World in Conflict Updated Q&A - The Multiplayer Test and Details

With the multiplayer test underway, we caught up with game designer Magnus Jansén for an update on how World War III is shaping up.

In military operations, the goal is to locate and crush the enemy. That's certainly what you'll do in World in Conflict, a real-time strategy game set in World War III. In World in Conflict, you will command forces of the US, the Soviet Union, and NATO in epic battle. The game is about a Soviet invasion of the US, with American cities and towns as the battleground. You will request ground and air units and commit them to battle, destroying the landscape along the way. Developer Massive Entertainment is currently conducting a multiplayer alpha test of the game, which is due to ship later this year, and we caught up with designer Magnus Jansén for an update.

GameSpot: What sort of feedback have you received thus far from the ongoing multiplayer alpha test? Are there key changes or improvements that are being implemented because of that feedback?

Magnus Jansén: The alpha test was great, and we got a ton of feedback on all kinds of things. A lot was balancing, of course, but some of the forum people were very intelligent and well spoken, so several suggestions they made influenced feature decisions as well. It's always insightful (and scary as hell) to get comments from brand-new players who're seeing the game for the first time. The greatest thing for the team was that a lot of the feedback actually was very positive; the testers seem to like the direction the game is taking. After the test, we've reworked some things, like unit features and stats, the overall interface/presentation, as well as level design. The alpha test definitely made us more aware of what World in Conflict is, what it can be, and how we can make it one of the greatest games ever!

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

GS: What are the plans after the alpha test? Can we expect a more open public beta test anytime soon? Or will there be a single-player or multiplayer demo in the future?

MJ: We're planning on doing both. We really think that we can benefit from a beta test during the last months of development, and a demo is an excellent way of getting consumers to try the game before deciding on whether or not to purchase it. We expect to release the demo sometime around launch, and the beta test will take place sometime this summer.

GS: Massive recently revealed the third faction in the game: NATO. What can you tell us about NATO? How does it differ from the other factions in terms of weapons and capabilities?

MJ: Well, NATO finds itself in the middle of the US/Soviet conflict, trying to protect the European member countries from the Soviet invasion. The three factions all have their own unique sets of units that are equivalent to the other factions' units. Also, there are some tactical aids that are completely exclusive for each faction, and players are, of course, bound to find their favorites.

Nothing ruins your day more than heavy artillery.

GS: Will multiplayer allow you to play any faction against another? Or will you restrict it to solely an East/West confrontation, with the US and NATO against the Soviet Union?

MJ: They're map-based, which goes hand in hand with our aim to make World in Conflict a consistent, realistic game experience. Having the US and NATO, for instance, fight it out on Soviet soil just doesn't make any sense in that regard. Still, after discussing this with the e-sports organizers, we've realized that there may appear a need for completely free faction selection on all the maps, so it's definitely something we're thinking of implementing in some way. However, we're not sure what form this would take and to what extent it will go, but we're definitely evaluating the option.

Department of Farmland Security

GS: Is the "farmland" map seen in the alpha test adapted from a single-player campaign level or was it designed specifically for multiplayer purposes only? How many players can it support?

When a bomb absolutely, positively needs delivering, call the USAF.

MJ: All of our maps can support 16-player multiplayer, and all of the maps in single-player are available in multiplayer. The multiplayer mode will also get a number of exclusive maps that have been tailor-made from the start for the multiplayer modes.

GS: What are the keys to success on the farmland map? This really isn't the kind of game where you can win simply by "rushing" your opponent. What lessons can this map teach players?

MJ: The farmlands are levels with very open spaces and a lot of clear visibility. There are hardly any forests or buildings, and the bridges go from weak to pretty much nonexistent. Therefore, infantry is hard to use in the farmlands, armor can face some tough obstacles, and helicopters are dangerously vulnerable to anti-air fire, even though they're deadly against enemy ground units. All in all, the farmlands put both teams in an exposed state, where an aggressive style is a lot easier than a defensive one.

GS: How are World in Conflict maps different from those that Massive has made for earlier games, such as Ground Control, or from standard real-time strategy maps? What do you have to design for in a World in Conflict map?

