Assault On History – Timelines: Assault On America

By John Walker on September 18th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

I’m rubbish at history. Personally, I think it’s all water under the bridge and we should just let bygones be bygones. But I’m pretty sure that Hitler didn’t die in a JFK-style assassination attempt in 1942. And I’m also relatively convinced that Germany didn’t sign a pact with Japan, and then attack the US on two fronts. I mean, maybe they did – my history teacher was a lovely lady, but she spent most of her time telling us about the Spinning Jenny. That’s what’s being claimed by Timelines: Assault On America in its latest trailer, anyhow.

The alterno-history strategy from genre stalwarts Strategy First is due out on the 24th, and they’re taking pre-orders from today. Although clearly pre-orders are a stupid idea when you don’t know if the game is any good, which at this point we don’t. And for a saving of £1.80, you really might as well wait until launch.

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48 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Dunbine says:

    Of all the What Ifs?, this is amongst the What If?-iest I’ve seen.

    • bstard says:

      What if the ending of this article was carved in stone?

      • ellel08 says:

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      Anthile says:

      It was a source of much amusement in the RPS chat yesterday. You killed Hitler! And it only made things worse! Huh?!

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        Gap Gen says:

        To be fair, it’s also the plot of Red Alert, although that wasn’t quite as insane, Tesla coils and time travel aside.

        • Shadow says:

          In Red Alert, killing off Hitler took Germany’s aggression out of the picture, inadvertently replacing the Reich with the Soviet Union as the Big Bad. As you said, time travel and weird science aside, it was a fairly plausible scenario.

          This is just nuts. It’s reeeeally hard to believe a Third Reich with Hitler and many major Nazi figures dead would not only keep the momentum to continue the war, but also escalate the effort in such a ridiculous action as the intercontinental invasion of the US mainland.

          Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, despite being a generally bad game, dealt with such scenario in a more believable way, taking place in the 1950s and starring a Greater German Reich empowered by its victory in WW2.

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      Gap Gen says:

      I mean, it’s no Homefront. Germany and Japan were genuine Great Powers, unlike North Korea.

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    Smacks of Blitzkrieg, which was really good. But the last WWII game I played (COH2) was pretty disapointing. I’ll wait it out.

  3. tigershuffle says:

    I see they were still constructing tanks with blocks of TNT looking at the explosions

    looks a bit like World of Tanks in 3rd person.

    half expecting a shattered Statue of Liberty
    ….You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

  4. Moth Bones says:

    This makes me want to play a game based on Dick’s ‘The Man In The High Castle’.

    • neonordnance says:

      That would be really, really cool. The book doesn’t exactly lend itself to a game adaptation though. Maybe the “Gone Home” people could do it.

  5. MOKKA says:

    So Hitler was killed, but according to the trailer Hindenburg was still alive?

    • Elementlmage says:

      As well, by 1942 hadn’t Germany already invaded – and failed miserably – Russia? What made Germany *not* undertake Operation Barbarossa on schedule?

      • ohminus says:

        Don’t mention the Russians. Pointing out that Germany invaded Russia and was already on the road to disaster by the time the US joined the war routinely leads to an outcry

        • Dozer says:

          Never mind that Germany and the USSR ALREADY had a non-aggression pact. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. It was a non-aggression and mutual assistance pact, passed in 1940 – in the very early stages of the war. France had not been invaded yet. This pact included a 700 million Reichmark trade deal – including absolutely critical amounts of animal feed. Seriously – animal feed is critical to the survival of 1940s Germany. And raw materials like asbestos, phosphorous, manganese…. And this Soviet-German pact severely pissed off Japan (who were fighting the Soviets in Manchuria) and the Italians…

          I seem to remember, in 1940, there was a certain imperial power with a HUGE AMOUNT of warships, sitting in the gap between Germany and Cuba – how much steel did Germany obtain to build a trans-Atlantic invasion fleet so fast? They couldn’t even cross the Channel.

