World in Conflict

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World in Conflict
Cover art (Windows version)
Developer(s)Massive Entertainment
Publisher(s)Vivendi Games[a] (2007-2008)
Ubisoft (2009-Present)
Designer(s)Magnus Jansén
EngineMassTech Game Engine[1] utilising Havok physics
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Release
  • NA: September 18, 2007
  • AU: September 20, 2007
  • EU: September 21, 2007
Genre(s)Real-time tactics, real-time strategy[2]
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
Carpet bombing tactical aid by Soviet Tu-95 bombers.
A large skirmish battle between NATO and Soviet troops.

World in Conflict is a 2007 real-time strategy (RTS) video game developed by the Swedish video game company Massive Entertainment and published by Vivendi Games for Microsoft Windows. The game was released in September 2007, receiving generally favorable reviews and several awards.[3][4][5][6][7] The game is considered by some to be the spiritual successor of Ground Control, another game by Massive Entertainment,[8] and is generally conceived by its designers to be a real-time tactical game, despite being marketed as a RTS game.[9]

The game's setting and story takes place in an alternate 1989, in which an impending economic collapse and the failure to achieve aid diplomatically from the West, leads the Soviet Union to invading Western Europe, triggering World War III. The single-player story sees players assume the role of a United States Army officer who takes command of battalions of US and NATO forces; the main bulk of their operations focus on combating a surprise invasion of the United States from Seattle, Washington, as well as operations in Southern France, Russia, and New York.[10]

A March 2009 expansion pack, World in Conflict: Soviet Assault, added additional content, including additional campaign missions in which players assume the role of a Soviet military officer who commands Soviet forces in Europe, Russia and the US state of Washington.[11][12][9]

The game offers multiplayer functionality, supporting up to 16 players online or over LAN. In December 2015, Ubisoft shut down the official Massgate servers that supported multiplayer functions,[13] though the player community restored these functions in 2017, through an unaffiliated version of Massgate.[14]

Gameplay[edit]

World in Conflict focuses on real-time tactics (RTT) gameplay, in a similar manner to Ground Control, a game also developed by Massive Entertainment,[8] in which players deploy units onto a battlefield and must carefully make use of them to achieve victory, making use of support assets to further assist them. World in Conflict contains three factions: the United States, Soviet Union, and NATO. While players may only play as US and NATO forces during the single-player campaign, all three factions can be used in multiplayer games.

During a game, players are given a pre-determined amount of reinforcement points, with which to purchase units with varying costs. Once the player deploys the units they purchase, they must wait 20 seconds for them to be airdropped to the field. If a unit is destroyed, the points are refunded to the player in order to allow them to bring in more units. During the single-player campaign, most missions vary what units the player can recruit, while some missions will offer the opportunity to recruit free units, though these cannot be replaced if destroyed. Each unit has strengths and weaknesses, such as mobile anti-air guns being most effective against enemy helicopters, and repair tanks being most effective at keeping vehicles and armor repaired. Each unit possesses a defensive ability, such as deploying smokescreens, while some units possess an offensive ability, such as marking targets for bombardment or using grenade launchers on enemy infantry. Once a unit's special ability(ies) has been spent, players must wait for them to recharge before they can be used again.

In addition to controlling units, players may also call in tactical aid by spending tactical aid points. Points are primarily earned from destroying enemy units in battle. Tactical Aids allow the player to call in anything, from airstrikes on enemy positions, the deployment of paratroopers, to launching carpet bombing raids and tactical nuclear strikes. Tactical aids can allow up to three deployments, after which the player must wait until the support has recharged. In the single-player campaign, players are restricted by what tactical aid they can use, which can change during a mission.

The game interface for World in Conflict has no framing in the game. A list of units occupies the bottom center, whereas the top right-hand corner contains the expandable reinforcement procurement list. The mini map is in the bottom left-hand corner, while the bottom right-hand corner contains the special abilities buttons (including unit formation). Players can also use a messaging system that is designed to allow conversation between individuals regardless of whether they are on the same server or playing the same game. World in Conflict features a fully rotational 360-degree camera.

