Relic Entertainment has unveiled the Theater of War mode for World War 2 real-time strategy game Company of Heroes 2.
It's a series of additional single-player and co-op challenges and missions set on the Eastern Front. Each revolves around battles from a particular year of the war, and features unique units and special abilities that reflects the strategy used by the armies at the time.
Company of Heroes 2 comes with the Theater of War 1941 pack, which features Soviet and German missions (each faction has nine unique missions included). At a recent event we played a number of these missions. One saw us defending a control point against increasingly powerful waves of German attacks. The other challenged us to destroy a number of German encampments dotted across the map within a set time limit.
The Theater of War is designed to give experienced players a challenge, so is tuned particularly tough, but you can adjust the difficulty level.
Relic intends to build on the Theater of War with downloadable content post-launch, taking players through the years of the conflict. The idea is that you're carried geographically across the front. In 1942, for example, the battle lines will look different than they did in 1941.
"That means new commanders, later war units and new battles players haven't experienced that take place in different parts of the war," Company of Heroes 2 game director Quinn Duffy told Eurogamer.
"We'd like to make these pretty substantial packs of co-op scenarios, challenges and AI battles, which are scripted battles on existing maps. We've never really supported our long-term co-op or comp stomp players. We've got guys who've play against the AI with their friends for years and years and years. And this gives them an opportunity to play new content. That's a way for us to continue to support development of the game years and years later."
Company of Heroes, released in 2006, is still played by a healthy and loyal fanbase. Indeed Relic recently moved the game's servers, which were run on Quazal and bought by Ubisoft in 2010, to Steam. "It's a substantial effort, both in terms of cost and people," Duffy explained. "While we're trying to ship CoH2 as well.
"But they're long-term fans and we want to keep rewarding them. We want to give them an opportunity to continue to play CoH1 and maybe play CoH2 at the same time. It's on Steam and you can start to share some of that stuff."
Players can level up as they gain experience in Theater of War mode as they can in the game's campaign and competitive multiplayer modes, with progression persistent and tied to your profile. New screenshots are below.