World War II Never Changes: Enemy Front

By Adam Smith on March 29th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Younger readers may not be aware that World War II games were once like zombie games are today. Everywhere you looked, Allied soldiers were planting satchel charges and running through the bombed-out ruins of once-picturesque French villages. Over 85% of games released between 1999 and 2004 featured an Omaha Beach level. Enemy Front looks like it may take us back to that time. The opening of the trailer caused a smile to flicker across my face, which is a wholly inappropriate reaction when faced with depictions of horrific warfare. But it looked like a return to the original Call of Duty games. Soon, the explosion count rises until almost every bullet seems to hit a self-destruct button.

BOOM. BOOM. BOOM.

When explosions are such a common occurrence, they lose their capacity to inspire awe and terror. Much like zombies.

I’m glad I didn’t read the short synopsis underneath the trailer before I watched it because I would have been extremely disappointed. Before reading on, I want you to guess who the player character is:

A) Billy Petrol, a proto-punk Englishman who travels to France and joins the resistance so that he can ‘smash some ‘eds in’.

B) Claudette Baguette, a French cabaret singer turned deadly resistance fighter.

C) Jeremy Knuckle, a British officer with a dark secret.

D) Marty ‘Tank’ Tank, a US Special Forces agent attempting to kill Hitler single-handed.

E) Hans Luger, a defector.

Ready?

Shoot, snipe or sneak past Nazi forces as American war correspondent Robert Hawkins as he teams up with resistance fighters opposing the Nazi regime. Meticulously plan out your route, picking off enemy soldiers with pinpoint accuracy from a distance, disable and dispatch troops through sabotage, or go in guns blazing.

Given the footage we’ve just watched, I’d argue that all of my suggestions are more reasonable than Robert Hawkins, American war correspondent. This definitely looks like a game about being a gun. And occasionally becoming a knife.

Enemy Front is out in June on PC and previous-gen consoles.

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89 Comments »

  1. phelix says:

    This is it, then. The WWII genre has become retro.

    • dethtoll says:

      It was retro when Call of Duty 1 was rebranded Call of Duty Classic and sold on XBLA and some idiot complained about the graphics.

    • Racb1976 says:

      my buddy’s aunt makes $81 /hr on the internet . She has been fired from work for nine months but last month her payment was $13905 just working on the internet for a few hours. More Info…..
      http://www.Gawkjob.com

  2. CookPassBabtridge says:

    All of the men featured in the painted promotional material have such fantastic posture that I cannot imagine myself not buying this game

  3. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    I don’t know why everyone always moaned about the abundance of WW2 games. I would much prefer a return to those days than the current modern war trend.

    This looks like pretty stupid, but it does look fun.

    • Siimon says:

      Aye!

    • Misha says:

      Ditto. But why do we always have to fight as the good guys?

      • dethtoll says:

        We play as the bad guys too. They’re called the Soviet Union.

        That’s the thing about WW2 games — you can’t really get away with playing as the Japanese or especially the Germans, because Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, as nations, were the very definition of evil. You can make arguments about how individual Germans and Japanese “weren’t like that” (“not all Germans were Nazi, not all Nazis were German” etc.) but it doesn’t matter. It’s simply not done because there’d be too much of an outcry. The closest we can get is the USSR, because while Stalin’s regime was unquestionably as bad as the Nazis, if not worse, they were still part of the Allies. Probably the only real way a game can get away with you playing a German footsoldier is if you fight the Soviets; fighting Americans would make Fox News and the other moral guardians shit the bed with the lights on. And you can forget about Japan. WW2 games have historically disliked even portraying the Pacific front at all, let alone letting you play as the IJA.

        • Talksintext says:

          In BF1942 you could play as the Japanese, Russians, or Nazis.

          In COH2 the SP campaign is from the Russian side, and in MP you can only be the Nazis or Russians.

          So, there’s those fact things…

          • weary ghoul says:

            In multiplayer, yes, there are numerous games in which you can play as the Germans or the Japanese. But never in single player.

          • Severn2j says:

            Men of War?

      • secuda says:

        maybe we dont want to sit and listen to hate propaganda half the game, and killing of inocent civilianse because they did not belive in the right religion.

        • GepardenK says:

          The Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe was just a regular national army, they were not inherently nazis or anything

          Also, Company of Heroes featured several singleplayer campaigns as the Germans

          • HadToLogin says:

            And if I remember right, there was quite a big media storm in Poland about that, as they used real Hitler words about “Poland attacked us, so we just defend ourselves” (I know there was an outcry, not sure if that was the game).
            And while most people knew those were lies, there’s always few people who would believe it (especially since how little is known about WW2 worldwide – only things people know is that ONLY Jews were killed, bad-guy-Hitler had a mustache and there was that Normandy, which made Spielberg movie such a treat).

