Published on April 13, 2017
Matrix. Would you like to tell us what has been the driving force behind its design?
Juha Kellokoski. The starting point was to make a game I like to play. I've combined elements from games that I have enjoyed, including wargames and simulations, and even flavors from outside these genres. I've been an avid gamer since the mid-80's. The original Steel Panthers is perhaps the greatest inspiration, if I had to name just one, but I'm sure that the players of many other PC wargame classics will feel like home when they try Armored Brigade. Also, especially in the earlier days, I did a lot of research about what the players think is missing from other games, and did my best to make sure Armored Brigade won't be lacking in those respects.
M. When it was available for free, Armored Brigade got a strong reputation among wargamers. What is the story behind this incredible project?
J.K. Armored Brigade was actually my first game project. The initial steps were taken as early as 2004 when I decided to do something else than just modding the games of others. I considered different ideas, including a “Roguelike” game concept, but with real graphics. A bit later it evolved into making a Steel Panthers clone, with turn-based gameplay. I think the current real-time concept matured in late 2005, and later the '87 equipment became the data set. Since then it's been expanding and expanding in all directions. Basically, everything has been redone several times, and even now we're ditching old stuff we know can be done better. The first freeware version was made public in March 2008. It was a very sincere effort, like “Hey, I made a game, do you want to try it?” I was fairly ignorant about the “grognard scene” and all that. I started receiving emails from the grognards, (ex-)servicemen and established publishers, saying very positive things about the game, even in its early, crude form. Unfortunately, I wasn't very responsive those days, and even left some of the emails unanswered. Hopefully I've improved from that. Around the same time the discussion forum was opened, and I got feedback and help from the players, and kept developing the game. All of the current team members were “recruited” from the forum. I'm still the only programmer and the project leader. Sam is mainly responsible for the textures, Dmitriy makes the maps and additional artwork and Nikola is building the database. In 2016 I decided to work on this project full-time, to give it all the polish and chrome it deserves. For that purpose, I established my company, Veitikka Studios, and signed a contract with Matrix Games. That's where we're now.