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Heroes Over Europe Detailed

Speaking to IncGamers, Justin Halliday discusses the history of the franchise, the support Ubisoft has given the title and the persistent tweaking taking place behind the scenes to make this one of the best arcade flight games on the market.

This title is a sequel to Heroes of the Pacific on the original Xbox. Have you kept some of the same gameplay elements or have you started from scratch?

We’ve got a whole new game engine, but Heroes Over Europe retains all of the elements that made Heroes of the Pacific the best dogfighting game on the last generation of consoles: an authentic setting, great action and flying, and thrilling online battles.

The big new changes in Heroes Over Europe are the setting and the gameplay.  The new setting gives us the most stunning cities ever seen in a console flying game: London and Berlin.  We’ve spent the last few years re-writing our game engine so that it’s capable of rendering hugely detailed recreations of these cities, and the results are spectacular.

On e, we’we further ,ndethd$festlts refined our dogfighting experience and we’ve also added to it with new features like Ace Kill, Energy Attacks, and the tactical Squad Leader Kill.

Ace Kill is the new core feature in the game – basically, if you keep an enemy plane in your sights for long enough you then get the opportunity to take it out with a single shot – you can target its fuel tanks, the engine, the ammo boxes, or even the pilot himself.  If you perfect this you can also chain together Ace Kills to score multiple kills quickly and efficiently.

Energy Attacks are high-speed dive attacks that deal extra damage, you’ll need to get these right to tackle the enemy bomber formations later in the game.  Finally, the Squad Leader Kill is a tactical feature where you can shoot down the leader of an enemy squad and it will reduce the effectiveness and flying abilities of the other members of his squad.

We’ve seen Ubisoft publish flight games such as Blazing Angels and Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. over the last couple of years. Do you feel that having Ubisoft publishing this title will be an advantage for you when it comes to promoting the game?

Yeah, definitely.  Ubisoft have a great history with flying games, like the Blazing Angels series, and they actually published Heroes of the Pacific in the US.

From a developers’ point of view, it’s fantastic working with Ubisoft. They are as dedicated to making sure the game is great as we are.

What modes will we see in the game? Will we be seeing a story driven main game that follows a pilot through the war or are they separated up into different landmark fights of World War 2?

Heroes Over Europe is split into Campaign and Online game modes.  The Campaign mode follows three different pilots through war, from the early stages of the fighting in the French Alps to attacks on the heart of Berlin.  These pilots, an America, a Brit, and a New Zealander, fly with different squadrons and the campaigns take them to all of the landmark battles of WWII.
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Is the game set in any particular campaign or time period frame within the war?  Or are we going to see campaigns across Europe and North Africa (I know it’s Heroes Over Europe, but the Med can count can’t it?)

The Campaign focuses on the Battle of Britain, and then the western European battles between England and Germany.  The Mediterranean doesn’t feature in the game, but there’s enough action there for a whole game on its own.

More importantly which battles will we be focused on in the game? Will we be seeing the famous Battle of Britain, and how have you made sure that each dogfight included is historically accurate?

The Battle of Britain is definitely included in the game across a series of missions, but we also include other famous engagements such as the Battle of the Bulge.

The goal of the Heroes series has never been slavish historical accuracy, we are more focused on providing an authentic and fun experience.  Every mission in the game starts from the historical event – like the Battle of Britain or the Battle of the Bulge – then we make sure there’s enough action and challenge for the player.

Can players expect to be involved in bombing runs and escort missions as well as the obvious dogfight missions?

Yes. Heroes Over Europe has a huge variety of mission types, including dogfights, bomber escort, ground attack, and torpedo bombing.

How will the objectives be handled?  Will we have primary and secondary objectives to complete?

Each of the missions is structured as a series of Primary Objectives.  Each mission also has a bonus objective that the player needs to complete to unlock better variations of the planes in the game.

What variety of aircraft will be available?  Can we expect to fly aircraft from only the Allies?

There are over 40 flyable planes in the game, including the British stalwarts – the Spitfire, Hurricane, and Typhoon – and the American planes that were introduced later in the war, like the Mustang, Lightning and Thunderbolt.  There are also a variety of flyable Axis planes, such as the Focke-Wulf, the Me 262 and the Me 109.

In the straight Campaign mode, you can only fly planes from the Allies.  However, once you’ve completed each mission you can replay it with any viable plane either from the Allies or the Axis.
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Will there be a German campaign mode where you can fly as the Germans?

No, the game is focused totally on the Allied campaign. Will the game be edited or released in a different version in Germany?

No, we’ve been careful not to include anything in the game that would preclude it from being released in Germany.  So there are no swastikas and the Germans can’t win the war…

World War 2 planes are comparatively easier to fly than modern day aircraft.  Will you be sticking to the same button maps as in H.A.W.X., or are you looking to change the button maps?

H.A.W.X. uses a controller configuration that is based on the Ace Combat controls.  Both of these schemes are designed for Professional style controls, where the player controls the roll and pitch and yaw of the plane separately and the guns are on the face buttons.

Heroes Over Europe (and Heroes of the Pacific before it) are arcade flying games, so our primary controls are Arcade, where the all of the flight controls are mapped to the Left Analogue stick and the weapons are on the triggers.  This is a much better control scheme for the arcade style of play that we have in Heroes.

How accurate are the flight physics of the aircraft and what research went into the creation of the digital versions?

We’ve often experimented with realistic physics, but each time we’ve found that the play experience is much more rewarding – and much less frustrating – with a simpler physics implementation.

For example, with real flight physics your plane gets more manoeuvrable as your speed increases, which is counter-intuitive for players and makes gameplay tuning much more difficult.

Multiplayer has been confirmed with support of up to 16 players and four different modes, can you confirm what the four different game modes consist of? And how many different maps will be available?

The four game modes are Dogfight, Team Dogfight, Survivor and Team Survivor.  As for maps, we have the French Alps, Berlin, London, and Dover.

You have also announced DLC will be supported from launch. What will you be making available to gamers? Will there be new levels for single player gameplay, new multiplayer maps, or will we be seeing new planes introduced?

We haven’t announced the details of the DLC yet, but all of those examples are possible.

Console games are notoriously crap when it comes to landings and take-offs. Can we expect to find ourselves in the air, or will you be looking at doing scramble missions?

In many missions the take-off and landing areas were quite far from the action, so we start the player closer to the action.  There are take-offs in the game, but these are only for missions where the action is centred on a local airfield.

Finally, how many wingmen will you have in your squadron and will you be able to assign them to mission objectives?

Based on our experiences with the wingmen in Heroes of the Pacific, the wingmen in Heroes Over Europe are under AI control.  On Heroes of the Pacific, we found that player controllable wingmen made the game much more difficult to balance.  Skilled players could use the wingmen very efficiently, whereas rookie players wouldn’t use the wingmen as often or as well.  There’s no way of balancing the missions where players can use (or not use) wingmen, is time 4o leaveoss ihereopleyep them under AI control through the whole game.

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