Tom Clancy's EndWar is a real-time tactics game designed by Ubisoft Shanghai for the, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and Xbox 360 platforms, released on November 4, 2008 in North America and November 7, 2008 in Europe. A Windows version will be released at a later date. It is set in 2020 at which time World War III is ongoing.
In 2011, the United States and the European Union sign the historic SLAMS (Space-Land-Air Missile Shield) Treaty, agreeing to co-develop technologies for a comprehensive, interlocking anti-ballistic missile system. Left out of the treaty, Russia accelerates development of its own system. SLAMS is activated in 2014. The US and EU launch test salvos against each other, which the SLAMS weapons completely destroy. Emboldened by the success of the tests, the US and EU pronounce "the end of strategic nuclear war," and the world celebrates a new age of peace and security.
However, in 2015 it is found that major oil companies have overstated the amount of recoverable oil reserves. Energy security becomes the explicit priority of governments around the world. Russia, being the world's number one supplier of natural gas and crude oil, has its economy skyrocket up with the energy crisis, spending its oil profits on modernizing its armed forces and utilizing its new-found power to influence world events. A nuclear war occurs between Saudi Arabia and Iran in 2016, killing 20 million, further compounding the energy crisis and greatly destabilising the nations of Europe. With crude oil now at 800 dollars a barrel, the alliance of individual countries of the European Union are forced to band together to consolidate political, economic and military power in the face of growing global security, environmental and economic concerns. Morphing to become the new superpower of the "European Federation" (EF) in 2018, most of the wealthy Western Europe is now recognised as an independent state in its own right. Britain and Ireland decline membership while Switzerland remains neutral. Relations between the US and EF are not exactly warm- each regarding the other's power as a threat to their own, the now fractured former allies embark on a costly space arms race with each other.
The militarisation of space reaches its peak in 2018, when the United States reveals plans to launch the "Freedom Star" space station into high orbit by 2020, in an effort to regain its position as the premier world superpower. While partly designed for civilian research purposes, the station will also house three companies of U.S. Marines, who can deploy anywhere on Earth within 90 minutes. International reaction is extremely negative, to say the least. The EF and Russia in particular despise the development, seeing it as a way the US could use to neutralise their portion of anti-ballistic defences and upset the balance of power. They withdraw from the already divided NATO in protest. In 2020, when the final module of the Freedom Star is set to launch from Kennedy Space Center amid international outcry, it comes as little surprise when a group of terrorists attack the launch site. In investigating the source of the attack, the US, the EF, and Russia find themselves at odds, rolling with unstoppable momentum toward full-scale global war.
In an IGN interview, De Plater said the setting of EndWar (as a possible series) is a global battle, but the first installment is focused on the North Atlantic theatre of battle, Europe, Russia and North America. Players will hear reports of events in other parts of the world. Below is a list of battlefields that will appear in the game. Almost all of the locations are based on existing locations.
A TeamXbox Article confirms that Captain Scott Mitchell of the Ghost Recon series survives the events of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 and leads the JSF as a General. Creative Director Michael de Plater has revealed that the Ghost Recon team will be the Special Forces team for the United States, Rainbow Six characters will be promoted as special European Federation commanders, and Third Echelon will provide battlefield intelligence, along with special units such as snipers. During the Ubidays 2008 conference, it was revealed that units appearing in the upcoming Tom Clancy game H.A.W.X. will also be available in EndWar.
The United States President in the novelization of the game is David Becerra, who is described as being the first Hispanic President.
It should be noted that De Plater has confirmed 4 v. 4. It will be released in a later patch. The game's lead designer, Michael de Plater, has confirmed the game to be a Real-time tactics strategy war-game Units will gain experience as they are used in battle. The emphasis will be more on smaller scale battles rather than the overarching campaign.
This game uses the "Overlord voice command system" basically you can play the actual game (not menus and pause screen) by using voice commands. Ex. Unit 2 attack target Ex. Unit 3 + Unit 1 attack and secure uplink alpha.
There are 3 playable factions in EndWar:
- The Russian Spetsnaz Guards Brigade, which is composed of veterans of Russia's many regional conflicts, specializing in heavy weapons and heavy armor. The Spetsnaz sometimes, modifing standard vehicles to suit their needs.
