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(hx) 03:47 PM CEST - Jun,11 2004
GGMania got a chance to talk with Petr Prohorenko, game designer and scenario
writer for Stalingrad, the upcoming WWII real-time strategy game that will be
published by 1C Company. He provided us with pretty interesting information and
four exclusive screenshots. The game is scheduled to be released this autumn,
but there's no US publisher yet.
GGMania: Please start off by introducing yourself and giving us an idea of
your involvement with Stalingrad
Petr Prohorenko: Petr
Prohorenko, game designer and scenario writer for Stalingrad.
GGMania: From where did you get the inspiration to make Stalingrad?
Petr Prohorenko: Most of
the contemporary realtime strategy titles try to reconstruct the entire WWII, or
global operations on a certain front. That's why developers have to leave out
details. If you want to embrace 6 years of conflict on different continents, you
will need a lot of resources. We chose different approach. We decided to take
one battle and scrutinize every minutest detail of it. With this method, we
could bind abstract missions to real battles; create maps based on real archive
documents, reconstruct unique objects and architecture. In result, we end up
with a game that would look like an interactive encyclopedia of come particular
episode of WWII. We chose Stalingrad battle, which fits this idea pretty well.
It spanned around 100 thousand sq. km, and involved over 2 million people. The
outcome of the battle was also very tangible. One of the most battle-worthy army
of Wehrmacht was eliminated. Military historians believe that Stalingrad battle
was the turning point for German campaign at the Eastern front. That's why we
chose it for the game.
GGMania: How authentic do you believe the models, maps to be, especially
compared to a lot of your competition?
Petr Prohorenko: We are
aiming for maximum authenticity. Maps and missions are created according to
aerial photos and tactical maps used during the war. Units are precise copies of
the real military machines, and missions are created with help of memoirs
written by participants of the battle. I can add that we have conducted a
serious historical research for Stalingrad. To write the scenario, I have read
dozens of books, studied archive photos and scanned lots of dedicated websites.
GGMania: How many different kinds of units are there and do they gain
experience, abilities or skills over time? What is one of your favorite units?
Stalingrad features over 150 types of infantry units and vehicles. Unlike their
Blitzkrieg counterparts, Stalingrad units are unable to gain experience and with
each mission, you take command over a new detachment. My unit of choice is
German experimental SP-gun Panzerselbstfahrlafette V "Sturer Emil" - huge clumsy
monster resembling an elephant. It's absolutely deadly for opponents, though.
GGMania: Will there be persistent heroes in Stalingrad?
Petr Prohorenko: Some missions feature real
generals and heroes of the Stalingrad battle (14th tank division commander
Ferdinand Heim and Russian sniper Vassily Zaitsev). However, for realism's sake
they are no different from the other units. They are introduced for authenticity
and do not form the core of player's forces.
GGMania: Could tell us a bit about the combat in Stalingrad?
Petr Prohorenko: Combat system of the game has been
revised and tweaked for more realistic combat. We changed units' firing range
and almost every other parameter they had, world parameters were also adjusted.
In result, although Stalingrad and Blitzkrieg look alike, combat system became
pretty much different than that of the original. Tanks are much harder to kill
now; they attack from significant distance and do not tend to "fence on their
guns". Infantry units were also changed.
GGMania: Could you describe the difference between Blitzkrieg and Stalingrad
Petr Prohorenko: We changed layout of interface
buttons, enlarged some elements (health bars, ammo bars) to make them easier to
spot and redesigned in-game screens.
GGMania: How many campaigns/ missions will there be, and how varied will they
Stalingrad features two large campaigns made of 7 chapters. They total 43
missions. We wanted to make them as diverse and as impressive as possible. In
Stalingrad, you'll encounter large-scale battles with dozens of tanks and
battalions of infantry, and also stealth missions, where player commands over
ten to twenty soldiers.
GGMania: Can you give us an example of specific missions in the game?
