.professional / Company of Heroes 2

Project
Company of Heroes 2
Role
Sr Designer
Platform(s)
PC
Release
2013
Metacritic
80
TABLE OF CONTENTS

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Paper Design, layout and development of:
    • 'Stalingrad Rail Station'
    • 'Support is on the Way'
    • 'Panzer Hunting'
    • 'The Reichstag'
  • Worked with Environment Artists on beautification passes
  • Attended playtest sessions to collaborate on feedback
  • Ensured required narrative beats were implemented
  • Worked with Animation Team to implement bookend Non-Interactive-Sequence cutscenes
  • Filtered feedback and implemented changes
  • Worked closely with Core Design to ensure game mechanics from multiplayer were respected in single player
  • Created the first version of the "Wave Manager" - an automated scripting package allowing for the creation of defensive missions easily and quickly

Stalingrad Rail Station

Get the player into the action, make it feel chaotic but controlled. I've said it before and I'll say it again - each Company of Heroes needs to start with a landing sequence and this is ours.

The mission is meant to just toss you in the deep end. We have some teaching elements such as selection, movement, flanking, abilities, suppression, etc but first and foremost this has to be a bombastic intro to get the player excited.

The player needs to essentially reach the rail station on the other side of the map. Rubble, ruins and lots of Germans dug in stand between them and their objective. Along the way they need to deal with tanks, artillery as well as attempting to rescue civilians caught in the middle of all this.

Really this mission introduces you to a little of everything - a sampler of the CoH experience; you can't actually lose, so it also gives players the freedom to explore and figure out a playstyle that works best for them.

Video sliced up from RedAlert2Havoc's playthrough from their youtube channel.

Support is on the Way

Another defense mission, but like most of the defense missions I work on, I like to put in a little twist to keep things interesting.

So players have to hold all three positions on the map - easy. Except the player is going to be overwhelmed - through no failure of their own, the numbers will just be too great and they'll need to retreat to the opposite end of the map.

Once there, they'll need to hold out against another push - this time they can't fall back, so it's a bit more difficult. Hold out long enough and allied T-34s will roll into the scene and help re-take the ridge. Once the ridge has been captured again, mission ends.

Video sliced up from RedAlert2Havoc's playthrough from their youtube channel.

Panzer Hunting

This mission is probably my proudest. I like to design around player emotions and for this one I wanted to create a bit of a horror mission. Difficult in an RTS, but we used several techniques to get it across.

The premise is you're a small group of infantry supporting a few tanks moving through an abandoned town. Tank carcasses are everywhere, you're well behind lines so you should be safe. Suddenly a Tiger Tank bursts out of a building and annihilates your armour. You need to take it down, but you have very limited resources.

To set the scene: It's night, heavy snowfall, abandoned town, no tanks and a giant behemoth lumbering around. Add in CoH2's line of sight system and it makes for a scary mission.

The player has several ways to deal with the tank - they can try to pepper it with what anti tank weapons they have, but you have to use buildings to break LoS. You can setup mines and demolition packs, then try to get the tank to drive over them - or you can venture into the village and locate precious AT guns and munition supplies.

Regardless of how, eventually the tank takes enough damage it retreats to the northern airfield. Repeat as before except more open map - not much place to hide. If you can take it down, turns out command wants the tank and you have to recover it while the Germans try to destroy it. Finish the map off with a frantic rush back through the town (now crawling with Germans) to try to get your prize back to your base.

ENded up having multiple publications call this mission out as one of the best in reviews, including PC Gamer, IGN and Gamespot. 14 year old Ryan would be super proud.

View a post mortem of Panzer Hunting below.
Video sliced up from RedAlert2Havoc's playthrough from their youtube channel.

The Reichstag

This mission is difficult, but is mostly a victory lap. There's no real way to lose, only win. Your goal is to crawl through Berlin's ruins to reach the Reichstag and claim it.

The player is tasked with first getting across the Moltke Bridge - Germans attempt to blow it up, but discover it's actually built too well to be brought down by explosives. Next up is taking control of the Ministry of the Interior building, a makeshift command center. Then the Kroll Opera House and finally across an open, bombed out plaza to the Reichstag itself.

Moving through the ruins is interesting, lots of small paths and detours - there's also a lot of hidden things - disabled German tanks you can commondeer, hidden artillery pieces. It really rewards exploration, but can also be dangerous as there could be anything around the corner - an HMG or a Tiger!

As an additional note - the final beat of attacking over the plaza to the Reichstag mirrors the end of the first mission when you were crossing the plaza to the train station. This was very much intentional.

Video sliced up from RedAlert2Havoc's playthrough from their youtube channel.