The original Battlestations: Midway may not have set the world ablaze, but it did show plenty of potential, and with Eidos having contrived to reveal a sequel - Battlestations: Pacific - we thought it was time for a chin-wag with producer Adam Lay.
How would you describe Battlestations to players who did not experience the original "Midway" release?
In Battlestations, you directly control air, sea and undersea units in large-scale, epic World War II battles. You can switch between your units any time, so an instant jump from a submarine right into a fighter's cockpit is just one button press. Also, you can issue simple orders to you units on the tactical map to move them around the battlefield.
Battlestations is about whole-unit control and freedom, you can control everything and do what you want: A whole battleship with all of the guns and firepower? A submarine or a torpedo bomber? You are free to go where you want to go, you can drop bombs, torpedoes and even depth charges, shell islands with your ships and so on.
The game picks-up where Midway left-off, what is the story at this point... and why did you opt to further the WWII story, rather than offering a vastly different situation or setting?
Battlestations: Midway only covered the US side from Pearl Harbour to Midway, and we thought that there are still many great battles to fight and dozens of locations and units to see and play with. Our goal was to create a complete, bigger, and better game than Battlestation: Midway. Also, we always listen to our fanbase, and we wanted to include as much feedback from them as possible - and they also wanted a huge, epic game, with all of the units, battles and locations and events. That's why we decided that Battlestations: Pacific will remain in the place where the world's biggest naval battles have taken place - The Pacific Ocean.
For the first time players will have full control of the Japanese faction and will be able to fight for total domination of the Pacific Ocean. In this Japanese campaign, players will start from the attack on Pearl Harbor. They will experience first-hand the surprise attack on the naval base at Pearl and they will get an opportunity to continue their advancement and seize important territories around the Pacific, and eventually break through the U.S. fleet and sink their carriers at Midway, changing the course of history, and resulting in their victory over the U.S.
We wanted to give players a different point of view, not just another campaign with different units, and we felt that it's important to really win the war as the Japanese - there is no point in winning a game, and losing the war itself.
Are alternate history endings possible in the singleplayer game, and how do you consider the sensitivities around the real history?
The U.S. campaign will play very differently. Following the victory at Midway, the U.S. saw a reversal of fortunes and advanced fast towards mainland Japan, freeing key locations of the Pacific of Japanese control along the way. This is a historically accurate campaign all the way through to the end and players will be able to take part in some of the most memorable battles of WW2.
With the Japanese campaign, we want to provide a new and original angle on the Pacific War as well as a historical representation of what could have happened had events unfolded differently from what they actually have. We are not trying to re-write History by any means, we just want to provide the most complete and unique WW2 experience.
Are there any major changes to the gameplay planned?
We still want to give the Battlestations experience to the players, so the very core elements of the game will remain the same: action, strategy, air-sea-undersea, whole unit control, diversity, and big battles.
However, we're planning to implement hundreds of minor improvements, tweaks and a few minor changes to the gameplay. The goal is to improve every (and I really mean every) part of the game - and again I have to mention the thousands of useful posts and feedbacks on the forums, we learned a lot from these. The key objectives are to improve controls, accessibility, and hints & tips to guide players through the game. Also, every part of the game has gone under revision, and will be improved to provide a much higher level of gameplay.
What can you tell us of the new units?
We have been listening very carefully to our fans and online community to make sure we deliver the best possible content, and we can reveal that Battlestations: Pacific will include many of the most highly requested units. Players will be able to control the F4U Corsair and the F6F Hellcat fighters! The game will also include a range of new bombers, destroyers, landing support ships, controllable land-based shore batteries and AA guns. We are also very excited about the Kamikaze planes which can be controlled for the first time when playing as the Japanese; I think that these units will provide a new gameplay experience and will change the way multiplayer games are played. An example of kamikaze plane is the deadly Ohka suicide rocket plane. Players can also expect to get new rocket and missile technology. Basically, there are too many new units to list here, in total people can expect to find in excess of 20 new units - and of course I haven't even covered the new battleships!
Battlestations: Pacific offers you 5 new and exciting game modes, and each of these modes will give you a different Battlestations experience. Unfortunately this is all I can say on this at this stage.
Visually, how have things improved with Pacific? What does this mean from a gameplay perspective?
We use a substantially upgraded version of the former technology. New technological features include a foliage system, which gives islands a very realistic look, a cloud system, capable of recreating nice, big clouds. HDR and post effects will now also feature in the game; there will be glare when looking straight at the sun and we will be able to experience what gunners saw when they were defending against aircraft coming straight from the direction of the sun! The game will also feature additional effects such as water drops on the camera, heat distortion close to fires and lots more! This will help make the action and the scenery more stunning to look at!
Lastly, units will now feature visible destruction, players will be able to shoot big chunks out of ships and planes - wings will disintegrate under enemy fire, and ships will even break in two when heavily damaged!
Finally, when will be be enjoying this new release?
Keep an eye out for subsequent announcements on an official release date!