HC.Gamer: Please introduce yourself and your team! Since when do you create pc games?
Eugene Grygorovych: I’m Eugene Grygorovych, the Project Lead for Cossacks 2: Napoleonic Wars. Our team at GSC Game World has a huge experience in creating strategy games, as we started back in 1999 with working on the original Cossacks title. We are all excited about the upcoming release of Cossacks 2 and work hard to make this happen soon.
HCG: How successful was Cossacks: European Wars in your country and the world? How many copies did you sell? How many people are still playing Cossacks: European Wars on the net?
EG: Cossacks is not only the top successful project of 2001 throughout Ukraine and CIS, but also one of the most popular RTSs worldwide. According to the latest sales reports, there have been over 2.5 million copies of the original game sold worldwide, but for ex-USSR, and the total amount would be over 4 million copies! The game is still very popular and keeps selling. Far from only playing over the Internet and LAN, the game fans also create their own patches, mods and encyclopaedias. At the moment there are about 50000 of active players of Cossacks on the Internet.
HCG: What will be the difference between the two games? Do I need to play with the first game or the Napoleonic Wars will be “easy-to-learn” for those people who missed the European Wars?
EG: The sequel is designed as a logical continuation of the original game. The second part is not related to the original game. It’s built on a new version of Cossacks engine. The game is designed as easy-to-master and user-friendly. That doesn’t mean hardcore players will find it uninteresting though. A variety of tactical tricks, increased unit limit, unique troop types, non-linear Campaign storyline as well as combats in Battles and Skirmish modes will all provide a huge basis for the players to apply their strategic skills and plans of scope no less than those of Napoleon!
HCG: Why did you choose the Napoleonic wars for the settings of the game?
EG: Firstly, the sequel chronologically continues the events of the first game part. Secondly, the Napoleon’s epoch looks like one of the top popular history periods today. The assumption has been well justified at the various historic battles re-enactments that we took part in. The events attract thousands of history buffs and fans of military history, while hundreds of thousands would visit just to observe the happenings. Guys would re-create the uniforms, weapons only to immerse into the authentic atmosphere of Napoleonic battle several times a year – that’s amazing! The genius of the French Emperor is undeniable, that’s why when we put very challenging tasks, which are frequently next to impossible, we call our plans napoleonic. That’s a kind of task the player will receive in the game – to conquer the entire Europe.
HCG: What nations can we choose in the game? Only the french or more?
EG: The game will present 6 playable factions. Apart from the French, you will be able to play for Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and Egypt.
HCG: What will you develop deeper: the economic system or the units and fights?
EG: We have considerably simplified the economic system of the game to, on the contrary, provide the player with more possibilities of war strategies and tactics. Therefore, the focus of Cossacks 2 is on tactical and positional war. If we’d view the gameplay process, it’s 90% of warring and 10% of economy. To the pleasure of hardcore gamers, we’ve implemented more of gameplay diversity through available tactical tricks, the impact of morale and fatigue, as well as troops characteristics, role of stand ground ability, use of landscape advantages and much more.
HCG: What kind of units can we have in the game? Please introduce them! Will there be any heroes and will they give some kind of moral effect for their units?
EG: The basis of combat power for each nation is made of unique unit types. For example, the black Prussian corps, Don and Black Sea cossacks of Russia, voltigeurs of France, Highlanders of Britain etc. Egypt’s units are virtually all unique and the players will find this nation drastically different from the European ones.
The game will provide for a virtual commander controlling your troops, one of the true-to-life historic personalities of the time. The player will have a selection of 5-6 military commanders, including Napoleon Bonaparte himself. It should be noted though, they are not present on the battlefield and provide for no bonuses to troops. Still though, having started the game in the rank of lieutenant with several infantry troops on hands, they will be gaining experience for successful operations and after accomplishing side quests, which will allow them to grow in rank and, as a result, to gain access to new troop types, as well gather numerous troops into a controlled armies.
HCG: How big role will the formations and moral play in Napoleonic Wars?
EG: Formations are a cornerstone of the game. As known from history, at the time of Napoleonic wars, it was sometimes enough to destroy 25-30% of enemy troops to have the rest of the hostile troops flee. We have made use of that fact in the game. The higher the morale of a squad – the more resistant it will be to losses in battle. And the formula works vice versa too.
The very formations in the game are the key units possessing advantage over single or multiple disordered units. It is only formations in the game which possess a considerable bonus to morale and ability to re-arrange into various formations: line, square, column. Each of the formations has been enabled with its own peculiarities. In column a squad would move along the roads without getting tired, while in line it would deliver maximal damage and be able to adopt stand ground, and finally a formation in square would receive bonuses to defence, but would not be able to move. Therefore, the player indulging in a Cossacks 2 session should take these two points into account as the key gameplay element.
