, so it's no coincidence that the units are spread out on the bottom of the screen in much the same way. Instead of trebuchets and catapults, you have riflemen and nuclear weapons. De Plater goes so far as to call it Total War meets Clancy. Resources are not won or lost in an over world map, however. Gaining access to uplinks will allow you to deploy more units on the battlefield. Once you've secured an uplink, engineers can unlock three levels of air support, electronic warfare, and force recon. Air strike will call in H.A.W.X. fighter jets to deliver destructive payloads; electronic warfare attacks are electromagnetic pulses that disable an enemy's electronics; forced recon are highly trained Ghost Recon units that can easily take over enemy positions.

Multiplayer promises to only get bigger as you jump into four-versus-four battles and have to coordinate with other battalions. So far, we had a blast playing quarterback with our troops using the voice command system, blowing up famous landmarks, and customizing our army in the barracks. Our in-depth coverage of EndWar is just beginning. Be sure to check out our exclusive gameplay video and enjoy World War III for yourself.

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230 comments
darkmen909
darkmen909

theres a demo out now and its amazing

gamescottsman
gamescottsman

I've just played the demo and this game is AWESOME!!! RA3 and others - eat your heart out! This game sets a standard in which all new RTS games should take a leaf out of. The Third Person Perspective combined with free roaming, easy to manage, well designed and exciting units will make this one of my favourites of all time! :D

JeffreyCor
JeffreyCor

I sure hope it is a lot different than this preview. The obvious preference for console makes this game sound bad.

VonEhrhardt
VonEhrhardt

If everything works as advertised, then this is a game I will definetley have to try. The only thing that concernces me is the voice command.

Konigkrieg
Konigkrieg

This game is going to be the best game I've ever buy.

Wargodgohan
Wargodgohan

I think end war will be better than Hawks, For the simple fact is i am a Big Ace Comabat Fan and when watching the game play the graphics were so so and the controles looked shakey.. when you have one great game you should stick to that design for future games.. Its like with the New Rainbow 6 3 that is comming out watch the game play movie, and its corny compaird to rainbow 6 vegas 2 which had amazing game play and now Rainbow 6 3 has Crappy graphics?? come on now someone in Calif Aint doing there job at keeping these games top of the line with the best graphics out there..

blackjack95
blackjack95

all Tom Clancy games have been a blast!!!!BUT with H.A.W.K.S soon to be releasd it is hard to choose witch one to get!end war or hawks!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

spy_guy14
spy_guy14

voice command looks pretty accurate btw if you type in "tom clanys endwar pax" in youtube theres a video of a parot playing endwar pretty well

chase050505
chase050505

this is one of the ames i preordered and it looks awesome it sounds worth the money

hassy94
hassy94

to blackjack, mercs 2 is a 3rd person action game, not an RTS, and yes this game looks good, I doubt I'll get it though to to the other games coming out in the next few months

Sodney
Sodney

WOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!!!!! this looks amazing. I'll be getting this:)

blackjack95
blackjack95

I think this will rock next gen console strategy games but there mighi be 2 problems. 1. will voice command work smoothly. 2. will merc's2:wif beat it.

pspeck_1
pspeck_1

there isn't- well not the ones that we know today, as Theres a joint missile shield around the US and most of Europe. Which is why WWIII relies on more conventional means of warfare.

Yuhi33
Yuhi33

I hope there's nukes in the game :)

tecumseheagle17
tecumseheagle17

every single day i want this game more and more badly!!! its going to be intense with all the blowing up, shooting and especiaally the voice command!!!! i cant wait at all!!!!

Phoenix534
Phoenix534

I hate this. I have to wait until Christmas to get EndWar. That bites.

tecumseheagle17
tecumseheagle17

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

tecumseheagle17
tecumseheagle17

this game is going to get an average 9.0 rating!!! im preordring it for sure

osiris
osiris

Definitely the game to wait for this October. The next step for us armchair generals. Yar!

Jackyll87
Jackyll87

PC whispers??? Bring it on.....

gameexpert101
gameexpert101

This game looks awsome. Can't wait to get it. I hope they come out with a demo soon cause the anticipation is killing me.

DeadlyOnez
DeadlyOnez

Looks better then I previously though it would turn out to be. i the voice command is killer... have to wait and see.

scorch-62
scorch-62

I'm definitely getting this.

oktopuz
oktopuz

HOLY *'*!§$%!!!!! This is gonna be the best game ever! I´m so going to buy this game, make it an altar and worship it! Everything´s at it´s peak! Nothing could be better! And they even chose the right platform for it ;) BTW, Tom Clancy ROCKS!

SirZappy
SirZappy

I hope they release a Demo soon, It looks like a real turning point for all RTS games. The Voice command will change how console RTS games are played. I just hope Halo wars becomes Voice command too.

SwitchBlade4474
SwitchBlade4474

They better do a good job with the PC version of this if it comes at all, It'll be bad if they just copy console to PC

jon-hawk
jon-hawk

This game I soooo cool looking, the whole voice command is a really nice idea and the graphics look pretty good for a RTS, buts its kinda annoying how they seem to have copied WIC.

_Sam_
_Sam_

I love the tom clancy games. This game is looking good so far

cloudy14
cloudy14

End War is great, the voice command is really easy to control and its so detailed. The gameplay is really fast paced and it takes a while to get used to.

grambyte
grambyte

This game got my full attention without a doubt. Actually can't wait to check it out.

xialon
xialon

Graphically looks nice. Sounds like a good game too. However, that is all talk. I want to see what this game can really do.

vertigopm
vertigopm

endwar is cool but when will we get news on another tom clancy game....like SPLINTER CELL?!?!?!?!?!

gamah_killah
gamah_killah

Endwar will definitely be a fun game if we're very strategic

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

Looking forward to this..should be a good one

Strife88
Strife88

Every time I see this I just want to play it already. The playable demo looked that good.

The_360_Ghost
The_360_Ghost

It was supposed to be out with Army of Two. Hope they took the time to perfect voice command and added some new tweaks.

Rancor2001
Rancor2001

looks freaken awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fernan17893
fernan17893

Cool I wanna see that voice command in action though.

carstairs
carstairs

I heard about it a while ago, it looks great!

Smiley451
Smiley451

voice command sounds awesome. however, i think rts was never meant to go onto console. halo wars is gonna be teh_suck if they don't realease it to the PC as well.

Ed1923
Ed1923

I'm sure but is this game coming out for pc because there is a page for it :S looks good though.

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

This game is definitely gonna help in the transition of rts games to consoles.

Sharvie
Sharvie

Looks great. Multiplayer sounds interesting.