Set amid the smog-ravaged trenches of World War I, Petroglyph’s all-new real-time strategy game The Great War: Western Front thrusts players into a world far removed from ours, yet hauntingly and terribly familiar. A key feature is the ability to command either the Allies or the Central Powers, the perspective of which, with notable exceptions like All Quiet On The Western Front, is so often overlooked by Western media. This has been true of the hype around Great War: Western Front as well, so far.
Consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey), the Central Powers are often overlooked, but they played a pivotal role in World War I. When I asked co-founder and creative director Joe Bostic why Petroglyph chose to include them, he replied, “Exploring game strategies from the perspective of the two major alliances involved on the Western Front during World War I made a lot of sense because each side don’t approach the war using the same strategy.
“Each chose to explore war tactics and strategy in different ways, some creative, some shocking. We wanted The Great War: Western Front to allow you to explore different strategies. As a result, Great War: Western Front hopes to shed some light on these forgotten belligerents by showing how they perform in-game in this – Game News exclusive.
The first thing to note is the emphasis on research into trench technology, an area in which the Central Powers excel. Given its position in the center of Europe, it was in many cases easier to dig in and maintain than to expand outwards. Therefore, the competition between units in trench warfare makes a lot of sense.
Despite this, Bostic warns that “even if you choose the same technological advancements as history, you can still change the outcome of the war using your own battle strategies such as Allied Forces or Central Powers.”
As part of his campaign, Renato Orellana, content designer of Petroglyph, adopts the trench technology “Death From Below”, which unlocks the undermining. This powerful new ability allows you to place explosives in different areas before battle takes place and then activate them during combat. The result? Chaos and destruction.
Another of the many advantages of the Central Powers is that they do not suffer the morale penalty of “disunity of command” and can resort to recruiting infantry, an inexpensive unit that is perfect for increasing numbers. Keep in mind that they obviously aren’t very well trained, so they’re really only there to bolster the ranks.
The Grenadiers are the elite force of the Central Powers and the perfect answer to Allied invaders. They’re good at close combat, but it’s their grenades that shine. They will be the ones dealing the damage while your infantry invade the battlefield and create confusion.
But of course, we all like technology a bit, don’t we? Enter the Flakpanzer A7V, a highly mobile anti-aircraft gun that will keep your ground troops safe by bringing them literally one step closer to enemy air power.
The combination of all these unique units will help you bring history back to life or completely rewrite it when the game launches on March 30. If you’re a fan of war games, you can pre-order The Great War: Western Front on Steam. or the Epic Games Store.
If you can’t wait that long, be sure to check out our list of the best strategy games to sharpen your mind before playing, or the best war games if you fancy getting that military mindset.