When working on the design of the Second World War, I spent many hours immersing myself in the drama and core themes of the conflict reading books and even watching old movies. This being my third involvement in a Making History WWII-based title, I know the main story-lines. Still I felt the need to review the course of the war many times over focusing on the important timeline events, the most iconic weapon systems and impactful technologies. Since The Second World War has the established Making History gameplay style, I also explored several alternative history books on the war.
There are many dramatic and crucial battles during those years. For me the most exciting unfolded in the waters around Midway Atoll in June 1942. After weeks of planning, code-breaking and maneuvers, it was essentially all over in a matter of minutes. A decisive naval battle fought between carrier groups where the ships were never within visual range.
Carrier-based Air Patrol (Game image)
Studying the battle and watching the historically challenged movie version, I was inspired to significantly increase the importance of carriers in The Second World War. Of all weapon systems, Carriers should be the most potent and dominant tactical units in the game. Working within the limits presented by the strategic focus of the game, we’ve added some unique abilities and power to the carrier units.
Each Naval Group with a Carrier can project up to 3 simultaneous orders. This means you can Patrol, Bomb and Strafe in three different locations at the same time. Or Torpedo Attack in 2 while Patrolling in another. We’ve also added some new attack orders. Naval Bombers and Carrier Fighters have a Combined Attack that targets Carrier ships directly. You can also order your Carrier Fighters to Strafe ships where they have a higher rate of success but a greater risk of being shot down due to the lower altitude.
Carrier-based Torpedo Bomber launches attack (Game image)
For the most part the AI uses its surface navy to defend against invasion, support transporting units or to counter trade interdiction. In The Second World War the AI will employ Carriers as an offensive weapon that seek out targets to attack from a safe distance while prioritizing the sinking enemy Carriers over other ships. We are hoping to see a significant increase in Carrier activity in the Pacific theater. Players will be forced to hunt and kill enemy Carrier groups before the AI or a MP friend can locate and sink their own.
In order to facilitate the range of a Carrier Task force and other naval operations, we’ve added Supply Ship units that carry extra Coal or Oil. These Oilers and Coliers can be combined with your naval groups to extend your stay at sea. There is also a Submarine version based on the German “Milchkühe” (milk cows).
The Oiler and Colier Naval Supply Units
This should eliminate some frustrations that come with having fuel limitations – which will be stricter in The Second World War versus The Great War. Naval Groups that run out of fuel will need to travel to the nearest accessible Port to resupply. Like with Land-based orders, Nations must have sufficient supplies to initiate a naval order. Transport ships will not be able to load or unload when fuel is at 0%. We do not want to burden the player with supply constraints. These new Supply units should make the system more manageable.
American Standard Battleship and Light Cruiser III
Additional work has been done improving the basic naval AI including creating a more aggressive use of Shore Bombardments to support amphibious assaults and Port Bombardments for targeting enemy naval groups trying to avoid engagements. The AI will seek out and target enemy shipping. We are still looking at how the Battle of the Atlantic might be intensified by adjusting Interdiction aggressiveness.
German Cruiser and German Attack Submarine