Daily Radar: What features will make Cossacks different from other RTS titles out there?
Sergiy Grygorovych: First of all, Cossacks is of a much larger scale than all the RTS games you’ve seen before. Players will be able to get everything they have dreamt of all in one game.
We have an original economic system. Units consume resources while artillery and riflemen require coal and iron to shoot. Infantry formations will allow you new tactical and strategic advantages. 3D landscape affects units’ and towers’ range of fire, which makes it an important tactical factor. Network mode offers Historical Battles with accurately modeled real historical combats.
DR: What can we look forward to from the single-player game?
SG: Apart from campaigns, single-player will include Tutorial, 10 single missions and random map mode, where a player can choose one of 16 nations he is willing to battle for. In random map mode players can select an initial quantity of natural resources and deposits, type and nature of the ground, and the number of computer rivals. This all will provide a player with multitude of playing opportunities and challenge their strategic and tactical aptitude.
DR: How much emphasis have you placed on multiplayer options?
SG: Cossacks’ multiplayer includes classical deathmatch and a new mode invented by us called Historical Battles. The latter offers two players the chance to stage a battle which took place in reality several centuries ago.
For example, there are battles of Poltava, White Mountain, Lepzig, Narva and more modeled for the game. Battles are based on true-to-life facts, so players are given a chance to rewrite history in their own way.
DR: What other titles do you rate in the RTS genre and why?
SG: Our favorite RTS games are WarCraft II and Total Annihilation. We also spent quite a lot of time playing Age of Empires I. Apart from being very interesting in their own right, these games served as a new stage in RTS evolution.
DR: What can we expect from the game’s AI?
SG: The AI uses many tactical tricks and techniques. That’s why players will find it tough to win on hard and very hard levels of difficulty. With easy and normal modes the task will not be that daunting, as the AI is feeble. Generally AI uses complex attack and defense methods: sallies, mass frontal attacks, use of artillery and infantry combinations. We tried to make the AI response to various game situations as “natural” as possible. The AI can see the weak spots in a player’s defense line and assault them smartly.
DR: How easy will the title be for gamers new to the RTS genre?
SG: Players who are totally unaware of RTS games may find the game rather complicated, though on getting to know the game closer, they will surely like it. Casual strategy fans will find Cossacks very interesting.
DR: What missions can we expect the game to include?
SG: There are four huge campaigns containing 33 missions based on true-to-life events from European history. The campaigns are as follows: English, French, Ukrainian and Russian. Missions include both standard development-focused ones and those where a player has to carry out strategic and tactical maneuvers, often with a limited number of units.
DR: Tell us about the game’s user interface. Have you tried to keep it as simple as possible?
SG: The interface was created in a way to make it as simple and handy as possible for such a large-scale game. Among our interface peculiarities there are two mini-map modes and a special pointer — to enable a player not just outlining of units, but also controlling the way they will line up after moving to some spot. There’s also a special icon to give a player the quickest access to all the unit formations they have.
DR: How detailed will the resource management aspect of the game be?
SG: As we consider battles to be the primarily attractive element of RTS, the resource system has been simplified to allow players to focus more on warfare. There are six resources to be procured in the game: food, wood, stone, gold, coal and iron. All the resources are bottomless.
DR: Would you say this game is aimed at hardcore fans or the casual gamer?
SG: We expect the game to be interesting for both, because there are various difficulty levels in the game and a casual player may start with an easy, while a seasoned player will choose hard. Generally the game is aimed at people who have at least a tiny bit of experience in playing other RTS games.
DR: Any plans to move into console development?
SG: We’re considering this for the moment, but I guess it will not be the easiest of things to play an RTS game without a mouse. That’s why I cannot say for sure we’ll port Cossacks onto a console.
DR: Can you confirm a US release for us?
SG: Cossacks is expected to hit the American market on March 30, 2001. Right now we’re preoccupied with a Cossacks add-on and a couple of new projects. The official publisher in the US is Strategy First.