Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault, Relic’s RTS gets a massive chunk of new single player content.

The Battle of the Bulge, while these days a hastily thought up headline fora vanity heavy slimming article, was once a Very Big Thing where lots of people died. That’s  not precisely how it’s described in historical texts, but hopefully you get the point. And it’s also where Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault the single player standalone expansion takes place.

The formula is familiar, but there are tweaks and changes around to keep veterans on their war toes not least of which is the element of choice and consequence in everything you do. It’s less about the grand sweeping gestures and more about the thousand tiny choices that end up taking you in a completely different direction.

Quinn Duffy, game director on the Company of Heroes 2 franchise, put some numbers to it for us. There are “millions, if not tens of millions, of permutations on the map,” meaning the campaign will feel “very custom to a player.”

Part of this new element of choice comes with the strategic metamap that allows players to select which of their three companies they want to move and where. You can take any company into battle at any point, so can use their differing abilities to your advantage as well as using other companies to cut off retreats and so on.
 It’s less about grand sweeping gestures, more about thousands of tiny choices 
As for those abilities, they are carried throughout the game. There’s permanence to your troops too veterancy and so on is maintained throughout your missions, meaning if you chuck all your best troops up front and get them slaughtered, as you might have done as the Russians in vanilla COH2 , then you’ll end up with a bunch of rookie reinforcements for the rest of your mission.

It’sa simple touch, and one that takes inspiration from multiplayer gaming though Ardennes Assault is, for the time being, single player only. But a new, single player strategy game is a good thing, right? That wasn't a question, actually. It just is. And Duffy is proud to be flying the RTS flag: “There’s a vibrant, engaged community out there. Strategy may not be what it was a dozen years ago, but I think what strategy is defined as has changed quite a bit.

“We do what I’d consider more traditional strategy games, but I think a lot of players playing those strategy games have moved to other areas on PC, with MOBAs and things. I think the strategy genre is compelling maybe we’ll see some of those people coming back.”

Which begged the obvious follow up: does that mean we’ll be seeing a Company  of Heroes MOBA? The response of “Who knows...” could be taken one way, but the fact Duffy was laughing aloud as he said it means you probably shouldn't hold your breath for it, unfortunately.

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