For Company of Heroes 2, Relic Entertainment is offering up a very interesting new feature: ColdTech, where extreme weather can have a serious effect on a player’s units.
As a part of their Essence Engine 3.0, ColdTech will give the strategy game a new layer of challenge as the extreme temperatures of Soviet winters are introduced.
On a visual level, the engine will be able to dynamically generate snow in the game’s world—snow that can not only “accumulate on buildings and vehicles,” but which can also be provide a serious hinderance to units as it builds up. Players won’t be totally helpless, however, as they’ll be able to melt or remove snow.
On a deeper level, temperature will also come into play in Company of Heroes 2. For example, if left in the elements for too long, infantry troops can actually freeze to death, or entire platoons can be sent to die in the bitter cold of Russian waters by destroying the ice that sits below them.
“Company of Heroes 2 is all about authenticity and no game based on the Eastern Front would be complete without extreme weather conditions,” said Relic Entertainment game director Quinn Duffy in the announcement of ColdTech today. “Thanks to the enhanced technology offered by the new Essence Engine we are able to accurately portray the bitter Soviet winter which crippled the German army.”
What Relic is doing in Company of Heroes 2 in this way is pretty fascinating. There are plenty of games out there that deal with cold and snowy worlds in one way or another—and yet, so few of them actually do anything with those ideas. Snow is often little more than a method for providing a change in scenery, and not an actual, impactful game element. So, I love the ideas that Relic is implementing here, and would like to see more games do something similar.