by Patrick Steinmann
previewed on PS3
“Madden at war”
When the lead designer Michael de Plater, of Total War fame, was asked how he would describe his latest baby, he said: “It’s like Madden at war”. Let’s find out why he made this somewhat awkward statement, and find out why RTS games might finally work out on consoles.
We should have seen it coming...
Set in the near future, EndWar will play in the year 2020. As a result of a global energy crisis (with Russia as the largest producer of oil and gas after Saudi-Arabia and Iran decide to nuke each other) and an offensively-oriented space-stationed missile attack system by the USA and the EU, World War 3 erupts. The three superpowers battle it out across the Northern Atlantic region, each striving for valuable energy resources and the upper hand in the all-out war erupting. This war, however, will focus on land-based combat, supported by low-level aircraft, as all three powers are afraid use their space-stationed weaponry for fear of equal retaliation. The developers have stated that because of the near-future setting, we won’t be seeing any far-out weaponry, but rather evolutions of today’s tools of destruction, as well as lots of stuff that’s being developed right now.
So, who will be part of the pan-European brawl? EndWar will feature three playable factions. The USA send their Joint Strike Force into battle, lead by a certain Scott Mitchell (for Ghost Recon players: yes, that one). The newly founded EF has its Enforcers Corp, and the Russians use their good old Spetznaz Brigades. A fourth NPC faction, the terrorists, will also be included. Each faction has its own specialities and talents. The JSF, modelled on today’s Marine Expeditionary Corps, focuses on speed and stealth, as well as numerous unmanned drones and robots. The EC, comprising veterans from various European peacekeeping missions, specializes in urban warfare as well as electronic and non-lethal weaponry. The Spetznatz, building on experience from various regional conflicts, simply tote the biggest guns, sacrificing mobility but packing one heck of a punch. On a side note, we’ve heard that not only will EndWar serve as a come-together for the storylines of Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, and Rainbow Six, but also that a guy named Fisher has made it all the way to president of the USA...
“Blue Team, capture Point Delta!”
The biggest selling point of EndWar, beyond its neat multiplayer options (see below), is the Voice Command option. If you wish, you can hook up a headset or microphone to whatever you’re playing the game on and direct your troops vocally. This not only should make things easier for console players (indeed, EndWar was planned as a console game from the beginning), but also give a true in-depth feeling to the game, because this is really how true generals command their troops. A basic command would then sound like this: “Blue Team, capture Point Delta!”, but we expect more complicated variants to be possible too. Soldiers will also respond to orders, give updates on the situation and give distress calls if they’re pinned down or wounded. Every brigade on the map has an individual sergeant with a distinct voice, so you’ll instantly know which unit is meant when you hear a frantic call for air support. According to the developers, the game will contain about 40,000 lines of speech, including 9,000 lines of “chatter” to fill the airwaves when you haven’t got anything to say (which presumable will be quite rare, seeing how action-packed this game will be).