Date of publish: 08/11/2020 09:43 CET
Urkanian developer GSC Game World is probably best known for their successful historical RTS series, Cossacks, which covers the European theater in a pre-industrial Europe. Taking that successful Cossacks formula, the team is now wrapping up work on another title, focused on a different part of the world. The soon-to-be-released American Conquest marries the proven real-time strategy formula of Cossacks with an unknown (at least for video games) era in history. American Conquest is an RTS set in the New World of the Americas, from the 16th through the 18th century. Players can take control of one of the three colonial powers (England, France and Spain) or one of the eight native civilizations (Incans, Aztecs, Iroquois, Huron, Pueblo, Delaware, Mayan and Algonquin). Massive battles with 16,000 units are possible with the improved 3D game engine, and the maps are four times larger than that of those found in Cossacks.
Since American Conquest will arrive in North American stores in just a few short days, The Wargamer sat down with developer Oleg Yavorskyy from GSC Game World to discuss the new title and what new experience it would offer to the historical RTS genre and player.
The Wargamer: What types of fans will really be able to sink their teeth into American Conquest? What games does this upcoming release credit its roots to?
Oleg Yavorskyy: American Conquest is a title for anyone interested in the military history of America. It spans over 300 years, offering plenty of colorful historical content in the interactive shell of game campaigns and missions. Apart from enriching their knowledge of history, players will be able to enjoy warfare in a true historical scope (up to 16,000 units on the map). American Conquest is our second historical real-time strategy after the Cossacks titles. The game has been developed d by the highly experienced Cossacks team, so you will find both good ideas from our first strategy title as well as plenty of new gaming concepts introduced by American Conquest.
WG: What kind of engine does American Conquest use? Will it be the same as the Cossacks series, will it be updated, or will it be a totally new engine?
OY: American Conquest exploits a revised Cossacks engine. The engine has been modified considerably and offers many new gameplay and graphical possibilities – for example, you can have up to 16,000 units on the map and units can now enter virtually any building and defend it from the inside. Each of the units is under the influence of morale; bullet and cannonball physics are true-to-life, and so on. As far as the landscape is concerned, engine modifications permit us to map up to six textures on one face to make the terrain look virtually photo-realistic.
WG: What is the timeline of American Conquest?
OY: The game spans through 300 years of American history, covering the period from Columbus’ discovery of the continent, up to the War of Independence in the States. Within this period we offer players five campaigns focusing on major military conflicts of the time. Technologies and armies will develop from simpler (early years) to more advanced (the 18th century), as players develop their infrastructures over the course of history in the game.
WG: What types of terrain features will appear in American Conquest? And will the game include both North and South America?
OY: In American Conquest, we tried to reproduce the terrain types you normally see in the Americas. Throughout the game you can feast your eyes on rocks, canyons, mountain streams, waterfalls and more. Additionally, we came up with four climate zones – northern, moderate, desert and tropics – so that players can select between them before the game starts. The zones provide different sets of both greenery and wildlife. In the northern area, for instance, you will find vast spaces filled with evergreens, bison, bears, etc, while in the tropics you’ll make your way through dense tropical forests and encounter crocodiles, pumas, etc. Animals can serve as a source of food, as many nations are able to hunt. At the same time, migrating wild animals can pose a serious threat to a player’s encampment, especially at the game start when there are no military units to defend your base against their raids.
WG: Will units speak in their native languages?
OY: No, units will not have this capability in the game. We thought it would be too confusing for the player to have several thousand units of his army gabbing simultaneously.
WG: What major conflicts are the developers planning to portray in American Conquest?
OY: The player will fight on the side of European conquerors or as Native Americans to defend their lands and liberties. Thus, in Pizarro’s campaign, the player will sack the golden Inca Empire Tawantinsuyu, then participate in the 7-Year’s War, the War of Independence and Tecumseh’s rebellion against the US. Several campaigns can be played through as either warring side. While playing through American Conquest, players will learn how to act tactically and strategically, besiege encampments, develop their small forts into powerful cities and so on.
WG: What types of military units can the player expect to see in the game? Will civilizations have unique units? And what types of naval units (if any) will be represented? Will artillery and naval bombardment be featured?
OY: Each of the game’s 12 nations possesses 3-5 unique units and a totally unique building architecture. The set of units was selected according to historical research and is specific to each nation. Basic unit types are – peasants, archers, spear throwers, warriors with slingshots, warriors with air guns, harquebusiers, musketeers/fusiliers, musket-armed dragoons/native horsemen, pistol-armed riders, pikemen, mounted pikemen, cannons and ships. Naval battles are also featured in the game. Canoes for Native American nations and rowboats for Europeans and US troops have been added specifically for these battles. Additionally, the latter factions will have three large battle vessels, modeled according to the vessels Columbus used during his first voyage to America. These ships will be very expensive, but at the same time will serve a powerful addition to their owner’s forces. The most powerful game vessel is the frigate, capable of mighty multi-cannon broad salvos over immense distances. Ferryboats will serve as transport ships for all nations.
WG: Is there a city-building aspect to American Conquest? Can the player build military complexes including walls, garrisons and forts? If so, do the individual civilizations have different architectural styles?
OY: The city-building aspect in American Conquest is a bit different than what you saw in Cossacks, as players can now garrison troops inside buildings, turning their bases into a powerful bulwark.
Specifically because of this feature we rejected walls in favor of blockhouses. The Fort serves as a basic defense structure in the game. The set of buildings varies for each nation; mainly all of them have a uniquely built mill, storehouse, temple, town center and some other structures. The style, look and possibilities of similar-type buildings for each nation are different. For instance, the structures of the Sioux tribe in the game are mainly tepees and can be dismantled and set up in different locations, while the buildings of the US are large, solid ones. It was very interesting, and sometimes challenging, to recreate the architecture of some of the game nations (mainly those of Native Americans). We owe a great deal of thanks to our tireless historical advisor and to the community who helped to sort out all the problematic issues surrounding the graphical and textual contents of the game.
WG: Will any famous historical leaders be featured?
OY: The single-player game will offer insight into the stories of such historical personalities as Columbus, Pizarro, George Washington, Tecumseh and many more. The player will fight on the side of European conquerors, as well as on the side of the Native Americans to defend their lands.. Additionally, prior to each mission, the player will find voiced information on the historical event featured in the mission he is about to play.
WG: What type of multiplayer capability will be included with the game?
OY: American Conquest will provide a good selection of multiplayer modes to play. First, the player will have our standard deathmatch and historical battle modes. We preserved the global rating of players system introduced with Cossacks: The Art of War as well as the automated system of championships and VIZOR game viewing system offered by Cossacks: Back to War. A totally new mode of Internet play in American Conquest is War for America. Here players join one of the 12 game nations, and then, fighting on the side of its troops, attempt to capture the land of their neighbours. Both American continents have been modelled and then divided into tiny bits of land that players can fight for. The only way to capture a part of an enemy’s land is to win a game of American Conquest.
Written by Lloyd Sabin
Original date of publish: 23.01.2003