Ever since the pixellated rectangles of Dune 2 trundled into my world back in the early 90s, I’ve had a soft spot for tanks. I must have commanded millions over the last three decades of real time strategy, but in all that time they’ve not really changed much. A video game tank in 2021 might have a damage-reducing armour value, but it’s still essentially a box that snarls “yessir” when you click on it, and which functions perfectly until its hit points run out, whereupon it bursts. I want more complexity. I want tanks which feel like the messy, complex, cantankerous machines they are. And while there are many games which go well deep into simulating tanks, they’re largely not RTS games.
Among the extant tank-havers of the RTS genre, it’s probably Company Of Heroes 2 which lends the big metal lads the most personality. It makes Panzer Vs every bit the icons of fear they should be, while T-34s career about the place like the reckless, clattering have-a-go heroes they were. When Company Of Heroes 3 lands next year, we’ve been promised an even chuggier time, so I had a chat with the game’s lead campaign director Andrew Deneault and lead mission designer Sacha Narine to find out more about what to expect.