Date of publish: 23/10/2020 9:10 CET
Few wars span the time and geographic size of the Napoleonic Wars. Among historians, Napoleon is a teacher of history, tactics and politics. Among lay society, he is an enigmatic hero often wrapped in romance. CDV plans to dispell some of the myth and bring to life the history of this era though Cossacks II: The Napoleonic Wars. Eugene Grygorovych, Project Manager for Cossacks II, took the time to answer some our questions regarding this upcoming RTS and it’s painstaking detail to historical accuracy – even if it does allow Napoleon to rule Europe, or nothing at all!
GI.n: Please tell us something about your background and what led you to getting involved in computer game design.
Eugene Grygorovych: My name is Eugene Grygorovych; I’m the Project Manager of Cossacks II: Napoleonic Wars. Initially I started as Assistant Producer when my older brother invited me to join the company. Needless to say, games have been my passion since early childhood.
GI.n: The Napoleonic wars run from 1769 to 1820, will the game cover the entire period and in order of actual events?
Eugene Grygorovych: Yes, the game focuses exactly on that historical period. With that thought in mind, we took careful study of all available literature about Napoleonic time aiming to achieve maximum authenticity in the game. Our learning process included multiple visits to historical battle re-enactment sites. Therefore, Cossacks II can be viewed as a game encyclopedia of that period of history. We will have both true-to-life historical battles where you can oppose a computer rival or another player, and real-life military leaders, whose names are known and remembered by history buffs, as easily recognizable units.
GI.n: Since the various battles and events occur throughout Europe and parts of the Mediterranean, will the game maps cover that entire area? Or will you only be able to see small parts of it at any one time?
The game will offer a global map of Europe which fully recreates the true-to-life map of the 19th century, as well as local map of sectors, each representing the landscape of a particular area with as much realism as possible. Thus, you will easily recognize the characteristic outlines of Italy once you fall upon its local map, and by attacking any of its sectors you will see its geographical (global) map and in-game (local) map corresponding to each other.
GI.n: Will there be an option to run the conquest of Europe in terms of who and what battles we fight? Or will the game only follow actual historical events and timelines? You mention in your FAQ that you will be able to reenact a variety of Battles, did you build your missions around these battle fields? (i.e. will the Hougoumont house and other Farms be on the Waterloo battle field?)
Eugene Grygorovych: The campaign objective is to establish your supremacy in Europe. Choose one of six nations that you wish to play (Britain, Russia, France, Prussia, Austria or Egypt) – and start conquering sectors of the neighboring states in any sequence you like. Therefore, the game has no “missions” as such. We are rather talking about freedom of actions and non-linear play-through. Speaking of true-to-life historical details in the campaign, it is about preserving the types and characteristics of military units, providing true-to-life historical characters as commanders in the game, and on top of that, playing on the map of Europe of the 18th-19th centuries.
If you are up to experiencing one of the six historical battles, try the Battle mode. In this mode you’ll be able to participate in one of the six key historical clashes of the Napoleonic time: the battles of Austerlitz, Ulm, Preussisch-Eylau, Wagram and the battle at the Egyptian pyramids. The events will take place on maps recreated from the historical data of the conflicts. We have also ensured the balance of forces and location of troops are preserved. The further development of events is up to the player – he’s to decide where to direct his troops and how to act. In order not to have the battles drag on eternally, we’ve introduced a certain resources limitation in Battles. A passive commander may lose his army by simply having it starve to death, while a too wasteful one may lose out the entire stock of gunpowder. Also, in this mode you will be unable to build troops, fighting only with the forces initially provided at your disposal, which makes you preserve your soldiers and apply tactical tricks as opposed to blunt rush.
GI.n: If I understand the FAQ correctly the game is based around you, the player, defeating the forces under the command of Napoleon. Is this a correct interpretation? Or will you also be able to play the part of Napoleon?
Eugene Grygorovych: In the game you’ll be able to play for any of the six nations represented and turn history in a way you want it. It’s a possibility that Napoleon manages to conquer the entirety of Europe this time around, or it may happen that Egyptian Bedouins show up on snowy Russian expanses. Or perhaps the Don Cossacks will ride through European cities to reach the great pyramids of North Africa. All will depend entirely on whether you are capable of accomplishing your plans with regards to ruling in Europe.
GI.n: Cossacks II seems more of a grand strategy game than a small unit tactics game, where you will generally be commanding entire armies rather than squads and platoons. Can you give us a breakdown of the types of units and their sizes that will be available, as you know at this time?
Eugene Grygorovych: Formation is a key battle unit in Cossacks II. A formation is a unified body and is as easy to control as a single unit. A formation may contain from 15 units (chasseurs) up to as many as 120 (linear infantry). At the same time the formation has a number of solid bonuses and advantages versus single and split units. First of all, there are different types of formations and high morale. There are 3 types of formations in the game – column, line and square. Each of these types is effective for different situations. Column is a marching formation allowing troops to move without getting tired. Line is a type of formation effective for delivering maximum damage to enemy. When in line, it is possible for the formation to assume a stand ground position and obtain a strong front attack defense bonus. The last type of formation, square, is effective when fighting against cavalry and provides for a solid defense bonus too. The downside is that a squad in this formation cannot move.