Petr Prohorenko: We are currently finalizing a
mission where player (in a role of reconnaissance detachment commander) conducts
secret operation behind enemy lines. He should scout crossings north to
Stalingrad, which could be used by German troops. Player is assigned a small
force (2 airborne platoons) and should leave landing zone ASAP, so that Russians
wouldn't spot him. After that, he must cross the road that is crammed by Soviet
tanks and proceed to deserted mines. Down there he will contact German
undercover agent (who looks like an ordinary villager), who reveals ammo depot
location and reports current situation in the region. After that, unit commander
disguises himself as a NKVD (that is soviet secret service) officer and explores
piers at the Volga river. After that, saboteurs should blow up heavy artillery
battery. I'd like to add that this doesn't go against the story of Stalingrad
battle; Germans did send airborne saboteurs to that region on August 23, 1942.
As you can see, this mission looks much like a quest in some RPG game rather
than conventional RTS mission. Stalingrad features a lot of diverse objectives,
so it's not about only special Commandos-style operations. Large-scale battles
are also present, where bigger army means better chance to win.
GGMania: What other gameplay elements in the game do you consider to be
important and/or unique? Will there be anything new that we've never seen
Petr Prohorenko: It's not separate elements that
make Stalingrad unique, but their combination that does. It seems that no one
ever tried to reconstruct a single battle in such detail as we do. I can recall
Close Combat 5 by Atomic Games, but in that game player could change history,
and his actions directly affect the "storyline". Stalingrad offers a kind of
"time travel", where player is able to participate in battle and see bloody bath
of the 1942 by himself.
GGMania: Stalingrad will utilize Blitzkrieg engine. Can gamers expect a huge
improvement in graphics?
Petr Prohorenko: You shouldn't expect too many
changes in graphics. In Stalingrad, buildings, units and objects are modeled
with more attention to detail than they were done in Blitzkrieg, but the core
technology remained the same.
GGMania: Why did you choose slightly dated Blitzkrieg engine?
Petr Prohorenko: Blitzkrieg project is the first
attempt of Russia-based firm to create an open architecture engine, which can
also be used by other developers. Several other projects based on this engine
were announced recently, which indicates that it was the right choice for us.
Although we suffered some setbacks, we would like to thank Nival for cooperation
and technology they provided. We could concentrate on making the game, not the
engine for it.
GGMania: What type of music will be played during the missions?
Petr Prohorenko: We have an exclusive soundtrack
created by St. Petersburg-based band
SKAFANDR, who play
dub-metal. It's rather dynamic and hardcore music, which we think fits bloody
battle of Stalingrad well.
GGMania: Will the game have a multiplayer mode? If so, what will it
Petr Prohorenko: Multiplayer mode will be
implemented in a special patch that will be shipped after the release of the
GGMania: What's the current status of the project, and what remains to be
Petr Prohorenko: We estimate that the game is
70-80% ready. We have finished all units, most of the units and objects.
Soundtrack is finished. All we've got to do is remaining art, finalize and
implement videos and test the project. We hope the game will be released Fall
GGMania: Which elements of Stalingrad do you feel you are the most proud of?
Petr Prohorenko: I believe players will appreciate
our efforts in reconstructing one of the pinnacle battles of WWII. We are proud
to work on Stalingrad battle, which we recreate in the virtual world of a
GGMania: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. Is
there anything else you'll like to tell our readers about?
Petr Prohorenko: We are glad to see that press is
interested in our project. We hope to deliver the game that will live up to
expectations. Stalingrad offers unique possibility to participate in epic battle
that took place over 50 years ago, so don't miss it.
|genre: real-time strategy|
publisher: 1C Company
|shadow||(11:05 PM CEST - Jun,12 2004 )|
|first an intro: ive been reading your great site for about a year hx
i love the constant updates and i check it out at least twice a day, your reviews are well judged and i know i can trust them
but these strategy game Q & A's and interviews are just lame yo...seriously man isnt there anything interesting to put on anymore? How bout hardware reviews or something?
|shadow||(11:08 PM CEST - Jun,12 2004 )|
|i dont mean to sound like a dick , but they are really boring|
|(12:30 AM CEST - Jun,13 2004 )|
|I've been so busy with work on forums/comments that I've had no time at all to play/review a game/hw. But I plan to write a couple of reviews next week. So stay tuned.|