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Company of Heroes 2 calls for smart, aggressive decision-makers


While the rhythms of authenticity and graphics aren't faint, the drum Relic Entertainment is keenest to bang with Company of Heroes 2 is that of getting commanders to play smart. Quinn Duffy, the game's director, tells us that from a gameplay standpoint the biggest thing his team is focusing on is re-injecting tactics into its real-time strategy.

"We want to be rewarding smart players," Duffy told us, "It's not an APM (actions-per-minute) game. To play Company of Heroes 2 you need to play smart and be aggressive in your decision making. We want smart players to be able to maximize the value of their units. A guy playing smart with his defenses and his cover and his movement, you want him to beat up on a guy with three squads."

Those tactical elements Duffy referred to include the TrueSight system, which gives each unit its own line of sight, more movement options for units including the ability to vault cover, and the introduction of dynamic weather. On that last point, while Relic has shown off wintery effects like snowstorms and breaking ice, Duffy reminded us the Eastern Front which Company of Heroes 2 covers spanned nearly four years and many seasons:

"We're covering the full breadth of the Eastern Front campaign, and only half the war was fought in winter. There's spring, fall, and summer... the weather and the environment had a big impact on both sides. That's part of the narrative experience of the Eastern Front. "

Returning to that graphical drum, there's been some ambiguity about whether or not Company of Heroes 2 will support DirectX 9 as well as 10 and 11, and therefore potentially be compatible with Windows XP. Duffy told us it's proving to be very difficult for Relic to support DX9 as well as 10 and 11, to the point where it might just be dropped. "It's a ton of effort to make work on both versions," Duffy said, "and the install base isn't particularly large for DirectX 9 stuff only."

Company of Heroes 2 is set to attack retail shelves in early 2013.

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