Men of War 2, the sequel to the original cult RTS Men of War, has been announced. It’s coming in 2022, and being developed by Ukrainian studio Best Way, the same studio behind the originals in the series: Men of War, which came out in 2009, and the proper first game in the series, 2004’s Soldiers: Heroes of World War 2.
We’ve seen some extended gameplay in action and had a walkthrough of some of the key features, and were pretty impressed with what we saw. In simple terms, imagine a Company of Heroes game with a bit more complexity to its systems (and maybe a smidge less budget).
The headline feature is the Front Line, which is interpreted literally here as a visible line in the UI between your units and the enemy’s. It’s based on where your troops are but, crucially, not your vehicles like tanks, and it’s the key marker of territory that dictates what you’re able to do – including where new units spawn, where you can set up things like minefields and trenches, and where medics can recover soldiers. From what we saw, manipulating the Front Line is a central part of things in Men of War 2 – an example historical RTS players will be familiar with is using tanks to burst through it, for instance, while being sure to support them effectively with the infantry units that actually move the line itself.
There’s also, fascinatingly, a first-person “direct view” in Men of War 2, that lets you drop down into a specific soldier’s perspective and actually influence the game that way, firing the main guns on tanks, for instance, or taking control of machine gun placements. How easy that will be to juggle with the high actions-per-minute requirements of a relatively complex RTS like this is another question, but it’s an interesting twist, effectively coming across as an inverse Hell Let Loose – where in that game the FPS is very much the focus, with a dash of RTS, this is very much an RTS game with a little sprinkling of FPS mixed in.
Developer Best Way also placed a lot of emphasis on the sophistication of Men of War’s tank mechanics during the presentation – there are a number of fairly intricate on-screen UI elements indicating what kind of damage you’re taking and dishing out with your tanks, and there’s clearly been a lot of focus on directionality. Similarly to other games like it, dealing damage to other tanks will require proper positioning and flanking, and a knowledge of where a given model of tank’s armour is strongest and weakest.
There are a few other bits and bobs. There are two campaigns, one on the Eastern Front and one the Western – we saw a little bit of the start of the former, Russian campaign, with the latter of course putting you in control of the Allied Forces as you work your way through France. There’s a big emphasis on historical accuracy, as there always is with these kinds of game, but interestingly Best Way mentions there’ll be a couple of new, often overlooked battles being featured in the campaigns, including the Battle of the Falaise pocket and Operation Bagration.
It’ll feature “full mod support” – Best Way illustrated this with some examples of what fan-made maps might look like, in unusual settings – and finally, there is of course multiplayer, up to 5v5, where you can control the French, Russians, or Germans online. Expect it some time in 2022, via Steam and “other stores”. Looks like it’ll be a good year for the historical RTS!