With the World War shooter genre making a comeback in popular franchises such as Call of Duty and Battlefield, new properties have also begun making their way around the gaming community. One such title to hit Steam Early Access is Battalion 1944, a competitive first-person shooter that promises to restore the quality of old-school shooters. The game is inspired by many games past and present, and here are our picks for the games that may have inspired it the most.
Call of Duty 2
Infinity Ward found success with the original Call of Duty on PC but would not reach mainstream acclaim until releasing the sequel in 2005. Also functioning as a launch title for the Xbox 360, the game put you into the roles of common foot soldiers fighting many battles across three campaigns. It also introduced many mechanics that would later become staples of the franchise, including realistic smoke and weather effects, open-ended areas and a more feature-complete multiplayer.
One of the game’s biggest influences is through the way it handled its health system, ditching the traditional health bar in favour of a regenerative system. While action games had already tried this in the past, it would be Call of Duty 2 that popularised and set the standard for this system in future games.
Battalion 1944 chooses this game as its prime inspiration in that it returns to a more skill-based multiplayer experience that games like Call of Duty 2 offered. Instead of airstrikes, tactical nukes and fighter planes, it’s an arena fight between your squad and an enemy team.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
While not a game set in World War II, a lot of the structure of Valve’s Counter-Strike titles has inspired what type of game Bulkhead Interactive want theirs to be, with Global Offensive being the most influential.
The game’s primary mode, Wartide, features two bomb sites that must be defended or destroyed, with each player only having a single life in each round. While other games have also featured this type of gameplay – such as Call of Duty’s ‘Search and Destroy’ - the concept was popularised through Counter-Strike.
Battalion 1944 also features weapon skins, crates and micro-transactions in a system similar to Global Offensive’s. The money generated from buying loot crates goes towards LAN tournaments and other community events hosted by the developers. From this, it is apparent that Bulkhead wants Battalion to take off as an alternative competitive esports game.
Day of Defeat
Day of Defeat began as a mod for Half-Life released in 2000, before receiving a standalone release in 2003. Multiplayer was the sole focus of this game, featuring the Allies and the Axis armies as well as a realistic portrayal of weapons from the World War II era. In many ways it can be seen as a companion to Counter-Strike, as both were made by Valve, were built on the Source engine, and feature the same type of fast-paced, skill-based gameplay.
Battalion 1944’s class-based multiplayer takes a leaf from Day of Defeat’s book, with both games featuring classes containing different weapons as well as coming with different strengths and weaknesses. That – along with the time period – was a main influence on Battalion 1944’s core structure.
Day of Infamy
New World Interactive’s Day of Infamy is seen by many to be a modern successor to games like Day of Defeat and Battlefield 1942. The game takes a more realistic approach than the previously-mentioned titles, excluding a minimap, a crosshair and kill feed. Originally a free Steam Workshop mod for New World’s previous shooter, Insurgency, it soon picked up a huge following and a release on Steam Early Access came soon after. It stayed there for a few months before receiving a full release in March 2017.
The current build of Battalion 1944 seems to follow a similar strategy. Early access first – in order to get the game off its feet – and then add to it over time until a full release is ready. According to the game’s Steam Store page, Bulkhead estimate the game will be in this state for about a year. With the success of Day of Infamy, it is no surprise that Bulkhead saw there was a market for World War II FPS games releasing through this same business model.
You can read our preview of Battalion 1944 here. Did you have a favourite war-themed videogame when you were younger? Let us know in the comments.