War Of The Non-Human Tanks: Company of Heroes 2

Today is tank day! I’ve just decided. And now I probably won’t find any other tank games to post about. Oh well.

I’ll confess that THQ’s ongoing money-woes have me fearing for the security of some much-anticipated videogames (and the good folk who make ’em), most especially Metro: Last Light and Company of Heroes 2. Hopefully Relic and 4A are ring-fenced from the cuts’n’terror at the besieged publisher, and the release of some new pictures of the former’s Eastern Front battle still my palpitations somewhat.

Click for gigantification of these, naturally.

I suppose it’s not quite as high-tech-looking as I’d been hoping – I can clearly see Dawn of War 2 and CoH1 driving this. The fire’s suitably firey, mind, and by all accounts COH2 is going to offer a grander scale of battle than the macro lens of Dawn of War 2. Those tanks sure are fighting at close quarters, but perhaps that’s just for the sake of fitting ACTION into one promotional screen.

For much more on COH2, you’ll be wanting to read Adam’s excellent haul of information and developer chat.


  1. G says:

    If today’s tank day can we have another space week please? “More Space Week” perhaps?

  2. coldvvvave says:

    Tankers Day in Russia is second Sunday of September.

    Just sayin’

  3. philbot says:

    If they have a financial meltdown, the employees should kickstart the games to get them to market. I am so excited for these games, I would throw money at them.

    • Colej_uk says:


    • Azdeus says:

      I would throw myself at them. Doubt that’ll help them much besides relieve some pressure but, fuck me, I’ll do it!

    • reggiep says:

      Definitely. The bus aid that got mocked is up over $600k right now with 25 days remaining. She could fund this project.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      But THQ would still own the franchise rights, and they would probably be loath to part with them.

  4. Hypernetic says:

    Why must you tease me so, RPS?

  5. Lars Westergren says:

    > fearing for the security of some much-anticipated videogames (and the good folk who make ‘em), most
    > especially Metro: Last Light and Company of Heroes 2

    Personally I’ll add Obsidian’s Stick of Truth to that list.

    • Azdeus says:

      As much as I love Obsidian, Stick of Truth will probably be a game I will never buy from them. I have no love for South Park. :/

      • Lars Westergren says:

        Not a fan of South Park either, but since they use their own in-house engine again (DS3 was polished and bug free even if the story didn’t set the world on fire), this game has relatively simple art, and Obsidian seem to get plenty of time for once to polish it and cram it full of content, I think it may be something special.

        • Azdeus says:

          As amazing as it could/will be, it’s still bogged down with South Park, as much as I personally enjoy their bashing of religions and such things, I really can’t get over that part.

          I do think it’ll be a great game though, just as most of Obsidians games, but it certainly will not be for me.

  6. indigohjones says:

    Anybody else’s gigantification circuits on the fritz?

  7. Frosty840 says:

    Would really like to finally see a handicap for the multiplayer, this time around. They seem to manage to handicap the AI sides fine for skirmishes.
    I’d love to be able to make the game more enjoyable for, and balanced towards to more casual players in my local circle…

  8. Vagrant says:

    I figured this was WARDAY..

    I don’t need to give publishers any more ideas.

  9. GenBanks says:

    Looking forward to seeing it in motion and getting a peek at the interface.

    I’m so glad they’re staying faithful to the feel of the original, one of my favourite games of all time. I still play it very often and don’t feel like it has aged at all.

    • cairbre says:

      I really hope this game is great the first is one of my favorite too even if I was shite at multiplayer

  10. Fumarole says:

    “COH2 is going to offer a grander scale of battle than the micro lens of Dawn of War 2″ surely?

    • Mordsung says:

      Depends entirely on how he was using the word.

      If he meant it in the sense of size, then yes, he probably meant micro.

      But if you go with RTS lingo of macro (economy) and micro (units), then one could argue that DoW2 was a very macro heavy game as the entire game was nothing but a fight over your economy.

      Every fight was over a node that would produce precious resources (or prevent the drain of them in the case of Victory Points).

      So, despite having no base building, DoW2 is still a kind of macro game due to the heavy focus on economy and every fight being economic in nature.