Single-player[edit]

The single-player campaign places players in the role of Lieutenant Parker (voiced by Alec Baldwin), a United States Army officer, who takes command of a company of troops from both the US and NATO, and who narrates the events of the game's campaign prior to each mission; he neither speaks during missions and cutscenes, nor is his face shown. During missions, players take on enemies scripted for them to deal while the AI handles the remainder of action on the battlefield, though a large portion of the action is still focused on the player, which is in contrast to the approach used in RTS titles, in which players are in charge of whole armies and thus responsible for most of the action on the battlefield. Unlike other game modes, players are restricted in missions by what units they can deploy and what tactical aid they can call in, sometimes having to rely on the units they begin with and acquire during a mission.

The narrative of the single-player story owes much of its inspiration from both the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor series (see the 'Influences' section below)

Multiplayer[edit]

Multiplayer games support up to sixteen players and can be played on a LAN or over the Internet. Three types of maps are featured: domination maps, where players must control command points to win the game, assault maps, where one team defends a series of command points which the other teams assaults, and tug of war maps, where teams must fight to capture a series of command points on the front line, whereupon the line shifts towards a new set of points closer to the losing team. One side plays as either the United States or NATO, while the other as the Soviet Union.

In multiplayer gameplay the player may choose one of four roles in battle: infantry, air, support, or armor. The infantry role gives access to various infantry squads such as anti-tank teams, snipers, and light transport vehicles whereas armor allows players to use various classes of tanks, the dominant direct fire land combat unit of the game. Players choosing the air role have access to attack, scout, and transport helicopters. Finally, the support role contains anti-air, artillery, and repair units. Each role's basic units can be purchased by everyone but are more expensive for players with a different role. In addition, each role has its own exclusive units that aren't available for purchase by other roles.

The game ends when one side is completely dominant over the other, or when 20 minutes are up, in which case, whichever side is winning at the time is declared the winner. A bar is displayed at the top of the screen showing the status of both armies. After the game is over, the score sheet will be displayed, and the players' rank updated.

The online component of the game uses the in-game massgate system, which is derived from Ground Control[citation needed]. The system helps players keep track of friends, allowing them to see whether they are online or playing a game. Clans can be created and kept track of in-game, with features such as ranks and clan matches. Massgate includes leaderboards and a ranking system based on US Army military ranks. Players can increase their rank and leaderboard position in a way similar to Battlefield 2, by accumulating earnings and scoring points, medals, and badges. Achieving higher ranks becomes progressively more difficult. The leaderboard also keeps track of clan rankings.

Plot[edit]

The battleship USS Missouri aids the player's Battalion during the Battle for Pine Valley.

In late November, 1989, a few months after the outbreak of World War III, Soviet forces launch a surprise invasion of Seattle, Washington. A combination of regular U.S. Army and National Guard soldiers, led by Lieutenant Parker and Captain Bannon, counter their advances to ensure the safe evacuation of civilians, before retreating due to the strength of the Soviet offensive. Joined by Colonel Sawyer, they continue to withdraw southwards, eventually leading a successful effort to retake the town of Pine Valley, halting further Soviet advances.

A month later, Soviet forces launch an offensive towards Fort Teller, a military base located within the Cascade Mountains, in order to disable the United States' Strategic Defense Initiative project, unaware that it had been a failure. The U.S. had concealed this knowledge to ensure the Soviets would not attempt a nuclear strike. Parker, Sawyer and Bannon, joined by Captain Webb, engage in a series of delaying battles en route to the town of Cascade Falls near the Fort, before forming a defensive line within the town. Learning that the advance is not stopping, Sawyer orders the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the area, then launches a tactical nuclear missile at the town. Bannon, remorseful over mistakes made earlier in the war and seeking redemption, sacrifices himself and his company to pin down Soviet forces, allowing Sawyer to withdraw the rest of his forces. The resulting nuclear blast eliminates Bannon and his company, along with the Soviet forces in the town, successfully halting the assault.

Months earlier at the outbreak of the war, after diplomatic efforts from both sides had failed, Sawyer, Parker, and Bannon served in France as part of a NATO counteroffensive against a Soviet invasion near Marseille. Although successful, Bannon's negligence during a major operation results in the death of their French liaison, Commandant Sabatier. Following their success in France, Sawyer receives orders to take Task Force Raven, a special unit of NATO troops, to penetrate deep into Soviet territory to retrieve intelligence from a crashed prototype B-2 bomber, and then destroy the wreckage. While withdrawing from the area with the pilots from the downed bomber, Bannon accidentally kills surrendering Soviet civil-defense volunteers, leading Sawyer to reprimand him for his conduct and discipline. NATO forces then launch an assault on a Soviet naval yard in Murmansk detailed in the intelligence, in order to destroy submarines intended for an attack on U.S. Navy bases along the East Coast. The operation is a partial success, with only one submarine escaping due to Bannon's incompetence; it is later sunk by the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Returning to the U.S., Sawyer relegates Bannon to a support duty, while Parker assists U.S. Army Rangers in a counter-offensive against a surprise attack by Spetsnaz troops in New York City, who had taken control of several islands in the New York Bay. Parker's forces successfully prevent the Soviets from using chemical weapons against the city, while also saving the Statue of Liberty from destruction. Sawyer later sends Parker home to Seattle for leave, while reassigning Bannon to work at a National Guard depot there, just a few days before the surprise Soviet invasion.

Returning to the present after the nuclear strike on Cascade Falls, Parker and Webb regroup with stragglers and soon reunite with Sawyer, whereupon they learn of news that the People's Republic of China has declared its intention to enter the war as a Soviet ally. The U.S. President, learning that a Chinese invasion fleet has been launched to reinforce the Soviet beachhead in Seattle, orders all U.S. forces in Washington to spearhead an assault to recapture the city, while also ordering a nuclear strike against the city, as a backup plan should this fail. Sawyer, desperate to avoid another Cascade Falls, orders his forces to attack before the Chinese can land, refusing to back down. After successfully breaking through the Soviet Army's defense perimeter around Seattle, and capturing Puget Sound to secure Soviet anti-ship missile launchers for use against the Chinese fleet, the reinforced U.S. battalions launch their counterattack. While Webb is injured during the conflict, Sawyer and Parker manage to hold out in the battle, effectively ensuring that the U.S. forces retake Seattle from the Soviets before the Chinese fleet arrives. Dealt a decisive blow by the outcome of the battle and unable to launch an amphibious assault of their own, the fleet consequently returns to China. As American soldiers rest from the intense battle since the invasion, Sawyer states that the war isn't over, and that they may still be recalled to fight in other theatres.

Development[edit]

In December 2015, the official Massgate servers were shut down by Massive Entertainment[13] for several reasons, despite a community outcry.[15]

In early 2017, online multiplayer functionality and a new community-run Massgate were restored by a group of players unaffiliated with Ubisoft or Massive Entertainment.[14]

Influences[edit]

The game's designers have cited the 1984 film Red Dawn as one of their key influences.[16] The film's main premise is the invasion of America by Soviet and Central American troops. Echoes of the film can be seen in the initial paratroop landings (though in the film they happen in Colorado) and in the use of civilian transports to disguise a Soviet invasion force; again, this differs slightly from the film. Also, in the Soviet Assault expansion, the name of the Soviet invasion of Germany (and presumably the United States) is referred to as Operation Red Dawn.

Another influence for the game, according to issue 7 of the WiC Journal, are the first-person shooter game series Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, and how the games give the player a relatively small role in a big conflict and will command small numbers of units at a time rather than whole hordes. The developers, still according to the journal, have also looked to the games Battlefield 2 and Counter-Strike: Source for inspiration.

Marketing[edit]

The collector's edition of World in Conflict comes in a limited edition collector's box art cloth packaging (with a Soviet flag on one side and Russian wording of "World in Conflict", and the US flag on the other with English "World in Conflict") and includes an authentic piece of the Berlin Wall,[17] Modern Marvels: The Berlin Wall DVD by the History Channel, Behind the Scenes DVD and World in Conflict exclusive Creative HS-390 headset (Europe Only).[18] Those who had preordered the game were given access to the Beta, the ability to preserve their username and clans, and either received the Modern Marvels: Strategic Air Command or the Declassified: The Rise and Fall of The Wall DVD by the History Channel depending upon which area of the world one was situated in.[19]

The collector's edition in Poland is different compared to collector's editions in other countries. It includes an exclusive World in Conflict wooden container, limited edition collector's box art packaging (Soviet or US flag), a full-sized flag of the US or Soviet Union, an exclusive World in Conflict poster, a T-shirt and cap with the World in Conflict logo and decorations, and a World in Conflict exclusive Trust Hs-2200 headset.[20]

The collector's edition available in Taiwan is also different, as there was no preorder scheme put into place there. It includes an exclusive flag of the Soviet Union, a Modern Marvels: Strategic Air Command DVD by the History Channel, Special translated behind the scenes DVD, Metallic packaging featuring the Soviet flag on the front, and the US flag on the back.[21][22]

The game was re-released under World in Conflict Complete Edition including the new expansion Soviet Assault all in one game.[23]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic89/100[24]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Eurogamer9/10[25]
Game Informer9.25/10[26]
GameSpot9.5/10[5]
IGN9.3/10[6]
PC Gamer (UK)88/100[27]
PC Gamer (US)93/100
PC PowerPlay9/10
PC Zone92/100[7]
X-Play4/5
Games for Windows8/10[28]

World in Conflict received "generally favorable reviews" from game critics according to the review aggregator Metacritic.[24] GameSpot called the game "the studio's masterwork", giving it 9.5 out of 10.[5]

Awards[edit]

Prior to its initial release in September 2007, World in Conflict received several awards from its E3 presentation in 2007.

  • IGN: Best PC Strategy Game, Best Strategy Game (All Platforms), Best Of E3 2007[29][30]
  • GameSpot: Best Strategy Game Of E3, E3'07 Editors Choice Award[31]
  • GameTrailers.com: Best Strategy Game Of E3[32]
  • Game Critics: E3 2007 Best Strategy Game, The Best Of E3 07 Winner[33]

After release, the game earned editor's choice awards from GameSpot, IGN[6] and the Australian gaming magazine PC PowerPlay, as well as PC Zone's classic award.[7] PC Gamer US also awarded the game its editor's choice award, as well as naming it the 2007 RTS game of the year. The game was included in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.

Sales[edit]

It topped weekly sales charts in North America, Germany, and Australia in the week it was released.[3]

Expansion[edit]

A new expansion of the game, World in Conflict: Soviet Assault,[34] was released for Windows in March 2009.[35] Plans to release the game under the same name for home consoles, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, were dropped.[36] The new edition included a brand new campaign from the Soviet perspective. New maps were included as well as new movies and cut scenes, however there were no new units included.[37]

