Enlisted aims to be an upcoming and ambitious online first-person squad shooter that recreates some of the most expansive battles from the World War 2 era.
The first public playtest was held just last month and took players to the suburbs of the town of Volokolamsk. Historical skirmishes like the Battle of Moscow and the Battle of Normandy are only parts of a large-scale battlefront that Enlisted promises to have players experience in phases. Through long experimentations and internal testings, developer Darkflow Software believes to have found a working solution and suffice to say, is pretty eager to get the game out there.
Speaking with SegmentNext in a recent interview, publisher Gaijin Entertainment CEO Anton Yudintsev confirmed that Enlisted should officially release for everyone later in the year. Yudintsev also discussed why only certain campaigns from World War 2 have been used in the game, what improvements are being rolled out for the enemy AI, additional modes in the pipelines, microtransactions, release plans, and such.
Yudintsev also shared a deep insight on ray tracing and path tracing technologies and how the two are often misunderstood when basing expectations from next-generation platforms.
How long has Enlisted been in development and how many people are currently working on it?
The game has been in development since 2016. We started with a team of only seven people and even now less than two dozen developers work on Enlisted. We’ve done a lot of experiments and internal tests before we found the formula we like, but now we’re right on track. This year Enlisted should become available to gamers.
In certain WWII scenarios, one faction can be at a disadvantage compared to the other to capture the true scenes of the history, right? However, from a balance perspective, don’t you think players will naturally want to avoid the disadvantageous side? Wouldn’t it be better to provide them some virtual incentives to balance things out? Like some specific rewards for playing at a disadvantage?
We’re deliberately using certain episodes within famous WWII campaigns where both sides had a good chance of winning. Ultimately those clashes were won because of the bravery of soldiers on the battlefield. That’s exactly the situation we’d like to recreate in Enlisted. Obviously there were other episodes in those battles where one side had practically no chances of winning, but we simply do not recreate them in the game.
Some of the game modes in Enlisted are symmetric which means that both sides have more or less the same total firepower and similar goals. These kinds of situations were not that common in real war, but nevertheless they did happen.
There are also asymmetric game modes that, for example, put one of the sides in a defensive position and the other one in an offensive one. These kinds of situations were more common in real war and they are balanced by having more soldiers on the attacking side. In fact, this is exactly what usually happened in real battles when an army tried to storm a heavily fortified position – it brought more soldiers.
How do the AI kills count to the overall score. Naturally, it will be easier to kill AI players than human players right? How do you guys plan to balance that? In one scenario, let’s say I have a levelled up squad compared to the opponent, does this mean my AI squad will always win over the enemy less leveled squad when they go head to head?
While we are working on improving the AI soldiers behavior, it would really be easier to kill them than a skilled human player, so we see your point. But that’s not necessarily bad. Any real battle and even any shooter game session is a fight between soldiers of a different skill level. These variations make battles more unpredictable and full of surprises. It’s always good to have more kills than you originally anticipated. You should also remember that players control AI soldiers through orders, so it would be harder to kill AI soldiers that belong to a highly skilled player.
All soldiers will become more powerful by levelling up, but the game would still require you to issue the right commands and choose the right position for battle to really use their full potential, otherwise your AI squad will fail even against an less leveled enemy squad. So ultimately your skill as a player is the key ingredient to success.
Apart from WW2 scenarios, what other game modes like Dominion can we expect to see in Enlisted?
We’ve just unveiled the new mode called Assault that is basically a mix of Invasion and Domination. Here the attackers will need to capture enemy territory while holding strategic points whilst the defenders will need to fight back and prevent the enemy from advancing.
Since you have all the ingredients in place, can we expect to see a battle royale mode based on Enlisted down the road?
Well, in fact we made a battle royale mode based on Enlisted even before the launch of Enlisted. It is called Cuisine Royale and it’s a separate game now available for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Enlisted and Cuisine Royale share the same game engine, some of the weapons and some other assets, but with each month, the two games drift away from each other to the point that nowadays not many gamers realise that Enlisted and Cuisine Royale have the same roots.
Let’s talk about the release plans for the game. When can we expect the game to release officially? Will Enlisted release on Steam just like War Thunder?
We’re planning to make this game available (CBT) at some point this year. The PC version will be available via our own Gaijin.Net platform in the same manner as War Thunder, Crossout, Star Conflict and Cuisine Royale. Basically you will be able to download the game from the official website and pay to us directly via our own store. We have not decided yet whether we’ll release it on Steam or other 3rd party PC platforms or not.
Microtransactions! Since it’s a F2P MMO, what is going to be your revenue model for this? What sort of microtransactions and in-game purchases do you guys have planned for it?
While we cannot disclose all the details yet, the microtransactions approach will be more or less similar to War Thunder. Players will be able to either play to get to the higher tier equipment and soldiers in each tech tree or pay to speed up the process. There will also be some premium cosmetic items that won’t give gameplay advantages but will please the most dedicated military history fans.
It’s important to mention that each campaign would have a unique list of available squads, weapons, vehicles and upgrades for each side. You won’t be able to use a Soviet squad with equipment from 1941 in the Allied assault on Omaha beach in 1944 and vice versa. So the game will have two unique tech trees for each campaign.
Are you guys planning on bringing the game to PS4? If not, why? Is it something related to the publisher side as both Xbox One and PS4 should be similar in power.
While we cannot comment on the specific platforms Enlisted will be available on, we’d like to stress that we’re committed to bringing Enlisted to as many gamers as possible. We’ll try to bring it to current generation platforms, but our current goal is to bring Enlisted to PC and next-gen consoles, so we cannot promise anything right now.
Talking of consoles! A huge game like Enlisted might be limited (with reference to player count) however, if we see PS5 and Xbox Series X, they should offer sufficient raw power to replicate PC battles right?
Unfortunately we’re still not allowed to speak about the next-generation consoles in detail, even though a lot of information has already been disclosed by the platform holders. So you can just take a look at the public information on the PS5 and Xbox Series X specifications to get an idea about their raw power and what that would mean for the gaming industry. I’d say we’re quite happy with the next-gen capabilities and what we can do with Enlisted there.
In fact, we have a lot of experience in replicating PC quality graphics on consoles. One good example is that we managed to bring War Thunder to PS4 at it’s launch without sacrificing the quality. Now we can ensure you that we’ll make Enlisted look really great on next-game consoles.
Do you think if Enlisted is released on Series X (with its current specs), the game will be able to deliver 4K and 60 FPS with Ray Tracing?
We aim to achieve that goal on both next-gen consoles.
How would the use of SSDs in new consoles be beneficial for big MMOs like Enlisted?
Obviously SSD would help us speed up the loading times. Loading in Enlisted is already done very fast even on the current generation of consoles, you can check out this yourself in Cuisine Royale that uses the same engine. SSD would improve this even further. It’s very important to put a player instantly into battle and remove any obstacles between him and the actual gameplay.