When Company of Heroes was released in 2006, it filled a void in the game industry - a halfway decent real-time strategy game set in World War II. In fact, it did more than fill the void: CoH has won over 20 awards and still remains the highest rated strategy game of all time.
Company of Heroes offered a completely immersive gameplay experience; blending vivid, fluid animations with a phenomenal soundscape along with intelligent AI and well-researched historical accuracy, it was a genre-defining game that is still played and thoroughly enjoyed by millions of people. And the addition of two expansion packs, Opposing Fronts and Tales of Valor, have kept the appetites of WWII RTS fans whetted. (1)
So it's no surprise, then, that a sequel has been announced to a good deal of fanfare.
Company of Heroes 2 is expected to be released sometime in 2013. Whereas the first installment(s) of the series were set in Western Europe (specifically centered around the Invasion of Normandy in 1944 and the operations that followed, e.g. Market Garden, etc), CoH 2 will be set in Eastern Europe, following the conflicts between the German Army and the Red Army. Missions will span during the timeframe of Operation Barbarossa (Germany's invasion of Russia) to the Battle of Berlin (whereupon Hitler became an hero and the war began to draw to a close). (1)
A major objective of Relic Studios in the production of Company of Heroes 2 is historical authenticity. The team has traveled to Germany and Russia to take pictures of uniforms, guns, tanks, locations, and so on, and, like any good production studio, has amassed a library of historical firearm and vehicle sound effects. The studio is aiming to immerse itself in history so as to make a game which does the same for the player. More on Relic's historical accuracy endeavors can be had here
. (2, 4)
CoH 2 will make use of the Essence 3 engine. The original Essence engine was developed entirely in-house by Relic for Company of Heroes. It featured various lighting effects ("high dynamic range lighting, dynamic lighting and shadows, advanced shader effects and normal mapping"), as well as real-time physics, facial expression animation, variable weather effects, variable times of day, and so on. (3) Essence 2 was introduced in Dawn of War II (and its sequel and stand-alone expansions) and allowed, "for more detailed models and textures; more advanced lighting and shading effects," among other features. (3)
Company of Heroes
Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II
Essence 3 will, ideally, be pretty advanced and will build on the facial animation, lighting, and physics effects which have characterized the Essence engine thus far. From the looks of screenshots released heretofore, it looks pretty snazzy.
Company of Heroes 2
Rating aka a list of the horrible images your poor baby will be exposed to
Company of Heroes 2, like its predecessors, will be rated M. According to the Company of Heroes Facebook page here
, it will be rated as such for Blood and Gore, Strong Language and Violence. (2) Whether or not this is an actual ESRB designation is up for debate, as the previous installments have received "Intense Violence" as opposed to just plain 'ol "Violence." Either way, CoH 2 will obviously continue the preceding games' legacy of immersive, realistic, violent gameplay. People will likely still be blown apart by artillery, writhe on the ground after being shot, and curse at each other, their situations, and their enemies. Good fun for all.
Why You Should be Interested
Company of Heroes (and its expansions) were phenomenal games. They were set apart by their well-researched historical accuracy, great game engine, captivating gameplay, and a huge amount of fun and replay value. Company of Heroes requires you to really think through your strategies as there isn't a massive amount of resources (unless your matches are on huge maps and last for a long
time). It manages to create some level of attachment between the player and the units; infantry will chat while idle and holler while fighting. It creates a certain image of "Commander" for the player without being campy and over-the-top (a la RA3 and the like). In short, despite being a violent (but accurately violent
) strategy game where the player is hovering over the battlefield, there is a distinct human element to the game which not only endears the player but also makes them want to continue playing for a long time.
Company of Heroes 2, as the first full sequel to the original, promises to build on the original without completely reworking it; after all, there's only so much wiggle room with a historical game, and a historical game that has proven its gameplay is already top-notch at that. Its coverage of the "other half" of the War in Europe will be markedly different from the original's France-based locale, but definitely
in a good way. The new-and-improved Essence 3 engine looks awesome and will provide that eye candy that so many gamers are obsessed with nowadays, but its meat and potatoes (history, gameplay, fun) will still provide a more than solid foundation for a game which, if the original is any indication, will likely win a plethora of awards upon release.
More can be found on the franchise at the CoH website here
Updates on CoH 2 can and will be lapped eagerly from these two direct sources (2):
IGN's mostly useless page on the game is here
; while it's short on actual written details, it does have links to a few vidyums which may or may not interest you. They should. (5)
Finally, if you're one of those slacker-gamer types who doesn't really care about school but just loooooves to down Monster and play Cawl of Doodie 4-8 (except 5 because TOO HISTORICALLY), but are interested in this game, please do yourself a favor and get some background knowledge here
. (6) You should
know this stuff anyway, but if you don't, now is as good a time as any to start edumacating yourself on what is arguably the most significant course of events in the 20th century. Slacker.
That's about it. I hope at least some of you are looking forward to this as much as I am. I still remember buying CoH Gold Edition a few years ago. Speaking of which, if you don't have it, you ought to buy either the Gold Edition (CoH + Opposing Fronts or the CoH Anthology (all 3). It's cheap by now, and still a lot of fun.
tl;dr I couldn't believe there wasn't already a thread for this game and it's going to be great and you should get it because I am going to get it.
(not MLA or whatever; sue me)
1. Company of Heroes Wikipedia
2. Company of Heroes Facebook
3. Essence Engine Wikipedia
4. Company of Heroes 2: Creating an Authentic Experience by Anthony Gallegos IGN
, July 6, 2012 (aka D-Day anniversary, slacker)- http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/07/...tic-experience
5. Company of Heroes 2 IGN
6. World War II Wikipedia
7. Company of Heroes Home Page Relic Entertainment
Images, in order of appearance-
All CoH2 screenshots (f. through i.) are from (http://www.videogamer.com/pc/company...reenshots.html