    • witzkawumme (wkw) says:

      +1
      I assume the guys who made the trailer don’t even know who Hindenburg is…

      I don’t get why the used the 20th of July but 1942… as pointed out already in 1942 Germany was already at war with Russia, either the trailer left out the whole plot or someone is really challenged with basic dates.
      In 1939 there was a nearly successful assassination attempt on Hitler by a lone man: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Georg_Elser that would have made a way better version for the game (if the want to (re)use dates like “20th of July”), but nearly no one has heard of Elser.

  6. Hypnotron says:

    The historical war games we play today including these alternate history campaigns are at least in part a reflection of how inglorious modern conflicts involving western allies are today because they are so lopsided. And lopsided slaughter doesn’t make for romanticized war gaming.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I don’t think they’re lopsided rather than asymmetric. After all, the peasant-with-an-AK47 tends to win in the end. I think it’s more that game developers usually don’t know how to make a game out of that. I’d love to a dig tunnel complex under a US base in Vietnam or ambush a Russian tank column in Afghanistan. You just don’t get to do that very often in games.

      • KDR_11k says:

        Well, you could make a tower/trap defense game out of Vietnam…

  7. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    It must be so sad for such a secure nation to have to invent such insane scenarios to invoke an actual threat on their home soil. I mean, if it were France, you could just pick an occasion when the Germans rolled over them and go for it. And Russia has been razed and rebuilt several times during invasions. Or with Poland, you’d be hard-pressed to pick a time when it wasn’t occupied by one of its neighbours, save for its imperial heydays.

    EDIT: I appear to have upset some people. Sorry! I meant sad in the sense of unfortunate, not sad in the sense of saddo global superpower losers or whatever.

    • Hypnotron says:

      Why not just invent a USA vs Mexico & Canada scenario? Mexico and Canada have been invaded by mind controlling parasites from Alpha Seti 3. Fortunately, the USA was immune from the initial invasion thanks to the chem-trail defenses! Yeah that’s it… and uh… also because we had captured some of the scouts in Roswell, New Mexico decades earlier we knew what to do but the rest of the world wouldn’t listen. They thought we were friggen CRAZY! Hahaha! Yeah… no worm brained Canadian is going to steal my essence!

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        Yeah, I recently read this comic: http://www.bedetheque.com/album-162851-BD-Apocalypse-sur-le-Texas.html in which the USA and USSR have a nuclear war triggered by the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the USSR is annihilated and the USA only loses a few major cities. The USA has fragmented into various regions with different presidents, and France and Britain intervene to secure the Texas oil fields before Mexico can claim them (the main story involves French paratroopers trying to recapture US nukes from KKK militants). It’s an interesting series, on the whole.

      • Dozer says:

        I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

        It’s incredibly obvious, isn’t it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual, and certainly without any choice. That’s the way your hard-core Commie works. I first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love… Yes, a profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I — I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence. I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women, er, women sense my power, and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake…but I do deny them my essence.

    • airmikee99 says:

      You realize of course that Strategy First is based in Montreal, Canada, right?

      Or are you implying they were making up threats to our galactic empire when they released Galactic Civilizations?

      You’re as bad as those stupid politicians blaming video games for violence.

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        Gap Gen says:

        Right, because alternate history is best when it bears no resemblance to reality and says nothing about the world we live in. Fashow!

        • TCM says:

          Your original comment implied that the writers were American, and writing out of paranoid Jingoism. That’s what he was needling. Nobody’s saying the game’s scenario is plausible.

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            Gap Gen says:

            Unsure that’s all they’re implying, given their other posts. But sure, I did not know the location of the developers. And equally, DICE are Swedish and wrote the insane plot of the Battlefield 3 campaign.

            I accept, though, that a little lack of research in a blog comment is identical to naked demagoguery in the press. Of course the post was false in its entirety and no American developer has invoked an implausible scenario to manufacture a fictional invasion of the US mainland. I hang my head in shame.

    • TCM says:

      USA invasion scenarios are interesting/not interesting precisely because America is so secure — a huge, tech-advanced military, a big economic bludgeon, diplomatic friends on its land borders, and huge oceans to either side. On the one hand, this makes invasion implausible pretty much anytime from late WW1 on. On the other, there’s at least some good character drama to be milked out of “America can’t possibly be under large scale attack.” Of course, the methods to get America invaded in WW2 alt histories tend to be nothing short of Alien Space Bats.

      Depends on what you want out of a story, I guess.

    • Universal Quitter says:

      It must be sad when such a secure person has to resort to attacking an entire nation of over 300 million based on the plot of an unreleased video game.

      Did an American touch you as a child or something? I just don’t get it. I don’t hate all non-Americans simply because YOU happen to be a jerkass, so could you do the same for us, please?

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        Perhaps you’re reading something into this I’m missing. I just happen to be interested in geopolitics and like talking about it. I actually quite like British Empire 2.0; American values fit mine better than any other nation that could conceivably won the 20th century, and I like that American capital has increased economic well-being and helped export liberal democracy.

    • guvuhmann says:

      Another great way of doing this type of thing would be to do one with animals vs the human race.
      it could work on a full global scale, or I think even better as one medium sized town vs all the nature around it.
      and it would be a fun game to play from either side.

      totally asymmetric, but that would be the fun of the mechanics. humans and animals would each have such totally different strengths and weaknesses.
      this is the game i would love to see. maybe even expand the idea of animals to all nature, include plants, fungii and nasty weather as well.
      little ones like rats could be used for stealth and recon. cats and raccoons could hide inside people’s buildings and launch sneak attacks at them.
      they possibilities are really endless with such a game.

  8. xcession says:

    Did he say “wear-mark”?

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      Gap Gen says:

      Those tanks have had their share of paint scratches from what they’ve been through, I imagine.

  9. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Little did we know that Hitler actually was made not of bone and flesh, but of the new element Hitlerium, which from then on produced enough energy to fuel this war.

    • The Random One says:

      As long as you believe with all your heart, there will be a little Hitler alive in each of us.

  10. Lagwolf says:

    I have rarely seen trailers that were that bad. The voice-over is daft, the graphics look rubbish and the story is pathetic.

    It is laughable they don’t even use the Swastika for Hitler’s empire.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Yeah, it does look what-iffy.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Games commonly drop the swastika so they don’t have to remove it in localization later (and risk missing one and getting the whole game banned in Germany).

    • airmikee99 says:

      Maybe they want to sell the game in those European nations that have outlawed Nazi symbols?

      It’s laughable that you need a Swastika in a video game to remind you that you’re fighting fictional Nazi’s in a video game.

  11. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    I’m not going to lie but the Steam store info was pretty atrocious. Cmon’ devs just patch that up.

  12. TheGameSquid says:

    Aside from the horrendous trailer and story, the game itself kinda looks like every other RTS ever, ‘cept with the occasional USA landmarks thrown in. Also, what’s up with those chunky explosions?

  13. airmikee99 says:

    Is this a joke? Do some of you really expect every video game to be based solely on reality and not have any kind of fictional elements?

    This comment section is full of either some of the best sarcastic comments, or the dumbest of the dumb, I can’t decide which.

    • Premium User Badge

      Dunbine says:

      A little bit from column A, a little bit from column B.

      • airmikee99 says:

        This video game is not a communist, it may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but it is NOT a porn star.

    • P.M. Gleason says:

      There’s a difference between “fictitious elements” and “blatantly knowing crap-all about history”.

      There’s this concept called verisimilitude, or willing suspension of disbelief, which is very important to a story. If you’re going to engage people with an interest in history, you should know at least the very basic framework of the history you’re wading in.

      Or you’re just really bad at jokes, I can’t tell.

      • TCM says:

        I dunno, in an alternate history where Hitler was assassinated before Barbarossa, cancelling the invasion of Russia is the single most likely thing Nazi Germany could do — from my understanding, pretty much everyone but Hitler and his inner circle thought Barbarossa was a terrible idea.

        The reprisal war on America is too soon to be realistically viable, though — Germany’s new commanders would likely have wrapped up the Western Front, probably signing a peace with the UK due to stalemate if America didn’t proper enter the war. Given enough time, they likely would declare war on the United States, but the timeline presented by the game’s description is unrealistic.

        And also, the dates are just wrong — Barbarossa had already been carried out.

        I mean, I am all for US Invasion, UK Invasion (Sealion), or Japan Invasion alternate WW2 scenarios, since they always make for interesting ground combat — but you gotta have a clear divergence point for it to work.