The Wargamer

23 June 2017

Community Interview: Combat Mission: Fortress Italy

Stephen Grammont, co-founder of Battlefront, personally answers questions posed by our community about their upcoming addition to the Combat Mission series.

Published on 27 JUL 2012 1:07am by The Wargamer Community

Interviewee: Stephen Grammont, Co-Founder of Battlefront and Co-Creator of the Combat Mission series.


Szmania: Why was the battle for Italy chosen as the next addition to the Combat Mission series?

We've always been interested in returning to the Italian Theater, but we were surprised to find ourselves doing it so soon. The obvious sequel would be “The Bulge,” but we felt it was better to put some time between Normandy and Bulge since there's a lot of initial overlap between the forces of the two. We decided to spend most of this past year improving the game engine and felt the Eastern Front would be just too big a topic to bite into right away. We've been doing the artwork all along, so now that Italy is done we can move forward with both our first Eastern Front and temperate modern games, with a new engine underneath.



destraex: What will be the scope of Combat Mission: Fortess Italy? Will it feature the battles for Sicily, Monte Cassino and/or Anzio?

Eventually, Italy will cover all the way up to the end of the war. The first module will introduce Commonwealth forces and bring the fight to the mainland.

destraex: What nations' armed forces will be represented in the game? How will Italy, swapping sides, be represented?

We haven't 100% nailed down the Commonwealth forces yet, but for sure Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will be in the first module. Other forces, such as Allied Italians, will likely work their way into the game in Packs (more unit focused than Modules).



destraex: Considering the terrain in which the game is focused, will there be cavalry, donkey, and mountain troops?

No. The simulation of any four-footed friend of infantry is vastly greater than the tactical benefit the game would get from it.

destraex: Will amphibious landings or river crossings be implemented? How about "Anzio Annie" (railway gun) or Goliath tracked mines?

Traditionally, we stay clear of amphibious assaults because they generally were set piece battles with foregone conclusions, and very little of interest from CM's tactical scale and timeframe. We have not planned out details like “Anzio Annie” or Goliath yet. So I can't say for sure, either way, at this point.


destraex:  Has mutliplayer been enhanced? Will there be COOP gameplay available against the AI?

Multiplayer has made a small leap forward with the inclusion of the ability to pause a real-time game. More underlying work is done for future improvements, but we simply didn't have time to implement and test them at this time. CoPlay (cooperative play) is years away, if ever. The effort needed to make that happen is nothing short of massive and the demand for it somewhat questionable (especially compared to the other hundreds of significant features people ask for). Even if we thought there was a massive demand for CoPlay, we'd still hesitate.

MikeGER: Will there be NVIDIA 3D Vision® compatibility?

Not at this time.

MikeGER: Will there be TrackIR support for the camera? How about a point-of-view camera?

Unfortunately, we don't have time to spend on supporting devices that, although cool for sure, only a small portion of our customers have access to.


MikeGER: Will fire and flame weapons be in this addition?

No, not yet. We need to make a major graphical and simulation effort before we can get them in the way they should be. There were too many other priorities this time around for that to happen.

Tinkershuffle: What does Battlefront see in the future for the wargaming market in which their games are targeted? Are their games focused on keeping the old customer base, or bringing in new customers

We have always, and will always, focused a fair amount of our energies on bringing in new customers. We are also very interested in keeping the customers we have happy enough to continue being customers. This is not an easy thing to do, because with every change we make there will always be someone who is going to be unhappy. Either, we did something they didn't like or we didn't do something they wanted. Which means we have to make a steady, "broad front" effort to improve the game for multiple audiences simultaneously: a graphical improvement here for this crowd, a hardcore game improvement over there for another crowd, an editor improvement here, a modding improvement there, etc… If you look over the features included in version 2.0, you'll see what I mean.



Wolverine101: Is Battlefront interested in linking all the Combat Mission World War 2 games into one grand campaign?

It sounds nice in theory, but it would give us nightmares. The scope is just too broad for our capabilities.

Szmania: What shall we see the Combat Mission series taking on next?

We have already announced we're actively working on our first Eastern Front game (Bagration to end of war) and a temperate setting for NATO and Russian forces. We have the Market Garden module in the near term and will likely start on the first module for Italy soon. Beyond that, we're not committing to a specific timeline for other topics we will definitely cover (Bulge, Eastern Front 1943-44, etc...).


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Interviewer: The Wargamer Community (Szmania, destraex, MikeGER, Tinkershuffle, Wolverine101)

About Stephen Grammont

Stephen Grammont is the Co-Founder of and Co-Creator of Combat Mission, beginning in 1997. He has a BA in History, focusing on military history which he attained before 1993. From 1993 to1995 he made his first wargame, got it published, and found out first hand "how the little guys get crushed by everybody else." Between 1995 and 1997 Stephen worked as QA Manager and Producer at Impressions.