Relic Entertainment has a five-year plan for World War 2 real-time strategy game Company of Heroes 2, a plan that includes a raft of expansions, updates and - potentially - new armies.
The week before Danny Bilson left THQ in May 2012, he still had hope. He had a plan: Darksiders 2 from Vigil. Metro: Last Light from 4AGames. Company of Heroes 2 from Relic Entertainment. Enter the Dominatrix, the standalone expansion for Saints Row the Third, from Volition. South Park: The Stick of Truth, in production at Obsidian Entertainment. Homefront 2 at Crytek UK. And then there was the unannounced stuff: the next-gen game from Turtle Rock we now know is called Evolve. Patrice Désilets' 1666 at THQ Montreal. The portfolio is long and impressive.
A few hours after Sega bought Relic Entertainment, the Vancouver, Canada real-time strategy specialist whose fate had been up for sale thousands of miles away at the THQ bankruptcy session in Delaware, Company of Heroes 2's designers got back to work.
With 2012 already a smudged headline on yesterday's newspaper, it's time to get excited, all over again, for the next twelve months and the incredible games they are sure to bring. There are some amazing-looking games due out this year, including Grand Theft Auto 5, BioShock Infinite, Beyond, The Last of Us and more. And with the next-generation of consoles set to explode onto the scene, proper brand new games are surely not far behind. Hopefully.
When I sat down to chat with Danny Bilson during THQ's pre-E3 showcase event in North London earlier this month, I had no idea that, just over a week later, he would no longer be with the publisher. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, but I'm convinced there was something about the way he introduced presentations on Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light and Darksiders 2 to European press that morning that was, for want of a better term, off.
There are so many insane statistics about Russia's losses in World War II that the mind starts to bounce off them after a little while. Let's limit ourselves to just a single detail, then: one in seven Soviet citizens died in the course of the conflict. That offers some kind of insight, doesn't it? That allows you a decent handle on the fate of a nation blessed with such a talent for suffering that its strategy - for much of the early fighting at least - appears to have been to lose and lose and lose again, until there was nobody left standing for them to lose to any more.
Russia overwhelmed with numbers: with the sheer quantity of its often unskilled, frequently unarmed soldiers, and with the bizarre scale of the landscape its enemies would have to conquer. Russia endured because endurance was another talent. Was it triumphant? That really depends on the degree of elasticity you're willing to lend the word.
That one-in-seven stat came to England recently in the PowerPoint presentation of Quinn Duffy, the game director of Company of Heroes 2. For the RTS series' long-awaited sequel, the developers aren't reinventing or re-engineering from the ground up, and they aren't moving the game into an entirely new time period, laying on space marines or medieval trebuchets. Instead, Relic's shifting the focus to a different theatre of the same war. It's looking past the gritted glamour of Normandy to the mass-murder taking place on the Eastern Front.