- The European Federation Enforcers Corps, which is made up of veteran elite counter-terrorist and peacekeeping forces from throughout Europe, especially skilled in urban warfare. While their weaponry may not be as precise as those of the JSF and their units are slightly less armored, their strength lies in electronic warfare, as well as non-lethal weapons technology and advanced directed energy weapons. The Europeans also have th games fastest but also the most lightley armoured vehicles.Their ranks notably contain many previous members of the elite counter-terrorist unit Rainbow.
- The United States' Joint Strike Force, led by Ghost Recon main character Scott Mitchell, is modeled after today's Marine Expeditionary Units. The JSF is built around small, fast, units packing a precise punch, and is made up of elite soldiers from all branches of the U.S. Military. They also specialize in access to state-of-the-art stealth technology and battlefield robotics, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Automated Sentry Drones.
There are seven types of units available for direct command: riflemen, engineers, tanks, transports, gunships, artillery, and command vehicles. Troops which have been with the player for many battles will be more effective than fresh recruits. De Plater, Creative Director, says this creates a "Pokémon-like" ownership of the player's units, and will have a large effect on his tactics. "It's a battalion that you own," says de Plater. "You can personalize it. You can customize it. You can choose its motto and its heraldry. You can change its composition and abilities." According to a Pre-Games Convention IGN article: "Each faction has roughly 150 upgrades and units have six levels of experience. These upgrades are where the seven unit types can gain great variety and specialization through three different ways-experience, equipment and training, all of which have different effects and abilities. This allows many of the related unit types other games consider a different class have merely to be folded into one of the eight present in EndWar. For example, a rifleman may be upgraded to a sniper unit rather than having that unit type exist by itself."
Each individual unit can gain many upgrades for attack and defence (e.g. extra armour on sides of tank or anti-aircraft gun attached to tank). Upgrades must be bought from points earned in the game.
There are about 40,000 lines of dialogue, 9,000 of which are "unit chatter" that will give a battalion its own personality. Each unit will have a specific voice to help the player recognize instantly which one is in danger, and these voices show the degree of danger they are in (such as the severity of an injury or the morale the unit has).
The player will not control individual soldiers, but much larger platoons and companies. The soldiers will behave realistically, using stealth and military tactics. Veterans will act based on their experience in previous battles.
Robert Ashley, a writer for Electronic Gaming Monthly reports:
"Squadrons of heavily armed soldiers, when ordered to a cluster of firebombed cars, will automatically take cover in different ways, periodically taking potshots at the enemy through windows and over hoods. If a soldier gets shot, one of his squadmates will drag him back to safety. When the player orders reinforcements, the additional troops deploy from helicopters, rappelling down the ropes like old pros. When ordered to take control of a building, the troops will gather around the entrance and break in Rainbow Six-style-boot through the door and guns blazing. Then they will take sniper positions in the windows."
Craters, walls, debris, and buildings can be used for cover, and units can be pinned down by heavy enemy fire.
De Plater hinted at the game being streamlined with regards to units, resource management, etc. He stated that "every time [they] cut features out, it just made the game better." For example, only 12 groups are allowed under control at once, creating a "Madden at war" style of battle. Also, the resource system will be stripped down compared to other RTS games. Each unit costs the same amount of resources, which are gained by capturing strategic points on the battlefield. Reinforcements will be handled realistically meaning all new units must be transported onto the battlefield by a transport vehicle (or in the case of helicopters, will fly in from off-screen).
To call in new units it costs 4 CP (Command Points), Command Points are also used to call in airstrikes, force recon and electronic warfare, the 3 kinds of offmap support. Command Points regenerate at a rate of around 1 per 30 seconds and are also gained for killing enemy units, you gain a bonus of 4 Command Points for capturing an uplink.
