Multinational video game publisher Sega announced the upcoming release of a new expansion to their 2013 real-time strategy game Company of Heroes 2. Entitled Ardennes Assault, the expansion will be the game’s first and switches the focus of the single-player campaign from the Eastern Front of World War II to the Western, with the Battle of the Bulge being the centerpiece of the update’s campaign.
Company of Heroes is a real-time strategy franchise set during the Second World War developed by Canadian studio Relic Entertainment. Making its debut in 2006, the first Company of Heroes followed the American Able company from D-Day until their eventual arrival in Nazi Germany, with later expansions allowing players to take control of German forces and play a multiplayer campaign against others. The sequel, which was first announced in 2012, suffered from delays due to the bankruptcy of publisher THQ. Both the Company of Heroes franchise and Relic Entertainment were acquired by Sega and development of the sequel resumed, with the game releasing in June 2013. Company of Heroes 2 is set during the same time period as its predecessor but follows the Soviet campaign during their advance towards Berlin.
Company of Heroes 2 introduced a number of new improvements to the acclaimed strategy series, including environmental effects which can hamper the vision and mobility of units, online cooperative missions, and the ability to occupy civilian structures for temporary use as a variety of different military facilities. Despite receiving substantial critical praise for the improvements to the game engine and realistic multiplayer combat, the game’s story was panned for being bland at best and deliberately offensive at worst. Negative reactions to the portrayal of the Soviet Union amongst Russians were so strong that Russian distributor 1C-SoftClub halted sales of the game only two months after release, although the game still performed well in North America and the rest of Europe.
Ardennes Assault may be seeking to escape the criticism of the main title by shifting the focus back towards the American assault on the Western Front. The expansion is also introducing the ability to choose between several different companies to control, each of which possesses unique officers with different tactical skills that can be developed over the course of the eighteen scenario campaign that culminates in the Battle of the Bulge.
Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault is scheduled to launch on November 18, 2014 for Windows PCs as a stand-alone expansion to the original game, allowing new players the option of purchasing only the expansion campaign. The expansion is not currently planned to include any multiplayer features.