            Newspapers already believes those are Polish concentration camps, and then day(s) later they need to print “we meant Nazi concentration camps set in Poland”…

  4. paddymaxson says:

    It’s kind of considered against the rules of engagement for a journalist to start fighting as both sides kind of agreed not to kill each other’s journalists if possible. I mean Hemingway did it and it’s considered to have been a very naughty thing to do.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      00:56 in this video
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4bmZyTDSWs
      It seems they have made a decision during production to change who you’re playing.

      • SuicideKing says:

        So option (D) presented by Adam in the article was pretty close after all.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Yes, though they may also be taking the COD approach of putting you in different people’s shoes as you progress I suppose. Maybe we will get a special move for the journalist, which involves asking questions so tough that all the SS Troops stop fighting. Or become so preoccupied with defending themselves on “FaceBuch” that they are effectively useless.

    • salattu says:

      Dispatch: First day. North of Boulogne, have just encountered motorized nazi patrols. Local resistance left in town on my orders, decided to tackle target alone. Attached are nazi insignia, no photos. Please send SMG-magazines instead of film rolls.

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      Gap Gen says:

      I suppose if you put on a uniform and fight then you’re not entirely breaking the rules, you’re just not a journalist any more. Otherwise, yeah, it’s a violation of the Geneva Convention to fight not in uniform.

  5. Arglebarf says:

    Historical fact: German troops spoke to one another in lightly accented English. Also: Gunslinger – Call of Berlin?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Gunslinger doesn’t deserve to be associated with this rot.

      • earlgrey says:

        But imagine if World War II got the Gunslinger treatment:

        “…so, to get back to my story, I had just finished single-handedly defeating old Rommel and the Africa Core Gang, but to find Hitler’s whereabouts I first had to track down a mean ornery skunk by the name of Mussy Lino. I finally cornered Mussy in a two-bit hotel on top of a mountain, but wouldn’t ya know it? Just when I figured I had him dead to rights, Germans started falling out of the sky like rain, the kinda rain what shoots bullets at you. Needless to say my Tommy gun was shortly so red-hot you could fry an egg on it, and just when I thought I had cleared myself some breathing room, that’s when I saw a quadwing come flying at me, piloted by one H. Goringo. Unopportunately for him, I just so happened to be standing by an AA-turret fully loaded for bear. ‘Billy Blazkowicz,’ I thought, ‘You’re about to have your record broke!’”

        • The Random One says:

          I’ve always imagined that the original Wolfenstein was Blackowitz recounting his tales of war to his grandson. “Then I killed the necromacer Hitler – but of course it was an illusion! I opened the door and shot down two more SS agents, when I finally found Hitler, in his giant battle robot…”

        • LionsPhil says:

          I love this idea. Grandpa Simpson meets BJ Blackowitz meets Silas Greaves.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Someone send this to Techland.

  6. SuicideKing says:

    Wow all i could think off throughout the trailer was “This looks like CoD 2 character models paired with CryEngine”…and what do you know, it turned out to be CryEngine.

    My main pointers were that the text, environment and mechanics (especially the slide-to-croutch at the start) reminded me of Crysis 2.

  7. tyen says:

    Just so I can verify what my eyes and feelings are telling me, the way the player moves, interacts and gets all WW2 style stabby is Far Cry 3 all over, yeah? Because all of which.. sounds like an amazing time to me.

    Can I make a pouch out of Nazi scalps so I can carry more nazi scalps?

    Is Vas literally Hitler?

    Time shall tell.

  8. grundus says:

    If you’re taking an enemy hostage at gunpoint, why would you use a Welrod?

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      I would imagine he just happened to already be holding it, as opposed to it being his official hostage taking implement.

  9. Scumbag says:

    I saw a Welrod pistol. YAY for World War II silenced weapons.

    • StashAugustine says:

      I am vaguely considering getting this purely on the strength of that one gun. It was in my cousin’s copy of Medal of Honor: Rising Sun and it was boss as hell.

  10. roryok says:

    Has there ever been an open world WW2 game? Because for a minute there this kind of looked like Far Cry 1942

    • sirdavies says:

      The Saboteur was open world. It was okay, almost ruined by rushed development. You also played as an American for the resistance.

      • bill says:

        There were only americans in the resistance. Many movies and games have taught me this. They also defeated germany at soccer despite not having discovered it yet.

        • Fanbuoy says:

          Yes, but everything before the 20th century was the doing of Brits, American history excepted. I cannot understand why this was left out of my history classes.

      • Smion says:

        Hey, the main character was an Oirishman (i.e. an american with a silly accent)

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          lurkalisk says:

          Sean’s VA is an Englishman.