Riflemen: These are standard infantry, and with upgrades they can 'Deep Strike' to any area on the map (for an extra charge of 6 Command Points + the 4 CP for calling them in). They are effective against gunships while they are in cover, as well as against engineers. They can utilize stealth to avoid being spotted by hostiles. They can capture uplink points, but upgrade them slower than engineers. The Russian riflemen are called Wolves, and are part of Spetsnaz. European riflemen are called Kommandos, and are lauded for their diversity, as they stick to the tactics of their original national units, making them extremely difficult to predict. The American riflemen are called Ghosts, and recruited from various aspects of the United States Armed Forces, including Marine Force Recon, SEALs, Army Rangers, Green Berets and Ghost Recon soldiers.
Engineers: These are anti-tank troops, although while in cover they are effective against almost everything apart from distant artillery and riflemen. Engineers can plant land mines every 25 seconds, and can also use heavy machine guns as a special ability to damage riflemen and gunships more effectively. The Russian engineers are known as Bears, and part of Spetsnaz, like the riflemen. European engineers are called Grenadiers, and are renowned for their non-lethal weapons. American engineers are referred to as Pioneers, and are equipped with powered exoskeletons, although their weaponry is less advanced than their European counterparts.
Transports: These units are effective against gunships and riflemen, and can transport infantry, although they are highly vulnerable to tanks and entrenched engineers. Russia employs the BTR-112 Cockroach, which is described as having the ideal balance of transport and anti-aircraft functions. Europe uses the German AMZ-26 Badger, which is remarkably fuel-efficient, and boasts a lethal heat-ray. America uses the M118 Fastback.
Tanks: Tanks are extremely efficient against most armored vehicles, although they are vulnerable to entrenched engineers, artillery strikes, gunships and minefields. The Russians employ the T-100 Ogre, described as being the World War III equivalent of the Tiger I tank of World War II, and is extremely mine-resistant, apparently to compensate for the lack of Russian mine sweeping technology. The Europeans employ the Panther 1A3, developed by some of the best corporations across Europe, and utilizes an arguably cruel microwave-emitter. The Americans use the M5A2 Schwarzkopf, named after General Norman Schwarzkopf of the Persian Gulf War, although it is lambasted for being grossly fuel-inefficient.
Gunships: Gunships are fast-attack helicopters that can be used to scout the battlefield for artillery and air strikes, and are also efficient tank-killers. They are nevertheless very fragile, and can be destroyed by transports or entrenched engineers. Russia uses the KA-65 Howler, which is described as being the most armed and armored helicopter in existence. Europe employs the PAH-6 Cheetah, a hydrogen vehicle, which is also equipped with laser-guided missiles for increased lethality. The United States uses the AH-80 Blackfoot, allegedly based on a canceled 2004 design that was recovered during the arms race.
Artillery: Although relatively slow and extremely fragile in close-quarters, artillery can devastate ground units from a distance. The Russians employ the KV-20 Zhukov, a twin-barreled platform allegedly promoted by Vladimir Putin, has a South African design that is less accurate than its foreign counterparts, but with a higher rate of fire. Europe uses the AMZ-50 Marksman, which is the fastest and lightest artillery unit in the world, and has a series of generators linked to the main gun, allowing for the Marksman to charge its own battery whilst firing. America utilizes the M320 Spartan, which is described as being little changed from decades ago, with minor technological improvements.
Command Vehicle: Command vehicles allow the player access to an overhead-view situation report, as well as access to UAV scouts. All command vehicles are guarded by escort units, which are efficient against infantry and helicopters. Command vehicles also have relatively large health levels, allowing them to last longer than most other units in combat. Russia uses the MAZ-660 King Spider, which keeps an array of low-tech backup equipment, and is the only Command Vehicle guarded by soldiers, not electronic drones. Europe employs the LV-20 Charlemagne, which does not use conventional weapons, but a variety of laser-based technologies. The Americans use the C1A5 Archon, which employs a 20mm chain gun for close support.
Missions in the single player campaign are divided into four separate groups based on location or accessibility and are conquest, assault, raid and siege.
Conquest: These battles are most straight forward. You start with three units and have access to reserves which can be called in and off map support. The aim of this mission type is to gain control over half of the uplinks for a five minute period, or destroy all enemies. When over half the uplinks are controlled, defcon one initiates and access to WMD's is granted.
Assault: These battles are a straight fight to the death, no taking uplinks, no destroying buildings, the only way to win this battle is to wipe out every last enemy unit.