      • subedii says:

        No that’s incorrect.

        Dawn of War 2 is extremely light on Macro, ask any Starcraft player. DoW 2’s gameplay fundamentally revolves around the “micro”, control of units and combat and maximising their effectiveness in the field.

        The “macro” economic and base-building aspects are extremely streamlined. You have resources points in the field, but you’re not fundamentally managing them. You’re not focussed on when to boom your economy, or how much resource is focussed to building infrastructure (there fundamentally isn’t any). That’s a deliberate design decision to streamline the economic aspect of the gameplay. This extends to base-building (three tech tiers). It extends to the resource model (capture nodes, doesn’t even matter if they’re in-territory. Doesn’t matter about actually collecting resources from them, that’s all automated). It extends to the engagements sizes that the game is built around (far smaller maps with far fewer squads running around than in CoH, with more and faster direct confrontations).

        If you say “the entire game was a fight over your economy”, well, that’s basically almost every RTS. Almost every RTS has some form of economy, it’s certainly no less the case in CoH (moreso, since it involves things like supply lines (continuity of controlled terrain), upgrading and fortifying resource areas, slower resource rates, and three types of resources which are used to different ends). It’s the gameplay mechanics by which this is implemented and which are emphasised by the game are what defines whether it’s a Macro heavy game or not.

        There’s nothing else to be said. Company of Heroes definitively has a far greater Macro focus than Dawn of War 2. It’s something that separates the franchises. The actual combat in CoH is FAR less immediately lethal and is slower paced than DoW2. This puts micro at less of a premium where in DoW , the speed at which engagements can be decided puts a huge emphasis on micro control and direct decisions to affect battle outcomes.

        EDIT: I think this is a good explanation of the principles at work:

        link to gamingse.wordpress.com

        • Mordsung says:

          I can see the argument, but I still believe that the economy is a far more important aspect of DoW2 than a lot of other RTS.

          The entire meta game revolves around electricity control and proper spending of electricity.

          I have not played many RTS where a single bad purchase can literally end the game like it can in DoW2.

          The tech race is simplified in DoW2, but way more important to the flow of DoW2.

          The first vehicle on the field often goes un-countered for half a minute or more and that single vehicle can single-handedly beat an entire army of unprepared T1 units.

          Yes, SC2 macro has more to do, but it also has way more room for missteps (outside of competitive play).

          An economic misstep in DoW2 is detrimental even in the most casual game of DoW2.

          So while I agree that the macro is less intensive, I think the macro aspects of DoW2 end up becoming more important than in other games that may have more intensive macro but a lot more “wiggle room”.

          Building one extra Marauder in SC2 isn’t going to bone you.

          Building a single Assault Marine squad at the wrong time can lose the game in DoW2.

          Both are low-tier units that require secondary resources to buy (Gas or Electricity) but the difference in economic importance is massive when you compare them.

          • subedii says:

            Spending money isn’t macro. Macro is management of your economy (unit purchasing is an aspect of that), something which splits your focus away from the Micro of the game, and vice-versa. You are defining Macro purely as the decision to “buy this unit or that one” with the resources you get. That is only one decision, and to be honest, the vast majority of the time in DoW 2 it’s a fairly easy one. But the small number of purchases puts a requirement on you microing them effectively because they have far more value in gameplay terms.

            DoW2 has small number of big, expensive units compared to CoH (and SC2), and those units have more impact on the battlefield. That doesn’t in itself make it a more Macro intensive game, it makes it the opposite. You say one Marauder doesn’t make as much difference as one ASM squad. That is precisely right. And it’s right because you’ve got fewer and more powerful squads running around, and that puts a far greater emphasis on their Micro, as opposed to the Macro necessary to build a group of Maurauders in a timely manner (and more importantly, the opportunity costs involved in doing so, of which there deliberately really isn’t much variety of in DoW 2). How you micro a squad of ASM and its abilities is far more important because losing it in combat will cripple you. That’s an event happening at the Micro level.

