Now that the dust has settled down a bit after Panzer Corps 2 announcement, I would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming response. For all of us involved in making the new game, this is a great motivation to push forward at an even faster pace. Some comments may seem negative on the first glance, but in my opinion, they show that people actually care about the series and it's future, and to me personally this is very encouraging. Thanks guys, and welcome to our new shiny Panzer Corps 2 forum. I still fondly remember our heated discussions of Panzer Corps gameplay on this very board several years ago. I think, fan community played an important part in how Panzer Corps shaped. Together, we were an awesome team. Let's do it again.
In this post I'm going to answer some initial questions and address certain concerns sparkled by the initial announcement. Most likely, this will not persuade the sceptics, but at least some of our decisions will be more clear.
Why doesn't the trailer show any in-game art or gameplay?
I understand that some people strongly dislike such trailers. The reason why we made it is simple. We wanted to announce the game early, so that we could openly discuss it with fan community before it was too late to change things and implement suggestions. We wanted the players to tell us what they wanted and affect our decisions how to develop the sequel. We felt that without such feedback the game would not be as good as it could be.
It is important to note that Panzer Corps style gameplay requires to freeze things early. Unlike other genres, like 4X, here we have big campaigns which take lots of time to design and balance. Changing gameplay late in development cycle may break the campaigns and require to start balancing from scratch. This is why it's so important to start the discussions as early as possible.
So, we needed to announce the game. But, at this point we still don't have any artwork which we are ready to show to the world. Not because there is very little done (quite the contrary!), but we still expect a lot of changes in how the game looks. Basically, we had only two options:
1. Make the trailer without game footage, as it stands now.
2. Announce with text only.
But the latter option is not perfect. Many people don't like to read walls of text, and videos have their own channels of distribution, where text is just not possible. Just look at the number of views on Slitherine's official YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atlCCw1HDsw. So we decided to go with option 1. But personally, I can't wait to show what we are up to, and sure hope that some artwork will be released soon.
Here is a quote from my DevBlog:
What to expect from the new game?
First of all, an improved modern-looking 3D graphics powered by a state-of-the-art game engine.Like Panzer General 20 years ago, we want the game to be a gateway into the wonderful world of wargaming for more casual audiences. If you compare Panzer Corps gameplay to games like Civilization, Heroes of Might and Magic Heroes and XCOM, you can’t help thinking that Panzer Corps is no more complex and no less addictive. Millions of players are enjoying these games. They should be able to enjoy Panzer Corps too. But for younger players out there, moden graphics seems to be a prerequisite. So, we are going to make sure the game looks good enough for any player potentially interested in playing it.
But 3D looks ugly!
This used to be true when 3D technology was still new, and in its day Panzer General series probably tried to go 3D too early. But those times are long gone. Nowadays, both 2D and 3D titles can look great or crappy, and it has nothing to do with technology. If anything, great graphics requires vision, lots of talent and skill and (ideally) money.
But as a tool, modern 3D technologies are much more powerful and flexible than 2D, which did not really develop in the last 20 years. There is a reason why most developers migrate to 3D these days. It's not only limited to big guys like Firaxis, Paradox or Ubisoft, or medium-sized developers, like Stardock and Amplitude. Most significant titles from Slitherine are also 3D: Battle Academy and all games based on the same angine, Order of Battle, Pandora, Space Program Manager and many others. Other small studios are also looking in this direction, for example the sequel to Unity of Command will be 3D. It's not like we are probing some new ground here. On the contrary, Panzer Corps series seems to be the last to jump this wagon. Progress cannot be stopped, all we can do is follow it.
But 3D games do not remain actual as long!
Once again, it used to be true when 3D technology developed so fast, games from last year already looked obsolete. But now, 3D technology is mature, and things do not change so fast any more. For example, many people (myself included) still consider Civilization 5 a beautiful game, 7 years after its initial release.
But gameplay is more important than graphics!
I can certainly agree that without good gameplay, any effort spent on graphics will be wasted. You cannot fool the players. They will not play your game because of looks if gameplay is crap. But the opposite is also true. Without good graphics, lots of people will never try the game and appreciate its gameplay, no matter how good it is.