          Also, within the game itself, there was a refreshing lack of anything to do with the US (I think it was mentioned once in a weapon description).

  11. GardenOfSun says:

    A pity, I would have considered it if it was A (or maybe B).

    Something like Unglorious Basterds: the Game, only without the thinly veinled pretence of being “good guys”.

  12. Spakkenkhrist says:

    I just found out that if you kick a real door open everything starts moving in slow motion, seriously, give it a try.

    • Scumbag says:

      The experiment does not seem to work: Things keep moving in real time and then people come and yell “What the hell are you doing?”
      Must be bugged.

  13. Boosterh says:

    Actively fighting while out of uniform, and ostensibly in theatre as a journalist.
    Using a human shield.
    A screen prompt that literally says “press X to kill hostage.”
    Please tell me the last level of the game is this guy being hauled up on charges as a war criminal.

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      Press X to commit war crimes.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Remember, Nazis aren’t real people. That’s why it’s ethical to murder them.

    • Lanfranc says:

      Press X to use the Nuremberg defence

    • Zenicetus says:

      The description says “he teams up with resistance fighters opposing the Nazi regime,” so I guess they think that’s the get-out-of-jail-free card. He’ll have a grandmother in France or something, to justify it.

  14. communisthamster says:

    I want to see a WW2 game without any combat. Just about the tedium of being on a troop ship, navigating the desert supply lines being led by an incompetent CO, occupying Italy after the surrender, that sort of thing.

  15. Askis says:

    No matter how many explosions the trailer threw in my face, I couldn’t get over the cardboard-cutout flowers at 0:20.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Missed that before. My eye was in gamer mode looking for where where that grenade was landing. How very did-you-spot-the-gorilla-esque

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, the foliage is surprisingly dreadful for a modern AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAgh game.

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    Kong says:

    instant boredom, after watching this for a minute it got painful. Every reload and press x message multiplied the agony until at about 1:40 it became unbearable. Hit pause at 1:50 where the picture is showing “Enemy Front”. I would rather play friendly front. Peace and prosper.

  17. JayArr says:

    Well that looks bland as anything, but now I really want a game where you play as a war correspondent trying to take pictures and get stories while also not getting killed to death.

    • crinkles esq. says:

      That would be interesting! Or a spy charged with taking photos of secret Nazi bases and weapons.

      Do people making this game really think they’re serving history? I especially find the slow-mo sniper cam disgusting in its glorification of war. That’s not what WWII was about, and most of the men (and women) who fought were not doing it because they loved killing people. This game looks more like a Rambo movie with Nazis.

      Why is there little of games based on the female spies and saboteurs of WWII? The only one I can think of is the mediocre Velvet Assassin. Their adventures were far more thrilling and surprising than this power fantasy looks. The developers should go read about Nancy Wake of the SOE if they want to know what a real game about being an agent behind lines should be like.

  18. Hunchback says:

    Reading and watching that made me realise that i am quite in need of playing some proper WWII fps. Maybe it’s also because i JUST came from playing a couple of rounds of CoH2, losing miserably to the russian zerg (nerf!!!1)

    I ended pondering tho, why is it that what, 100% ? of the WWII FPS games make you play the allied hero? Not saying that the nazi regime was good or anything, but the constant, endless depiction of the horrible, evil, mad nazi soldiers as if they were all members of the SS, is kinda starting to annoy me. Hell, they could always make you play an anti-hero, for change’s sake. There’s plenty of games where you are actually the “bad guy”, such as the Legacy of Cain from the top of my head. Didn’t the nazi had some sort of special forces, commandos and other such “behind enemy lines” kinda operations that might allow for such a game to be made?

    Final word: “Press X to kill hostage” – So tired of watching FPS trailers made on a bloody console, this is just ridiculous. Why do they even MAKE FPS games for consoles? Why don’t we, pc games, get the same kinda treatment and receive more beat-them-up and TPS action games? Why even if we do get some of those, we get them 5 years later? Why do they hate PC gaming so? :(

    • Wurstwaffel says:

      I don’t think a nazi protagonist fighting allies will ever happen, simply because the nazis were real and guys like Cain are not.

      As for your final word, the reason is money and console players being too uneducated and now too stubborn to play fps with proper controls. There’s a barrier to entry for PC gaming for many people and piracy really doesn’t help the PC market either.

    • Zenicetus says:

      The only games in which you are allowed to play a German soldier or officer in WW2 are those where you’re piloting an aircraft or a submarine. You’re one level removed from actual face-to-face combat, so there is a little more emotional distance, I guess.

      • Hunchback says:

        There’s also World of Tanks, War Thunder and Company of Heroes. Guess your point is even more valid for the later, since there’s a whole level of abstraction from “being” German.

