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Thorsten Feld of CDV

Interview - we talk to CDV producer Thorsten Feld about strategy sequel Sudden Strike II

Sudden Strike shot straight to the top of the charts in many European countries when it was released back in 2000, and with a combination of fiendish gameplay, epic battles and the ever-popular World War II setting, it was perhaps no surprise. It was only natural then that the game soon spawned a sequel to cash in on that success, and with Sudden Strike II arriving in the UK today, we caught up with producer Thorsten Feld from publisher CDV to find out more...

Under The Surface

According to Thorsten, CDV were always confident that Sudden Strike would prove a hit. "We saw the whole development process and we knew the quality of the game, and World War II is, for many people, a very interesting part of history. Another factor that makes it stand out is that, unlike in other real-time strategy games like Command & Conquer or Age of Empires, you don't have to build a base and produce units. Players are thrown right into the action and must use their units much more tactically than in other strategy games. This makes Sudden Strike very unique."

By contrast, Sudden Strike II is very much a case of "more of the same", which is probably no bad thing considering the popularity of the original game. Thorsten was quick to admit that, on the surface at least, Sudden Strike II looks a lot like its predecessor, sharing the same basic graphics engine and interface. "You shouldn't judge a game only on its graphical changes" though, he insisted. "Under its surface there are many more differences. The whole engine is optimized, primarily the multiplayer code where some parts are new and much more stable than in the past. On the game side there are many changes. The damage model has been completely overworked and is now more realistic. The Japanese are a new nation with new unique units, and of course all other nations have new units too. Airplanes can now land on the map and be manned with your units. Also, there are armoured trains, which can attack enemies over a long distance."

Some of these changes apparently came from suggestions made by fans of the first game, but CDV are also aiming to attract new players by making the game slightly less overwhelming. "There are now four levels of difficulty, where one is especially for beginners. The damage model is much more action like and less tactical at this level and it is the right point to jump in as a newbie. But don't worry, in this level the game feels like a Sudden Strike and not like a C&C or Age of Empires."

International

Although Sudden Strike II is only just being released in the UK today, it's actually been available in CDV's native Germany for several weeks now and has been getting a mostly positive response from gamers. "Of course there are a few issues some people aren't happy about", Thorsten told us, "but it is a dream to have a game which is perfect and everybody is satisfied with."

So what was causing the delay in bringing the sequel to the rest of the world? "Well, sorry for that", Thorsten apologised, "but it's worth the wait, believe me. First we finished the German version and after this the first patch for it. Then we began with the international versions, that means translations and so on, and this of course takes time."

Apart from this localisation of the game into other languages, the only change that has been made for the overseas release is that "the first patch will be applied on the UK version, so you don't need to download it". With any luck this should make for a fairly bug-free experience for fans on this side of the Channel.

Beyond the game's long awaited international release, there aren't any firm plans yet for the future of the franchise, but according to Thorsten all options remain open. "At the moment there are no plans for an add-on, but you never know", is all he would tell us. No doubt if the sequel is half as successful as the first Sudden Strike though, we can expect more of the same from CDV and developers Fireglow in future.

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