To rephrase Anton Chekhov here, games should be beautiful in every way—in their gameplay, graphics, AI, UX and all the other aspects.
I'm concerned about performance.
We'll do our best to profile and optimize the game, and expect that it will perform well on actual systems (it's not exactly a complex game like Star Wars Battlefront ). But the original Panzer Corps will likely remain better in this regard. After all, 2D technology worked well 20 years ago, so nowadays it can run on virtually anything.
What about the modding? Isn't it more difficult to mod 3D?
We'll have to wait and see how it turns out. We understand the importance of modding, and totally admire our modding community which has created so many great projects for Panzer Corps.
Compared to Panzer Corps, modding options in Panzer Corps 2 will be different. Some things might actually be easier, because Panzer Corps certainly had its share of unmoddable and hard-coded things. Some other things will probably be harder to mod. For example, adding new units to the game will require some 3D modeling. But then again, in a large and vibrant modding community people who posses necessary skills can create the models, while the others will reuse them in their projects. Some 3D turn-based strategies were also great modding platforms (once again Civilization comes to mind), so 3D technology is not a problem in itself here.
OK, you wanted to go 3D, but why Unreal? Isn't it an engine for shooters?
First of all, in this day, only big companies can afford to create 3D engine from scratch, tailored to their specific needs. Small developers are much better off using an existing engine and spending time and money on their specific games. Modern 3D engines provide a lot of features, cross-platform development, editors and tools, marketplace with various assets created by third parties, and big communitiy which creates tutorials, answers questions on the forums and otherwise helps new developers to learn the technology. Source code of the engine is also usually available. Such huge benefits just cannot be ignored.
The choice of Unreal over other engines (like Unity) is a more complex question. In part, it's a question of taste (for example, our team believes in C++ which gives better options to optimize calculation-intensive code, like AI). In part, it's a question of strategy (the choice was made not just for Panzer Corps 2, but also with our future games in mind). In any event, Unreal is widely recognized as 3D engine with state-of-the-art image quality and performance. And it's use has now gone way beyond FPS genre. XCOM and Heroes of Might and Magic are famous examples of turn based strategies based on this technology. Slitherine now also have a few games based on Unreal in their pipeline.
Will there be any new game mechanics? I would not like just a graphics upgrade.
Absolutely. To quote my DevBlog again:
Then, of course there is the gameplay. For me personally, this will always remain a top priority. When Panzer Corps originally came out, it was widely praised by the press and players alike, but some people felt that the game did not bring enough innovation to the table. This time, it is going to be different. Our promise to the fans of the series is that there won’t be lack of innovation in the sequel. We are not going to try and sell the same game with updated looks one more time. Panzer Corps has certainly got a lot of content. Total number of scenarios across all expansions and DLCs approaches a whopping 400. Many fans of the series still have not finished playing through all campaigns available. I think, in Panzer Corps 2 the players will expect a new experience, not just more content. And this is what we are going to deliver.
Will there be prestige soft cap?
Is this the end of Panzer Corps?
Absolutely not! While we don't have any plans to release more "official" content for Panzer Corps (I'm sure the modders can fill this gap), we still have a lot of other plans. In fact, some news in this regard might be coming very soon. Stay tuned.
When will Panzer Corps 2 be released?
We will not rush the game out, and will only release it when we are happy with it. Since this is still rather far away, and lots of unpredictable things can happen, any day or even month we give now will likely be wrong. We are reasonably confident that we'll be ready next year, so this is what the announcement has stated.
To give you some perspective, the game was playable several months ago, which includes some game mechanics, map and units, controls and AI. So, it's not like we are on an early stage. But it's a huge project, and we still have a lot of work to do.
I've never heard about Flashback Games. Where does it come from?
As the sole game designer and programmer of the series, I was involved in Panzer Corps from the very beginning. In fact, this game grew from an earlier project of mine. But my development studio, Flashback Games, was founded only after the initial release of Panzer Corps, and many people are still not aware of it. It's no big deal, as far as I'm concerned. Important thing here is that the sequel will be designed by the same person, so there won't be any drastic change of course.
You can learn more about Flashback Games and its origins here: