When you fire up Company of Heroes 2, take a moment to appreciate your surroundings. Specifically, the snow. That soft, white, procedurally generated frostiness gathers, deepens, collects tracks of passing soldiers — at least until it is covered with more snow.
I’m banging on about the snow a bit I know, but for Relic snow is kind of a big deal — one that is six years in the making. Speaking to PCGamesN, Company of Heroes’ principle designer Quinn Duffy summarises. “[In the six years since Company of Heroes] there were a number of cases where we looked at the game, at what we were going to do, and we didn’t get to the point where we had the technology we wanted, or the systems to drive the development, to tell the kind of story we wanted to about the Eastern Front.”
“We looked at doing an expansion pack, an Eastern Front expansion pack for the original, but we couldn’t do the snow, we couldn’t do the breaking ice, we couldn’t do the cold weather stuff in the original game engine.”
So behold what technology has wrought, and when you’re enjoying the new tactical scope of Company of Heroes 2, be glad it wasn’t just an expansion.