Raid: These battles are like conquest mode, but you have to sabotage the enemy by destroying key buildings within fifteen minutes or defend against the enemy for fifteen, minutes, rather than taking uplinks or defeating all enemy forces.
Siege: These battles are exclusive to capital cities and require you to capture or defend a critical uplink identified by being larger than all other uplinks. The attacker must secure the uplink before reinforcements arrive in ten minutes, making the task a lot harder. The defender will be given eight units and must hold on to the uplink for ten minutes time, at which point a large force recon team deploys. Until the timer runs out, the defenders must do without any off-map support, including reinforcements and evacuation choppers, forcing units to fight to the last man. Off map supports, including WMD's and reinforcements, are half the CP cost.
The game will feature optional voice commands so that the player may use a headset to give orders to their troops, although the troops will only react to valid and game-related orders in certain languages, but are able to understand many accents of those languages. Officials at Ubisoft Shanghai said it was also possible to control the game using voice commands only. Hearing enemy soldiers communicate gives the player a strategic advantage to counter their attack with one of their own. Ubisoft has even created a video showing parrots commanding units using their voice.
Point of View
The view in the game is from the perspective of one of the units under the player's command. The camera can be panned 3-dimensionally and swapped between units but is not directly under the control of the player. Enemy units will only be detected if they are within the Line-of-Sight of a unit; doing away with the fog of war common in most strategy games; however, a player with enough investment into the space program can use satellite feed to see all units on the map.
In addition to the units' point of view, there is a tactical map or 'sitrep' (Situation Report) view, which shows the entire map with the locations of all allied and any visible enemy units which can be used to issue commands.
The special edition of Rainbow Six Vegas 2 included a video with the first live gameplay footage of this game.
The first EndWar trailer shows an overhead map of Europe with only Spain and half of France under US control, while the Russians occupy the rest of the continent. The camera then zooms to an ongoing battle in Paris, where a local Joint Strike Force commander, Major General Smith, directs the action from a mobile headquarters vehicle by using an interactive holographic map display. Outside, US soldiers armed with modified M8 assault rifles, along with advanced M3 Bradley APCs, DPV jeeps and M1 Abrams tanks, attack Russian forces holding out at the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre museum. Eventually, the US troops call in air support in the form of redesigned RAH-66 Comanche attack helicopters and V-22 Osprey transports, forcing the Russians to fall back. However, the assault is short-lived, as in addition to a mechanized counterattack, the Russian forces launch several UCAVs that shoot down the helicopters right on top of the soldiers. Realizing the desperate situation, General Smith issues voice attack commands to a Kinetic Strike satellite hovering over Europe. Russian soldiers surround him as he emerges from his command vehicle.
Just before the Russians take him in as a prisoner of war, the general says, "Now." The satellite fires at least three kinetic missiles down on his position, obliterating himself and the Russians, as well as large sections of Paris. Smith's death would be mentioned in passing on the EndWar novel.
The trailer depicts several major cultural icons from Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and a heavily damaged Luxor obelisk.
The music used in the trailer was composed by Michael McCann and can be found at his website.
Endwar was published as a novel, on February 4, 2008 in paperback form. The back cover says "Based on Ubisoft's bestselling game, Tom Clancy's EndWar", despite the game not yet having been released.
Xbox 360 Beta
A private beta test version was playable among Xbox Live Gold members. It included three maps and both 1v1 and 2v2 matches. The beta test began June 16, 2008 and ended July 9, 2008. Participants were placed under non-disclosure agreement until the game's first commercial launch.
The VIP demo for Xbox 360 users who pre-ordered the game was released a little more than a week late on October 11. The demo features one single-player story mission, one map that is playable in Skirmish mode with either 1 vs. 1 or 1 vs. AI, and a Voice Command Trainer.
The VIP demo has a campaign mission at Kennedy Space Center. The Skirmish mode features the European Federation versus the United States over the Kennedy Space Center in Conquest mode. The demo was released to the Xbox Live Marketplace on October 15.
As of the 30th October update, all PlayStation 3 users have access to the demo, which can be found on the PlayStation Store.
There is also a special code that appears when the user turns off the demo, this is used for gaining access to a special Spetznaz unit when you purchase the full version of the game.
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