HCG: Please give me a detailed description about the gameplay!
EG: The player will combat on two levels, the so called global and local one. The global level is represented by map of Eorupe split into sectors, each originally belonging to one of the nations in the game. The player will start moving from one of the sectors trying to conquer the entire continent ultimately. Once the player has chosen a sector to assault, the game on local level (i.e. on in-game maps starts). In order to conquer the entire Europe the player will also need to think strategically, apply diplomacy, upgrade defence of his sectors and so on.
I wouldn’t like to indulge into many details here, but rather preserve the moment of learning more about play-through for the players themselves. This way it makes it more interesting for each of us I guess 🙂
HCG: What kind of missions can we play? Are these going to be hard?
EG: The Campaign missions are about either defeating major forces of the enemy in certain sector, or capture of cities and control points. And on top of that – side quests. As for the tricks you will apply to achieve these goals, as far as succession of actions and ways to solve tasks are concerned – everything depends on the player’s skills and likings here. It might turn out challenging at the beginning. But as you master the variety of tactical ways and diverse game possibilities, the experience and confidence of your actions will be there. Then the things which seemed tough will turn out easy and captivating.
The way of solving tasks will depend on the player’s preferences, his abilities, the placement of forces, as well as the nation chosen. At some spots it’s better to play from defensive putting stake on counter-attacking, while at some other ones – on quick, targeted strokes with subsequent withdrawal of troops, and at certain situations the best tactics may be a conflict with outmanoeuvring or exhausting the opponent.
HCG: What kind of strategic manouvers will be the key elements of winning?
EG: The game provides for a variety of them and there’s no universal recipe to apply for gaining victory. Maneuvers into the enemy rear, quick location-targeted cavalry rides, use of landscape advantages, wearing out the opponent, methodic eliminating the enemy soldiers by use of artillery, capture of strategic objects, apt use of stand ground bonuses and high morale factor – this is the incomplete list of means and methods to achieve victory. Taking into account the possibility to combine them, there is a big pool of actions, and the result is depending on how timely and considered the players decisions are.
HCG: Please introduce the economic system!
EG: The economy in sequel is based on capturing settlements which procure 4 out of 6 resources in the game. Mines and mills provide for your coal stock, so as iron, gold and food, and it’s only two resources, namely wood and stone which are procured by peasants themselves (skirmish). Besides, in the Campaign, the resources are provided by captured sectors, while each of them has a prevailing procurement and production of one of these resources. By capturing a village, you will secure the inflow of a correspondent resource type, this resource to be delivered to your base by supply wagons. By blocking roads the wagons move through, you can stop the supply of resources into the enemy camp, i.e. create economic blockade. The overall game economy has been simplified preserving more time for the wargaming experience.
HCG: What can you tell us about the AI?
EG: You will find the AI much more potent than in the previous installments. The AI weighs up its decisions here. Up to 40 various parameters are taken into account and depending on the computations, different orders will be given. On the top difficulty level our testers used to be hopeless against the computer. So we had to simplify its wit a little bit 🙂
HCG: Please introduce the multiplayer mode!
EG: We will provide for as LAN-based game, so as the Internet play. In Skirmish and Battles up to 7 players will be able to join in at a time, sharing the responsibilities of gameplay control among themselves. Additionally, via the Internet you can take part in rating-focused games to seek the prevailance of your nation over Europe. The militiary achievements here will find their adequate reflection graphically on the global map. The mode of fight here is 1 vs 1.
HCG: The screenshots are beautiful! Please tell me something about the graphics!
EG: We have combined 2D graphics with 3D, having attained good performance while the beauty of the picture remains the same. More than that, the graphics will still be improved. Still having some time now before the release, we decided to add extra improvements to the graphical game’s part. We have done redesigning of landscapes, rivers, seas – all got to look even more realistic. Check out the latest screenshots to see the improvements.
HCG: Can we expect a demo? If yes, when?
EG: We are thinking of releasing a demo. But let it come as a surprise 🙂
HCG: When will the game be released?
EG: We target the February-April 2005 span for release, depending on the territory.
HCG: Please tell me some cool confidential information about Napoleonic Wars ;-)!
EG: According to our confidential sources, the wars were not won by Americans 🙂
HCG: Finally, is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
EG: We’d like to wish all the readers more of decent and captivating games, so as patience in waiting for these games to come out. On top of that, our best regards and thanks to the players who have been supporting us through all this time!
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CONTENT:
Date of publish: 23.12.2004
Language of publish: english