MJ: When we started on WIC, we decided to really think of the maps as the main characters of the game. They should have as much depth, history, and variation as you would expect from the main characters in a great first-person shooter. I think that we've reached a new level of what part the maps play in the game. The surroundings influence the combat a lot more than they did in Ground Control, and with the great destructibility, you can alter the maps in so many ways. When you compare the serene and picturesque landscapes at the beginning of the game with the barren ruins at the end of an intense round, you can really sense the effects of war. The maps have a great strategic depth while still giving players a sense of their own might and power!

GS: The one thing that we discovered in the alpha test is that World in Conflict can be pretty wild with a large number of players on each team because each person has a role to play. But how does the game scale to one-on-one matches when you can't rely on others for support? Will you give each player more units in that situation or can the computer fill in the other player slots?

MJ: We've been hard at work on a team-play-aware artificial intelligence since the beginning of the project, and it's paying off in spades. The skirmish AI will eat you alive, and the reason for this is that the AI players communicate with each other (sending requests for help, etc.), just like a human team. If you chose to play alongside an AI player, you'll notice the team awareness since they answer your requests as well. So if you don't have any human players you can still experience the team play.

For those who absolutely must control all the units in battle, we have a mode where there are no roles and one player controls all units. It delivers an entirely different kind of experience while still keeping the tactical, action-packed combat intact. We will probably include the few-player settings in the beta, so stay tuned for a hands-on test.

The armored cavalry to the rescue!

GS: Finally, aside from the new NATO faction and the soundtrack consisting of some of the greatest hits from the 1980s, are there any more surprises waiting to be revealed for World in Conflict? Or is everything now revealed and it's just a matter of finishing the game?

MJ: There are a few nice surprises still waiting to be revealed, but we're not ready to spill the beans just yet! But we encourage everyone to sign up for the summer beta test to try out the game before it launches!

GS: Thank you.

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57 comments
__Imbaness__
__Imbaness__

Can be something, but it also can be nothing. Let's hope for the best.

ragod22
ragod22

ummmm, this game looks pretty crappy to me. Looks like a regular old RTS Spamfest with gameplay that folds to giant nukes. I dont see the opportunity to employ any real tactics.

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

This game looks graphically amazing.. and the gameplay just looks incredible too..

Fable_Lord
Fable_Lord

i am just loving this. *me wants the game now*

SMGrawks
SMGrawks

Alright, Red Dawn the videogame!

Iffy350
Iffy350

@Alcotamaysees - Um, its world war three buddy. They didn't have good anything in world war two except for the T-34

Kalionix
Kalionix

I played the Alpha, and let me say, this game is amazing. Even this early in, it is better than anything out there.... by far.

Alcotamaysees
Alcotamaysees

The games got to have aliens. Can't have a WWIII game without aliens, that's a fact!

markkilness
markkilness

they probably want to keep the interface a secret for some reason. I can not wait until this comes out!!!

Codename_MnM
Codename_MnM

The graphic look great but how about user interface? There's is no screen shot that shows how UI look like.

AntoniustheGrey
AntoniustheGrey

Looks pretty kewl...I wonder how it's going to pan out.

owman
owman

wtf? where is the russian speech like in bf2042?... gl.

balrog_360
balrog_360

But I don't wanna wait till Q3! Just let me at me at! ...Please?

EvoStvO
EvoStvO

Whoever passes this game up is going to miss out on one of the greatest games ever made..I Am an admin of a Giant gaming community and have played several RTS games..This game is worth the money I would pay $100 for this game...It is realy amazing.

step2ice
step2ice

The voice acting is horrible. No way my ears will tolerate that.

mOnKiLaiON
mOnKiLaiON

jajaja...lol...good looking..just that ... u__u!

LtHolt
LtHolt

How did you find out our plan!!! Now we'll need to invade another country, lol

Beesond
Beesond

I want them to add the evil Canadians. You know those bastards are gonna make their move anytime now. ^sarcasism by the way^

e1337prodigy
e1337prodigy

Sounds pretty good, might have to try the demo to see if it is my kind of game.

