Releasing a game that deals with one of a country’s darkest periods is tantamount to walking on thin ice. Oh, sorry, did I say “walking”? I meant cannon-balling back-flipping onto it. In a tank. Some, then, have argued that Relic could’ve handled its depiction of World War II’s Eastern Front with a bit more grace in Company of Heroes 2. And by “some,” I mean thousands (via an Internet petition) rallying against what they perceive to be a serious “anti-patriotism” slant. As a result, Russian and Eastern European distributor 1C-SoftClub has halted sales of the otherwise decently liked RTS.
In short, many of CoH2’s Russian critics seem to feel that – while the Eastern Front was hardly a friendly springtime picnic – Relic cherry picked too many stereotypical atrocities without balancing its story. 1C-SoftClub gave the cold soldier to Relic’s game about cold soldiers on its website:
“In connection with appeals of people who consider unacceptable number of episodes of the game, the company 1C-SoftClub chose 26 July 2013 to stop selling PC game Company of Heroes 2 (developer – Relic Entertainment, publisher – Sega) in the territory of the Russian Federation and CIS. At the moment we are analyzing the situation and [informing] the developer and publisher of Company of Heroes 2.”
It’s worth noting that 1C-SoftClub doesn’t simply have thin skin. It’s distributed other games containing historically sensitive issues – for instance, Men of War: Vietnam and Red Orchestra 2 – but has never felt the need to pull them from sale.
Sega and Relic, meanwhile, have issued a statement saying that they are “taking this issue very seriously” and doing everything within their power to investigate further.
For now, though, what does our scholarly band of tacticians, historians, and philosophers think? Did Relic go overboard with Company of Heroes 2’s story? Or are people on the Internet simply doing what people on the Internet do best: overreacting?