When approaching Obsidian Entertainment's Armored Warfare, you obviously expect tanks to wage war on the battlefield. Despite that, the title is much deeper than it appears if only you take the time to look and appreciate the amount of effort going into it.
At E3 we went hands on with the title during one of the many Player versus Environment (PvE) missions where a squad of vehicles tries to accomplish objectives and take down enemies together.
Rich Taylor, Project Director at Obsidian, described the variety of armored vehicles we would be able to pilot, the many differences between them, and how his studio went about replicating the armored titans.
When players choose one of these roles, they are committing to a specific playstyle according to Taylor, who emphasizes that each has pros and cons that need to be weighed alongside the overall composition of the team.
“...There are three main roles: tanks, artillery, and recon,” states Taylor.
“Tanks are pretty much what you'd expect them to be: defined by heavy armor, large caliber cannons, but of course because they are so big they are large targets and they give up some mobility for that thick armor that they possess.”
Available to us were the Challenger II out of the United Kingdom and the Leopard II-A-5 ,created in Germany.
Taylor continues, “[Then] we have is artillery, represented by long distance fire (able to fire anywhere on the map) and access to the satellite view that gives them a top down tactical view of the map. [This] allows the player to see what's going on across the map, where any enemy vehicles may be located. Of course artillery gives up defenses and armor, they really depend on their allies to hold the line and keep the enemies away from them. Not so good at defending themselves, not so much armor."
The only artillery vehicle available for our selection was the United State's M109A6 Paladin.
Finally, Taylor describes the equivalent of scouts. “[The] third role is recon, defined by high mobility (fastest vehicles), high view range (spot enemy vehicles quicker), and high stealth ratings (enemy has hard time detecting them).” That does come with some draw backs he admits, “Unfortunately for all that mobility they do give up a lot of armor, they don't want to take shots, and they're equipped with an auto-cannon so they do low damage per shot but they actually have rapid fire, so their damage per minute could be quite high.”
Included in this class was the M1128 Mobile Gun System out of the US that you have frequently seen in the Battlefield franchise, alongside the remarkably small Weasel 1.
All of these vehicles mentioned are modeled after their real world counterparts as Taylor describes in detail.
"These vehicles are modeled directly from the real vehicles in the real world. We've put a lot of effort, research, and work into making the models as accurate as possible. Any time we detect any deviation from the real world model we go and fix it. We have a library with tens of thousands of dollars worth of books that we've collected including actual maintenance manuals and usage manuals of some of these vehicles that we've used as references. We're really happy with how the quality has come together.
"In addition to accurately modeling them we also model their actual armor mechanics as well," he continues. "So armor thickness, armor layers, armor angle, all those factor into every single shot that's fired. A projectile can shatter, it can bounce, or it can penetrate depending on where it hits, what angle it connects at, and what type of projectile it is. So those are all facets that are going to come into play for players when they start to explore this game and learn what options are available."
Each of these classes matches it's real world trade-offs that militaries are faced with. But the accuracy in Armored Warfare goes further than that. Obsidian is looking to create fulfilling locales for players to wage battle in.
"This kind of represents our goal for our maps in Armored Warfare. Since this is a modern conflict, it takes place in the modern day, we took a look at what would be priority targets, or sources of conflict, in a modern war. For us we felt that it's key resource areas like oil refineries, pipelines, ports, things like that. That's where the battles are going to take place in these maps. Sometimes it will be city and urban and things like that [but] a lot of times it's going to be these key resource locations that would be a key point of conflict in a modern war."
During your time in those areas, you'll be able to truly feel powerful, destroying the environment around you. During our hands on time, there was relatively limited destruction, but Taylor says Obsidian is working hard on bringing that to the next level.
"There are a lot of destructive elements especially as you get into the refinery, you can start blowing through pipes and things like that. We're still working on building a destructible version of all of the assets," he states, "our goal is to have a very high level of destruction. I think it's very satisfying to plow right through things."
And all of this will be playable with four or five friends working cooperatively or in huge battles of 32 players. "We haven't finalized that number," Taylor admits. "For PvP we're looking at a lot larger team, so it'd be more like Battlefield numbers. We're looking for a large tier conflict.
But just like real life, you only have one shot when playing against other players, Taylor tells us.
"You only have one life. If you get blown up, you're out of that match." But rather than leave players to just sit there and spectate Obsidian is adopting a Counter Strike style where you can leave the match and continue playing. "You can just leave and jump into another match and when the previous match resolves you'll still get your XP and Credits and everything. So you're not stuck, it's more like Counter Strike sort of, you're not stuck waiting. So players have to be pretty careful about how they're using their vehicles. We'll experiment with other modes down the line and maybe they'll be respawns eventually but for default starters, we're not going to do that."
All of this together means that when players decide to pick up the free-to-play title, they'll encounter nothing short of an optimal experience. We can only hope that translates to success.
Interested? Closed beta sign ups are now available on the My website.