Jerian
Jerian

This game looks awesome!...Sans the 80's music

wis3boi
wis3boi

Looks very promising. I love the gameplay videos out now, the combat looks very realistic. Love not having bases and resources too. Nukes look very cinematic also. And I'm also glad they made the AI very good, cuz that's what RTS games need, whether you are playing a skirmish, campaign, or filling in slots in an online battle.

grasu
grasu

Fat_Zebra I'm also tired of not having European factions in any of these modern games. The world isn't just split up among China, US, Russia and some fictional Middle East association that would never exist in reality. So I much rather have NATO in there rather than nothing at all.

AXLE2
AXLE2

"While I am fully aware that games are not meant to fully resemble reality, I think it's a big mistake to have NATO as a separate faction in a video game, and clearly shows a lack of research on the part the developers. NATO could not, and would not in a hypothetical scenario develop as a separate faction, read the Treaty! And article 5 in particular. (Defending your allies, i.e. European Countries would defend the US.)" The_Fat_Zebra You know it is possible that the developers did their research and read the treaty, but still decided to use NATO as a separate faction. I see no harm in doing so.

walter_85
walter_85

Ya it is Massive Entertainment that has develop the game Sierra only publish it, and this i not any next gen Company of Heroes this is something much better! ;)

Glordit
Glordit

:shock: Sierra.... Next gen CoH!?

KillingRemmie
KillingRemmie

the graphics is soo nice :D think this is gonna be a company of heroes next-gen

Mohamed_h
Mohamed_h

decent effort , not bad at all !

Fyodor
Fyodor

Seems promising to me. But only time tell us fake this or not. Please release it ASAP!

DoctorFu
DoctorFu

Everyone listen, if Sierra makes it, it WILL be good. 'Nuff said.

Hotshot-1
Hotshot-1

I totally agree with The_Fat_Zebra. What I still don't understand however, is the type of game that World in conflict is. Will I be able to constantly replace my casualties like in Company of heroes for example, or I'll be restricted to a certain number of units to overwhelm my opponent, as in Sudden strike? Also, 1 of the developers said that it's not a story about good and evil, but all we see, is the Russians attacking first again. Believe me, in a real situation, both sides would have attacked simultaneously in order to gain a tactical advantage. In this way though, the Russian seem to be the bad guys!!! AGAIN!!!EUROPE RLLLLLLLLLLZ!!!

The_Fat_Zebra
The_Fat_Zebra

While I am fully aware that games are not meant to fully resemble reality, I think it's a big mistake to have NATO as a separate faction in a video game, and clearly shows a lack of research on the part the developers. NATO could not, and would not in a hypothetical scenario develop as a separate faction, read the Treaty! And article 5 in particular. (Defending your allies, i.e. European Countries would defend the US.) Since the story is based on a hypothetical scenario of historical and current developments, they should have taken the EU with its developing ESDP and its RRF. (European Security and Defence Policy, and Rapid Reaction Force respectively, which is 60.000 men strong in divisions of 1.500 men since this january.)

darkfox101
darkfox101

dontcare it would be better on PC.... just get a good PC and your experience will jump from fun to uber fun =D

zsc4
zsc4

I have a poor internet connection...it's not fair :(

AFWorm
AFWorm

You know, I may be tired of rts games. This one better break the mold and get my juices going again.

Genretik
Genretik

New-fangled MMORPG's, new, revolutionary, big RTS's, ultragory FPS's and other games... This'll be a good summer ^_^.

chrisser665
chrisser665

NOT FIRST. I wanna play.... I need to upgrade, damnit.

dontcare5454
dontcare5454

Was that a German plane at the end or am I seeing things? If so right on saaaweet and please bring this to the 360 c&c tib wars is awsomoe 4000 on it especially on live

cobrax80
cobrax80

this game is actually looking pretty cool.

NuclearDruid
NuclearDruid

Amazing game, can't wait for the full release.

Sandro909
Sandro909

Played the Alpha... pretty cool. There isn't much to it though. I got bored pretty quickly. :P

Homes225
Homes225

I wanna play.... So many RTS games coming out this year!