Burden of Command announced

Now here’s something I haven’t seen before: a World War 2-themed fantasy strategy title. Currently being developed by Green Tree Games LLC, Burden of Command puts you in the shoes of–you guessed it–a World War 2 commander. Or rather, to be more precise, a Captain:

You’re the Captain of a company of the fabled Cottonbalers, leading your men on and off the battlefield from Morocco to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. Fighting psychology as much as bullets, you must build respect, trust, and battlefield experience to bring your brothers safely home.

“Now Craig,” you might say, “what makes this akin to a fantasy strategy title and not just one of a zillion different WW2-themed wargames out there?” Well, it’ ain’t the “fantasy” part–this game is striving for extreme historical accuracy. And much like a wargame, BoC primarily puts you in command of squads, not individual characters. However, Burden of Command has three big things going for it that set it apart from your typical war game: psychological modeling, role-playing choices, and an experience system.

Let’s start with that first bit. According to developer Luke Hughes, morale plays a big role in this game: not only does it influence the effectiveness of a unit’s actions on the battlefield, it determines the likelihood that your units even listen to your commands in the first place (as opposed to, say, simply running away). You can build trust and respect with your troops over time, which will have morale-boosting effects, and your troops can develop “mindsets” that influence their behavior as well. You’ll need all the morale you can get, because this game combines character permadeath with heavy RNG and a hard limit on how many commands you can issue per turn.

Here’s a teaser trailer to help you visualize this stuff:

As the trailer suggests, Burden of Command isn’t planned as merely a series of turn-based fights; randomized “dynamic” events will pop up in the middle of battles and force you to make difficult narrative choices as well. The decisions you make as a commander will impact unit morale, which–in combination with factors like equipment, terrain, flanking, line of sight, and experience–will determine how well your units perform. (That’s another thing: your units gain experience as they fight, and they become more effective as they do so–though I wouldn’t expect anything quite so explicit as “levels” to show up in-game.)

Burden of Command is being developed for Windows, and is tentatively planned for a Steam release in 2018.

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