As for the unit peculiarities, each of them has narrow specialization. Chasseurs are few in numbers, but can run fast across the countryside and possess a great shot power. Roughly, it’s a counterpart of modern snipers. A formation of linear infantry is effective in major battles. A salvo delivered by a ‘line’ inflicts maximal damage on the enemy. Grenadiers stand out from the other types of infantry – they are strong in close combat and have a stock of grenades which they can use to destroy an entire enemy squad. Cavalry formations are small but fast, mobile and effective against infantry – they are a perfect choice for capturing settlements, dominances, and exhausting and eliminating single enemy squads. Artillery at the same time is capable of gradual, methodical killing of the live enemy force and demolishing structures when firing cannonballs, while at the same time can perfectly ‘mow’ the enemy lines when shooting grapeshot point-blank. In other words, each type of units will find its unique use in the game.
GI.n: Will the types of units available be specific to the country they come from?
Eugene Grygorovych: The gameplay is ultimately based on the difference and uniqueness of each type of troops. Even the common types of units (for instance, musketeers, grenadiers, hussars) for each nation have their own peculiarities dealing with either combat characteristics or cost and building time. As for the nations, each of them will have a minimum of 2-3 unique unit types, characteristic for this nation only. For instance, Russian Cossacks, French voltigeurs, Egyptian archers or Prussian black corps – all of them will be available to a certain side only.
GI.n: Does the game take into account skill, morale, and technology based on the country of origin?
Combat experience and morale will be calculated in the same way for all the nations, but as far as the tech tree is concerned, we’ve done a number of simplifications in the sequel. Due to the short time span in which the game events are set, the number of upgrades adds up to a handful. Cossacks II is primarily a tactical game. Nevertheless, the nations will possess their own distinctive features and possibilities available exclusively to them. For example, Russia will be able to construct extra mills, which will make it forget about any problems with food, while Britain can build factories producing gunpowder. Egypt has access to constructing barracks right at the game start, while the rest have to start from town center. The Egyptians can also render upgrades for their troops by improving the fencing skills of warriors with yataghan. The key difference though lies in the variety of unique units for each nation. While Austria, France and Russia have a great number of cavalry types, Britain and Egypt will be very poor in this respect. However, the strongest infantry is the British, and Egyptian warriors with yataghan are very strong in melee combat. In short, there will be quite a few differences between nations, but on the military side of the game rather than the economic one.
GI.n: Considering the time period, will the game take into account the limits of communication of the time? For instance, will units that are farther away from the source of the commands be slower to react, or have a chance to misinterpret the commands that were issued?
Eugene Grygorovych: An interesting idea, but we decided to stick to a traditional approach here, as such a feature could be a risk of irritation to many, even experienced gamers. A commander in the game is a virtual military leader, on behalf of whom you command. That’s why all the orders given to your squads will be accomplished straight away, as in other real-time strategies.
GI.n: Will the season, weather and/or environment have an effect on battles and the way in which the troops act and react?
Eugene Grygorovych: We do not provide for change of seasons and weather effects in the game. That’s why they won’t be impacting the actions and condition of units. On the other hand, such factors as fatigue, morale, hunger, enemy death and others will be of huge impact.
GI.n: Will you have a core set of troops that will stay with you from battle to battle?
In the campaign the troops which you have managed to preserve in battle will go from mission to mission, gaining experience and increasing their combat characteristics. Therefore the effectiveness of their actions in battle will be much higher than that of the other squads re-united. In case a squad has fled as a result of hostilities, it is considered a defeated one.
GI.n: Will the units under your command gain experience as they progress through the battles? (e.g.. will their “fighting spirit” become stronger etc..)
Eugene Grygorovych: As mentioned above, the troops at your command will have their experience points grow by killing the enemy squads. The experience is of influence, first off, on morale as a highly important formation parameter. Because of morale, warriors in formation are a unified whole. It’s next to impossible to scatter a squad with high morale parameters – the opponent will have to exterminate it all to gain victory.
GI.n: How will beginners to the genre be introduced to the game? How do you think beginning players will react to the complex historical background, vast size of the armies, and advanced tactical elements?
Eugene Grygorovych: The game is simple to master. We created a user-friendly interface and all the actions there are very intuitive. That’s why it will be easy for true Napoleons to pick up, as well as the casual gamers who deprive themselves of the joy of sleepless nights at the computer. The game can be played through by clicking your mouse only and without using the keyboard, as well as by learning all the hot-keys (of which there will be quite a few). At the same time players will find an array of options of warfare tactics, a variety of tactical devices to bring the variety in the game to the next level if compared to the original Cossacks game.
GI.n: Do you have plans for a third game in the series?
Eugene Grygorovych: Right now we focus on completing the sequel. We’ll keep you informed of the news. 🙂
Written by Demiurgoss
Original date of publish: 28.09.2004