A closer look behind the scenes reveals more probable delays for the highly anticipated RTS sequel.
I’m such a fan of the Company of Heroes series that whenever a whiff of any potential coverage comes through, Mr Hollingworth knows he has to let me know, lest he face the wrath of my nerd rage. Well, that’s not entirely true; he’s just a decent chap like that and does let me know about coverage opportunities, and the part about me being a big fan of the series is definitely on the money.
It wasn’t so long ago that I reinstalled the original game to try my hand at bot matches and even the intimidating reality of competitive multiplayer. Unlike riding a bike, my once-honed Company of Heroes skills had been reduced to embarrassingly n00bish levels, as I struggled to best even bots on moderate difficulty levels. For shame.
All of this is a rambling prelude to say that ever since I fell in love with Company of Heroes, I’ve been fantasising about Company of Heroes 2. Every screenshot, every gameplay preview, interviews one and two, and hands-on time all had me hungry for one thing: more.
It wasn’t so long ago that Company of Heroes 2 was still a THQ property and we were having super-secret content discussions with THQ PR representatives. For instance, just last month, our local THQ PR rep was offering us more team interviews and, even more excitingly, the heads up that the beta was going to run from the 18th of February to the 25th of February. We were also offered 100 beta keys to give away to the Atomic and PC & Tech Authority community. Such was my excitement that I promised my first-born child, blocked off the beta dates in my calendar and started counting down the days.
Then an unfortunate inevitability happened: THQ officially closed its doors. While this was sad to see, it was also sadder to know that three of my most anticipated titles for 2013—Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light and South Park: The Stick of Truth—had rather ominous shadows cast over their futures.
Thankfully, it didn’t take long for some big names to swoop in and scoop up almost every THQ property. Sega bought Relic and shifted them under the banner of The Creative Assembly, which means that the future of RTS just got a whole lot more exciting. But that blessed union soon led to questions about what exactly was happening with Company of Heroes 2; a game that, for all intents and purposes, should be close to finished.
Our old THQ PR representative confirmed that I should talk to local Sega PR for all things Company of Heroes 2 but, when I followed those instructions, I hit the dreaded ‘no comment’ wall. I was assured that I would be contacted when there was something that could be officially commented on, though. That was on the 11th of February, and the waiting game continues.
While four working days really isn’t a big deal in the grander scheme of things, it doesn’t bode particularly well for the likelihood that I’ll open my inbox on Monday morning and discover an email from Sega telling me that the Company of Heroes 2 beta is going live the same day. If the beta is delayed, there’s a good chance that the final game will be delayed, too. Furthermore, if THQ was willing to give 100 beta keys to us, we can only assume that similar quantities were offered to other outlets all around the globe, meaning that Relic was very serious about putting Company of Heroes 2 through some final hoops (especially considering the closed alpha took place late last year, and the closed beta was slated for early 2013). Hell, even the release window on Steam has shifted from March 2013, to 2013.
At the very least, one can only imagine that Sega will want its next release to be a win after the backlash to Aliens: Colonial Marines.