Flann O’Brien’s War: Heroes & Generals

But will he eventually become a bicycle?

Heroes & Generals is looking more and more like a game I’d like to play, mostly because it looks like fun but also to form a better understanding of how its campaign will work, overlaid on FPS battles as it is. The game is from Reto-Moto, the new home of the creators of Hitman, and its persistent world offers players a chance to cooperate and approach missions however they see fit. I expect there will be a lot of shooting, some stealth, the odd explosion and some vehicular tomfoolery. What I didn’t expect is that the tomfoolery would incorporate bicycles. There is plenty of information in the four developer diaries below but it’s the bicycles in the fourth that I recommend you pay particular attention to.

All footage is from the current alpha, so nothing here is final.

It does not need to be said that I will be forming a bicycle squadron as soon as the game is available. We will approach silently from the flanks, dismount in the midst of our enemies and set about them with a piston pump to the chin.


  1. sneetch says:

    “It does not need to be said that I will be forming a bicycle squadron as soon as the game is available. We will approach silently from the flanks, dismount in the midst of our enemies and set about them with a piston pump to the chin.”

    And they will know us by the ching-ching of our bicycle bells!

    • Muffalopadus says:

      …and the whirring noise as our spokes slap the baseball cards of our innocent youth, heralding their doom.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      And the enemy will fear us. And the enemy will despise us. And the enemy will talk about us, and our rainbow handlebar tassels

    • RakeShark says:

      And when the going gets tough, when the challenge becomes a mountain, when we’re told to charge that hill, we will shift down to a lower gear.

    • Bhazor says:

      Alan Partridge:
      Mary Poppins, whats that?

      Oh thats my bike. I call it desert storm

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    • Geen says:

      I’m in. Gimme a bicycle mounted cannon and I’ll be the happiest soldier on earth.

  2. Teddy Leach says:

    I want to ride my…

  3. Vegard Pompey says:

    Well, this is the last place I expected to find a Third Policeman reference.

    • Ogun says:

      just had to google to check that there wasn’t a flann o’brien working in video games :)

  4. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Oh, lovely Third Policeman.

    “The gross and net result of it is that people who spent most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles…when a man lets things go so far that he is more than half a bicycle, you will not see him so much because he spends a lot of his time leaning with one elbow on walls or standing propped by one foot at kerbstones.”

    • LMichet says:

      such a spectacular book.

    • roryok says:

      One of my faves!

    • trjp says:

      Amazing book – it has the best first sentence of any book EVER

      [quote]Not everybody knows how I killed old Phillip Mathers, smashing his jaw in with my spade; but first it is better to speak of my friendship with John Divney because it was he who first knocked old Mathers down by giving him a great blow in the neck with a special bicycle-pump which he manufactured himself out of a hollow iron bar. Divney was a strong civil man but he was lazy and isle-minded. He was personally responsible for the whole idea in the first place. It was he who told me to bring my spade. He was the one who gave the orders on the occasion and also the explanations when they were called for.[/quote]

    • RedWurm says:

      Absolutely magnificent. Read it for the first time cover to cover in a shed while bunking off school.

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      Yeah — you can probably tell from my username I’m a Flann O’Brien fan. :)

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    Naseer says:

    I love that danish accent!

  6. Muzman says:

    So it’s kinda 2 player Battlefield 1942? Interesting

    • CaptainWhappin says:

      No, no it’s not. Its like 1942 FPS wise (except no bots) probably. The generals pick where the battles are going to be for the FPS players. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • kalleguld says:

      Captain: So what you are saying is infinite levels?

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:


      Wow, an old-school isometric rpg? That’s great!

  7. snv says:

    So this looks like a modern version of Word War 2 Online: Batteground Europe

    Hope flying is simulatory in there, too

  8. JayArr says:

    “mostly because it looks like fun but also to form a better understanding of how its campaign will work, overlaid on FPS battles as it is”

    I was actually in a test session the other day for the campaign side of the game and I’m still not entirely sure how it’ll really tie in with the FPS stuff. Could be really great if they nail it, although the campaign side would actually be a pretty solid game on it’s own.

    Oh, and the bicycles are awesome.

    EDIT: Dunno if this is worth mentioning, but Reto-Moto announced yesterday that the game is going to be free to play. That’s turned out to be quite a contentious decision for some people.

    • Dominic White says:

      “Reto-Moto announced yesterday that the game is going to be free to play. That’s turned out to be quite a contentious decision for some people.”

      Well, yes – not every game can be like Nexuiz, yet another retail multiplayer shooter where it’s impossible to find a match with another player less than a week after launch.

      Anyone who complains about multiplayer stuff going F2P needs a slap, and a point at the dozens of ghost-town games which didn’t.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      OK, better slap me then please.

      It just appears that there are too many free to play shooters out there. It’s an old chestnut, but whatever happened to slapping a price on things you could otherwise give away for free, so that people’s perception of its value goes up? In many games I dont really want to play with a bunch of random people who dont really care about playing the game.

      Oh, and to say nothing of the fact some people – rightly or wrongly – are immediately scared off in fear of it being the badly done Pay 2 Win variant.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I agree with DW. Indie multiplayer shooters just can’t keep a playerbase going anymore. Good, original games just end up with no players within a month or two. It’s just not worth not going F2P in this genre at the moment.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, indie developers really have two choices here:

      Go traditional retail and NOBODY PLAYS YOUR GAME, effectively making it worthless to anyone who would buy it in the future because there’s nobody playing to begin with, or…

      Go F2P, ensuring a steady stream of new players (assuming a little advertising to kickstart things, plus word-of-mouth after that) who provide the baseline experience that encourages more people to spend money on the game later on.

      This applies doubly to consoles where even new retail releases can be dead on arrival in terms of multiplayer, but Microsoft and (to a lesser degree) Sony are fighting tooth and nail against the idea of F2P, even if it’s more profitable in the long-run, because the idea of giving away more than a five-minute demo is anathema to them.

    • Bhazor says:

      But the problem is that a game like this with such a focus on large scale team work *needs* a strong core audience. Anyone whose played free to play knows getting casual players to follow orders even in a simple team deathmatch is like herding cats by shouting instructions through a megaphone. The cats are also deaf and keep driving tanks into each other and your sniper cat is running about with a knife in its teeth. And all the other cats are fucking.

      Free to play games have a short shelf life. Even TF2 has it’s lulls and peaks and how many of those are premium who have played for years? People who pay for a game are going to spend time on it. They will want a return on their investment.

      WW2 online gets away with it somewhat by being semi obscure and on the fringe so only people who take vidjagaymes srsly know about it.

      This game sounds great but unless I see a good core audience with private servers I doubt it is even close to it’s potential.

  9. mjig says:

    I’m in the alpha and I’ve played a few sessions. A lot of the game is placeholder, but the guns already feel great. Awesome weight to them, it really feels satisfying when you shoot someone. I’m looking forward to seeing it develop.

  10. PodX140 says:

    I think the most fun I’ve had with odd vehicles in serious games was in The Outfit, a sort of third person company of heroes for a console. Actually, it was a fantastic game looking back… Anyway, the game had all sorts of vehicles lying around that your squad could use, tractors (And you could hook them up to emplacements to move them IIRC), halftracks, VW beetles, but most importantly… Wheel barrows. I still remember playing a game with my brother and using one of these to charge myself and a single squad member at him, and despite all odds, not get hit once. I think the laughter messed up his aim :D

    More games should have pre-existing vehicles on maps, stuff that would make sense.

  11. Isometric says:

    Looks bloody brilliant, I’ve signed up.

  12. speedwaystar says:

    if only WWII Online looked like this :-(