            The entire game revolves around control of power in the sense that it is your teching resource. This is not different from CoH (Fuel / Munitions), or SC2 (and unlike SC2, the battle win condition deliberately isn’t predicated on your wiping out the enemy, it’s predicated on control points. Which again, lowers its priority further still). What is different is the fact that there are far fewer real decisions to make with the resources you’re obtaining (power or otherwise). There’s far less meaningful decision making (and far less granularity of control for that matter) when it comes to base building, further resource acquisition and teching, than in the other two games. This was a deliberate design decision to put the emphasis squarely on the combat decision making.

            And a single bad purchase can easily end your game in both CoH and SC2 if we’re to define a purchase here as an equivalent investment in relative firepower for cost and time (basically, if you want to compare, you need to compare equivalent opportunity costs). DoW2 is a game based around a small selection of squads, the equivalent in SC2 is investing in a number of units (And even then, yes a single misspent or mis-timed upgrade or yes, even an individual unit can easily spell doom for you. This is true even at medium levels of play in SC2).

            Out of SC2, CoH, and DoW 2, DoW 2 has the least Macro of all of them. It is predominantly a Micro oriented game. That isn’t inherently a good or bad thing, it’s just a thing, it’s where the gameplay focus resides.

          • Mordsung says:

            My point was that the macro in DoW2, while not complex or management intensive, is still very IMPORTANT to the game. More important than many other RTS games.

            CoH and SC2 require more ACTIVE macro management, but the macro decisions do not swing the game as massively as they do in DoW2.

            And spending resources is an aspect of a game’s macro. It’s not ALL the macro, but it’s definitely not micro.

            Any resource or economy related decision is macro, even if it’s not an intensive or complex decision.

            Basically, I’m saying the few macro decisions required in DoW2 have more WEIGHT than they do in other games with more complex and intensive macro management.

            Each of those decisions has a far larger impact on the game than the series of smaller macro decisions in CoH or SC2.

          • subedii says:

            The decisions on army composition still carry large weight in the other RTS’s as well. If not equal weight, then certainly near enough to it. Choosing to go down a fast Banshee play in SC2 when your opponent’s already anticipating it is a sure route to getting stomped, no less so than allowing your enemy to get a vehicle onto the field without counter in DoW 2 because you decided to go to T3 early. In either case its a question of opportunity cost.

            I mean I emphatically said unit purchasing is an aspect of Macro. But it’s one of the only Macro decisions there.

            The difference is that DoW2 has far fewer decisions of this nature to make (both in terms of squad selection over “individual units”, and in terms of other general mechanics), and the Micro combat aspect is more developed for taking your attention and giving you more options and decisions to make (unit facing, cover, suppression, buffs, garrisoning, retreat / re-inforce mechanics, melee / ranged mechanics… it’s all a lot more involved). That is what makes it less Macro oriented, and more Micro oriented.

            In real terms, there isn’t overall a large Macro aspect to DoW 2’s gameplay. And that’s because there are far more limited avenues for a Macro aspect to express itself. The gameplay is far more focussed on the tactical level decision making (Micro).

            What you’re effectively saying is that DoW2’s few Macro decisions can have large impact on the metagame, and that’s what makes it a Macro focussed game. But other games also have those Macro decisions, all of which are just as important, and they also have a large effect on the game there as well. They just also have a lot more decisions to take aside from simply which units to make, and a lot more granularity in those decisions as well. DoW 2 just focusses its core gameplay elsewhere.

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      Buzko says:

      I don’t know why, but camera people call the lenses they use for detailed pictures of little things (like flowers and insects) macro lenses.

  11. wodin says:

    I always chuckle when a developer bangs on about realism then you see a screenshot with tank engagements locked in close quarter combat.

    Not saying it didn’t happen on occasion but it’s the norm in these games. A few do it well but those are restriced to map size. I’d say CM series and another good one which is currently one of my favourite game (I hate rts usually) is Achtung Panzer Op Star, with the DLC and the constant patch improvements with huge maps it’s a true East front simulator. Add the fact you could get the game plus both DLC for $19.99 over at Strat First you can’t go wrong.

  12. wodin says:

    Oh I enjoyed DOW2 over the others as there was no resource building and you had a manageable amount of units.