Mount & Blade meets Total War. That's roughly how Flying Squirrel Entertainment - they of Mount & Blade: Warband - Napoleonic Wars - are describing their upcoming American Civil War opus, Battle Cry of Freedom. And so far, the (admittedly over-simplified) label sticks. Flying Squirrel is feverishly loading its musket and shooting for 500-plus player battles across five-by-five kilometer maps that are based on satellite images of actual locations. Meanwhile, the plan is to include every type of not-so-modern warfighter imaginable - from soldiers to artillery to musicians. Yes, musicians. Oh, and the entire environment will be destructible. Bottles, fences, houses - you name it. Will it work? Can it work? More after the break.
Currently, Flying Squirrel's a four-person team. By my incredibly thorough and meticulously re-checked calculations, that's teensy tiny. But then, Napoleonic Wars was a damn impressive mod-turned-expansion, so it's not like this team's staffed with eyes-bigger-than-their-stomachs amateurs.
And some other goals do sound a bit more manageable than their nearly sim-level counterparts. For instance, Battle Cry of Freedom isn't a persistent sandbox MMO or anything like that. Instead, players will be encouraged to run their own match-based servers - reinforced by Flying Squirrel's "own new and original network engine." We can rebuild the Civil War, they essentially say. We have the technology.
Combat, meanwhile, will be heavily inspired by Mount & Blade. Muskets rule the day, and they'll be complimented by a familiar directional attack/block system. But what will you actually be trying to accomplish? Well, that's a bit less, er, concrete.
"Instead of selecting a game mode, a map, and factions, you choose an engagement. Each one has a historical set up in terms of map, factions, units available and objectives. The objectives are a set of goal each side has to complete in order to win the map, and they vary from mission to mission to give the game greater diversity. The game has respawns to better simulate the large scale battles of the era."
So basically, each map is its own gametype. Again, ambitious. And maybe a bit mad. Obviously, though, it'll be fairly incredible if Flying Squirrel pulls it off. Right now, the blast-from-the-past-blasting dev is attempting to crowdfund the project via its own website, but I wouldn't be surprised Battle Cry popped up on Kickstarter or Indiegogo before too much longer. Regardless, it's still obviously quite early in development, so release is at least a year off. In the meantime, though, here's a rich vein of further information. Strike it and bathe in a delicious rain of knowledge.