The folks at Wargaming.net seem to fly under the radar a bit but they've turned out some great games over years. We recently had the chance to talk to them about their new game Order of War which is now in stores.
Can you introduce yourself, talk about your role on the project? How did you get into game development and what's one thing that you love about the industry?
Hi, my name is Victor Kislyi, I’m the CEO of Wargaming.net. As for my role on the project, well, I “poke my nose” into day-to-day work of all company’s departments, focusing mostly on game and level design. I got into game development at the age of 6 or 7 when my elder brother and I started playing and making board games. We used the carpet on the floor of our bedroom as a map and moved hand-made archers, horsemen and infantrymen across it.
One thing that I love about industry? Well, I think it’s the feeling that you never know what your next project is going to be about. You can experiment with ideas until you finally find the ONE that will definitely revolutionize the genre :D .
What is the inspiration behind Order of War?
Order of War is the result of many years of hard work. When Wargaming.net started developing its first game, DBA Online, back in 1998, the company consisted of a dozen people (we were college students then, obsessed with the idea of making a computerized version of a famous board game De Bellis Antiquitatis). With every new project we gained priceless experience and useful knowledge, all the while building up a team of keen enthusiasts. There were hard times but we never stopped, gradually moving forward. And one day we realized that we were ready for a BIG game. That’s when we decided on making Order of War. Today Wargaming.net numbers more than a hundred employees, each putting all his/her energy and effort into the game.
How much of a focus is authenticity in the game? Do you feel you have to give up some realism to keep the game entertaining?
That’s a good question. In Order of War we tried to find a compromise between realism and captivating gameplay. We used tons of archive data (books, photos, engineering drawings, historical magazines etc.) to make sure that the models of military hardware look authentic and historically accurate and have their real combat characteristics. Each faction has strengths and weaknesses based on their real world counterparts. Our battles are set in and designed based on real world battles from the 1944 campaign. The same goes about the game locations and storyline. Actually, we have an entire department responsible for research and documentation study. It’s fair to say that we have a significant amount of realism in the game. For history and war buffs, this is the game for you in that regard.
Moreover, we closely cooperated with historical consultants from the USA who lent assistance to our game designers with particularly tricky issues.
At the same time, this is a game, so there are some things in our game that are by no means realistic. For example, when you call in reinforcements, they appear quickly from certain points at the edge of the map, rather than coming from a rear base far away on trucks and planes. Nobody wants to wait forever to get units – that’s not effective and exciting gameplay! So yes, there are compromises but we think we balanced out the realism with the needs of game design really well. .
Wargaming.net's previous games have all been set in the future, why the decision to change things up and work with a time period in the past? What did you learn from your previous games that you're using in Order of War?
I guess that after years of work with sci-fi we just wanted to switch to something different. When deciding on the setting of a new project (there was no Order of War then :D) we considered several options: WWI, WWII and some kind of futuristic conflict set up on the Earth or other planets. We chose WWII for several reasons. Firstly, the weapon types utilized by WWII armies perfectly fit our game mechanics. Secondly, with WWII theme you get a ready-made storyline, and characters, so there’s no need to create a new world. Thirdly, the memories of this war are still fresh and people are eager to learn new details about the conflict.
As for the second part of your question, in a nutshell, we learned how to make QUALITY strategy games. For example, work on DBA Online and Massive Assault Network 1, 2 taught us many important things about multiplayer and work with community. In Massive Assault: Phantom Renaissance we, for the first time, used cinematic camera, which, after being optimized, moved to Order of War.
We've seen a long line of WWII strategy and FPS games over the last three to four years, what is Order of War doing that's different from what we've seen in the past? How do you fight the WWII fatigue that seems to have settled in the video game industry as of late?
Order of War offers a unique combination of stunning graphics and large-scale warfare that will definitely pick up interest of any strategy fan. You know, there are many real-time strategies where the player wins WWII key battles having only several tanks or SPG’s and a bunch of soldiers to operate with. Our idea was quite different, that’s why while working on Order of War we focused on setting up really huge clashes bringing the player in command of a whole army like it is done in Total War series. Some operations fit up to 1000 units onscreen representing each side of the conflict.
Bringing on the battlefield hordes of tanks and waves of infantry we never forgot about visual component of the game – in Order of War the player is literary “shooting” his own WW2 movie. The level of detail is so high that you can zoom in and see the expression on the face of a separate soldier or detect bullet scraps on the tank’s armor plates.
Order of War gameplay is action-focused. We got rid of resource-gathering, base-building and micromanagement of separate units as we believe that these things would divert player’s attention from his main business - issuing orders and maneuvering on the battlefield. Also, our presentation and advanced camera functionality create a truly unique cinematic gameplay experience that will not only appeal to strategy gamers and PC players, but also fans of history, WW2 and military hardware.
Page 1 of 3