        @Wurstwaffel : What does it matter of someone was real or not? Also, why weren’t any of the dozens of soldiers you can play in games like MOH, COD, Sniper Elite, etc etc, also real? To some extent?

        • Wurstwaffel says:

          What I mean is they were “real evil” as opposed to fictional evil. I am assuming that that’s too small of a disconnect from reality for most people to be comfortable playing as those guys. As a nazi in a WW2 game you’d have to be fighting representatives of actual real life good guys. Sure, they’re all just soldiers and some just happen to be born in germany or whatever, but as a nazi protagonist you wouldn’t be fighting the good fight as it were. I personally wouldn’t mind playing a nazi soldier but I still wouldn’t be able to get quite into it if I were sent to shoot brits or americans or what have you. In multiplayer games it’s different I think; The narrative isn’t as important and you feel like you’re playing against other players much more than actually fighting people.

          I also agree with both your points about separation of input mechanics and gameplay narrative. I think the narrative behind it is key; When you’re just an incorporeal god-commander surveying the battlefield and issuing orders you’re not really supposed to feel like a character in the narrative with their own morals and motivations beyond “win the game”.

    • Renegade says:

      Although lacking any single player content I would highly recommend Rising Storm/Red Orchestra 2 for some WW2 FPS awesomeness.

    • Graerth says:

      I wonder how the german soldier would need to be portrayed not to get the game banned and the developer/publisher flayed in media and forums.

      Would a “Not happy about it, but when russians are coming in you can’t let them get in” be enough?
      Maybe a real caricature officer who executes prisoners who’m you stand up to is required?

      • Wurstwaffel says:

        I guess you could do a thing where you’re a disgruntled nazi trying to run away/defect. The moment you start shooting allies though, the media would get pissy. I guess killing russians wouldn’t be as bad though, seeing as they were quite evil as well back then.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        It’s been done in movies. Cross of Iron does something like you described.

  19. sirdavies says:

    For some reason it’s really hard for me to read the environments in the new cryengine. the shadows are like balck holes and all light seems to come from a giant flashlight in the sky. Also what’s up with that massive HUD?

  20. Wurstwaffel says:

    Looks solid. I’m totally up for some good old fashioned WWII shooting. A bit of stealth and human shields make it even sweeter.

  21. jonahcutter says:

    Looks like it’s covering the major WWII video-game-trope-bases pretty well: gunning, knifing, ‘splosions, shooting out tire blocks, slo-mo sniper bullet cam, “Partisans!” shouted in a German accent…

    World War II – The Game – The Greatest Hits Collection

  22. bill says:

    Bloody iron sights. Getting in the way of seeing what the fuck you are shooting since 1998.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Thank the lord of firearms (Mr Heston?) for the invention of them opticey red dot thingies.

  23. sinister agent says:

    Bah, WW2 games were never half the plague zombie games have become. Didn’t last for a bloody decade, either.

  24. SystemiK says:

    What???

    We can only purchase this as a finished product? Why that’s no way to make a game, everybody knows that…

  25. Drumclem says:

    Slo-mo sniper rifle killcam ? Seriously ? Is this game by the developers of Sniper Elite : Ghost Warrior ?

    Aside from that, was there that much bloom during WW2 ?

    • sirdavies says:

      Yeah it’s weird right? I was pretty sure the world was black and white back then. I understand that they can take some creative liberties, but this kind of manipulation of history is just preposterous.

  26. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    To my dearest Mother,

    I know you worry about me and that you didn’t want me to come here, but I feel I must do something to do my bit for the war effort. Which is why I’m here covering the heroic struggles of our boys in this seemingly interminable damned war.

    The horrors I’ve witnessed out here on the front. Man’s limitless capability to cause harm to his fellow man.

    Today I too was sucked into this black vortex of inhumanity as I was forced to kill my first man today in order to defend myself.

    BOOM HEADSHOT! Lol!

    PS Don’t forget to water my plants whilst I’m away.

    Love Robert

  27. Cortes says:

    For me great trailer, looks very nice and what is most important show us piece of combat technique. Nice solution is that we can change combat technique in mission and play this kind which we prefer. It gives us more opportunities to complete the game in different ways. For me it’s great information. Something new in this kind of games.

  28. herschel says:

    Wow. I´m old.

  29. Blob says:

    Old topic, refreshed several new solutions … So rather definitely waiting for June :) For some time subsequent revelations this time regarding multi. I love it.

  30. Cortes says:

    Yes I agree with you. Less than two months to release date:) Maybe CI Games shows something new about this game some intervier or something else. Hmmm…about multiplayer I’ve heard that it will be deathmatch and team deathmatch. For me great:)