On July 29, 2008, Activision dropped World in Conflict: Soviet Assault from production along with a number of other games putting the future of the game in question.[38] On August 6, 2008, Activision Blizzard put Massive Entertainment up for sale.[39] Massive Entertainment has since been acquired by Ubisoft. The game was released on March 13, 2009 in several formats. It was packaged under World in Conflict: Complete Edition which is the new retail collection, containing both World in Conflict and the expansion, Soviet Assault. The complete pack was available through retail stores, Steam download and Direct2Drive download. Soviet Assault was also released separately as a download for owners of the original World in Conflict, through Steam and D2D and also in a retail version.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "3D Engine: MassTech". MobyGames. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  2. ^ McWhertor, Michael (November 10, 2008). "Ubisoft Buys Massive, World In Conflict". Kotaku. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
  3. ^ a b "Sierra press release". Sierra online. Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
  4. ^ "Overview over World in Conflict reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
  5. ^ a b c Ocampo, Jason (2007-09-18). "World in Conflict review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2007-10-02.
  6. ^ a b c Adams, Dan (2007-09-07). "World in Conflict review". IGN. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  7. ^ a b c Wallace, Suzy (2007-09-13). "World in Conflict review". PC Zone. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  8. ^ a b Bedigian, Louis. "Tactical Combat and an Ongoing Online Experience are the focus of "Ground Control II"". GameZone. Archived from the original on December 9, 2010. Retrieved 2007-10-27.
  9. ^ a b Randolph Ramsey (2007-04-16). "Interview with Nicklas Cederström". GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
  10. ^ "World in Conflict Background Information". GameReplays.org. 2007-07-20. Retrieved 2007-07-22.
  11. ^ Massgate.net :: Propaganda
  12. ^ Erik Brudvig (2007-06-13). "World in Conflict Console Hopes Snuffed". IGN. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
  13. ^ a b http://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-postpones-world-in-conflict-server-shutdown-after-outcry/
  14. ^ a b http://massgate.org
  15. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20151214224622/http://www.massgate.net/read.php?182,613394
  16. ^ "Wic Journal".
  17. ^ bapenguin (2007-07-03). "World in Conflict Devs Tear Down Berlin Wall". Evil Avatar. Archived from the original on 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
  18. ^ "World in Conflict: Collector's Edition". World in Conflict official website. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
  19. ^ "Video Gamer".
  20. ^ CD Projekt (2007-09-11). "World in Conflict - wizualajce Edycji Kolekcjonerskich". gram.pl. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
  21. ^ Gump (2007-08-23). "衝突世界限定收藏版". Unalis. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  22. ^ Gamer.com.tw (2007-08-23). "衝突世界 收藏限定版". Gamer.com.tw. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  23. ^ Massgate (2009-02-22). "Пропаганда 22/1 Soviet Assault Announced". Massgate. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  24. ^ a b "Overview over World in Conflict reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
  25. ^ Whitehead, Dan (2007-09-18). "World in Conflict review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  26. ^ Biessener, Adam. "World in Conflict review". Game Informer. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  27. ^ Gillen, Kieron (2007-09-27). "World in Conflict review". PC Gamer UK. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  28. ^ Neigher, Eric (October 2007). "World In Conflict: Shall We Play A Game?". Games for Windows: The Official Magazine. Ziff Davis Media (11): 65.
  29. ^ "IGN's Overall Best of E3 2007 Awards". IGN. 2007-07-20. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  30. ^ "PC Best of E3 2007 Awards". IGN. 2007-07-20. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  31. ^ "E3 07 Editors' Choice Awards". GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  32. ^ "Best of E3 2007 Awards - Best Strategy Game". GameTrailers. 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  33. ^ "2007 Game Critics Awards". Game Critics Awards. 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  34. ^ "World In Conflict: Details On World In Conflict Console Version". kotaku.com. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
  35. ^ "UBISOFT ANNOUNCES WORLD IN CONFLICT: SOVIET ASSAULT FOR THE PC". Massive. 2009-01-22. Archived from the original on 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2009-08-29./
  36. ^ "Activision Drops Several Vivendi Games". IGN. 2008-07-29. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
  37. ^ WiC Expansion "Soviet Assault" Revealed
  38. ^ "Activision Drops Several Vivendi Games". IGN.
  39. ^ Jason Ocampo (2008-08-06). "Massive Sell Off". IGN.
  1. ^ Released under the Sierra Entertainment brand name

External links[edit]