C&C Remastered devs' new WW1 RTS is arriving on March 30th
The Great War: Western Front is also getting a Steam Next Fest demo next week
The makers of Command & Conquered Remastered have announced their new WW1 RTS The Great War: Western Front will be releasing on March 30th 2023. It's also getting a Steam Next Fest demo next week on February 6th, which gives you access to its chunky tutorial and the early portion of its campaign, plus the Historic Battle of The Battle Of Passchendaele, which is the mission I got a chance to play at the end of last year. As it turns out, I've also had a sneak peek at the Next Fest build, too, and there's a heck of a lot to sink your teeth into. Here's a small glimpse of what to expect.
If you've been keeping an eye on The Great War, you'll know this WW1 RTS is comprised of two distinct halves. There's Field Commander mode, where you're making decisions on the campaign map, laying down trenches and allocating forces to its hex-based city tiles, and there's Theatre Commander mode, which see you direct its big RTS battles. I only got to see the latter in my preview last year, so I was intrigued to see how the Field Commander sections play out alongside it.
And by golly, there's a lot to take in. The tutorial alone took me 90 minutes to get through, with a further 45 minutes allocated for trying the campaign proper. The campaign map is divided into dozens of hexagonal tiles, and as the developers at Petroglyph explained to me last year, you'll be fighting battles along its titular front, aiming for Major Victories (as opposed to minor ones) to knock down a city's star rating so you can claim it for your own. Some cities only have two stars on them, for example, but others have four or five, so you'll be revisiting these battlefields multiple times in order to win them over.
You and the enemy AI take turns to conduct your war campaign, and before you start initiating any battles, you'll need to decide how many troops and forces to allocate to each hex tile, and potentially invest in your tech tree to unlock new abilities. These include new types of weaponry and support artillery to use in battle, but also tactics you can deploy on the campaign map itself, such as espionage agents to try and learn what the enemy AI is doing, or what units they've got stationed on their side of the trench.
Before battles commence, you can also spend a bit of time laying down your own trenches and deciding which troops to deploy where, effectively setting up the battlefield exactly to your liking before hitting the big 'Go' button. Unless it's a dedicated Historic Battle, that is, like Passchendaele or the Somme, in which case you'll have to play by the history books and make do with the pre-defined battlefields designed by the developers.
In any case, if you're absolutely thwomping them, the enemy may ask you for a ceasefire (or surrender altogether if you're lucky), but if you're finding yourself getting out-gunned, you can also do the same, retreating to fight another day and save what you can of your troop's morale. Keeping an eye on your National Will is vital in The Great War: Western Front, as when this hits zero, you're defeated - and suffering too many losses will see it dwindle worryingly quickly.
And man alive, I really did get absolutely thwomped during my preview session. Clearly I need to revisit that tutorial again and get my grand strategy game in order. Handy, then, that I'll be able to do exactly that next week, as part of Steam Next Fest. The demo will be available from February 6th over on its Steam page - although the game will also be available from the Epic Games Store when it launches in full on March 30th for £30/€35/$35.