Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad Q&APlatforms: PC
In an end of year release schedule dominated by the heavy hitting shooters Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 it’s easy to overlook games with a smaller advertising budget. Tripwire Interactive are quietly going about their business and working towards releasing World War 2 shooter Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad as a viable alternative to the more modern themed shooters. Originally beginning as a mod for Unreal Tournament the series has gone from strength to strength and from the closed beta I can say that it has the potential to once again improve the series.
Focusing on a grittier, more realistic combat than the aforementioned competition Red Orchestra 2 does come with its own unique selling points.The Digital Fix were lucky enough to get a few words with the folks at Tripwire Interactive who agreed to answer a few questions for you lovely people.
To the uninitiated, how would you pitch Red Orchestra 2?
Red Orchestra 2 is a WWII first person shooter, with a heavy bias towards authenticity and realism, without making the whole thing insanely complex. Single-player campaigns for both Germans and Russians, focused on small units, in the Stalingrad meat-grinder, rather than the big Hollywood-style movie thing. We want you to feel like you are actually in the battle, not just playing a scripted part in a movie about the battle! And our famous Multi Player, of course!
How has the team involved grown since the original Red Orchestra mod to what you have today?
Some of us have grown older... There were originally 4 members of the mod team that started the business. Some of the original team worked as contractors on the first game, others got their own jobs in the industry - and a few of them joined us as full-time employees as we grew. Now there are 25 people in the office, plus a bunch of external contractors and out-sourcing.
What is the biggest innovation to the gameplay from previous installments?
Probably the inclusion of the single player campaigns. There are a whole host of new game mechanics (cover, suppression, bullet penetration for example), plus new multiplayer game modes - but the single player campaigns were a new one for us.
What steps have been taken to ensure historical authenticity?
Apart from many hours in archives that included Washington DC (NARA, for captured German aerial photography), the RAC Tank Museum in Bovington and others in Volgograd, there was a trip to Volgograd (modern-day Stalingrad) in 2007. We were the first westerners in the Grain Elevator since the Germans surrendered in 1943 (Jason Mark, the Australian author, was in there soon after us with a team of visitors - we just couldn't tell anyone about it for a while). Add to that the fun research, including time in the actual tanks and hands on with the real weapons. Not to mention the worrying amount of period German and Soviet gear lying around in the office...
What games modes are there and which is your favourite and why?
There are three multiplayer game modes. First (and simplest) is "Firefight" - our take on Team Deathmatch. Mayhem on a 64-player server, intended as a bit of a "gateway drug" for those not used to more tactical games. "Territory" is the mode brought forward from the first game, about capture and defense of specific objectives. And "Countdown", which is the most tactical - single life per objective, teams respawn after the objective is taken, if the attackers win (they get a couple of reinforcement waves to use, as life should theoretically be easier for defenders) then everyone respawns and goes after the next objective. If the attackers fail, sides swap over and see if you can do better.
My favorite mode is very mood-dependent. Firefight for short-lasting mayhem. Countdown for when I want to get more involved.
The end of this year sees you being first out of the blocks in the war of the shooters. What do you feel is Red Orchestra’s strength when going up against the heavyweights of Battlefield 3 and COD:MW3?
We're the "little guys", so bring on the sympathy vote and buy the game! But we are also PC-focused, so this means proper dedicated servers, that anyone can set up for themselves, 64-player matches, no features dumped in from a console port. Also it’s a game with high replay value - another reason for NOT doing the big scripted story-line single player thing. Multiplayer gameplay that seems to hook people in for years. Full SDK, so the community can create its own stuff (mods for the Pacific theater and Vietnam already in production, for example). Oh - and we do new vehicles, weapons and maps for free. As in "no charge". And we're not charging $60 for the game - I haven't found a game worth $60 yet (or 60 Pounds/Euros).
Are there plans for any DLC following release?
Of course. There will be two more vehicles, plus new weapons, are already in production. We supported the first Red Orchestra with new free content for five years after release, Killing Floor gets regular free content updates. Expect more of the same with Red Orchestra 2. Free, in case that message didn't get across.
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad will be available on 13th September, keep an eye out for our review.
Many thanks to Tripwire Interactive for taking the time to chat to us.