The masters of strategy in Relic are bringing us another return to World War 2. Company of Heroes 3 is coming, bringing with it tons of new features that are as amazing as they are exciting. The series is one of the best RTS staples out there, which manages to firmly plant its flag even during the fall of the genre. And with so little in the real-time strategy arena these days, a new company of heroes is much more than welcome.
We’ve already played for about 11 hours, and chatted with various team members, and the new entry is more than just holding the line. Two public playtests of the multiplayer have already arrived. So as we await the launch, we’ll also pop in what we learn about this big feature, so keep reading to learn everything we know about Company of Heroes 3.
What is the release date of Company of Heroes 3?
Company of Heroes 3 will launch on Steam on November 17, 2022. Relic announced the date during the PC Gamer livestream along with some new gameplay, which you can watch right here:
But you can play fast!
Relic is using fellow Sega studio Amplitude’s Games2Gather program, and signing up for it means you get sneak peeks, updates, and playable builds, so you can give dev feedback. You can now play Mission Alpha for CoH3 by signing up on Relic’s site. It will be available for trial by July 19, 2022.
How does Company of Heroes 3 Multiplayer feel?
In short – a spectacular cacophony. Managing the ebb and flow of battle can be a lot, as Fraser found in his time with it: “The chaos of multiplayer, especially when it’s over 1v1, is a sight to behold. There’s stuff going on throughout the map.” But even there’s often so much going on in front of you that, initially, it can be hard to wrap your head around. Duel tanks, infantry crushed by runs, artillery to field accelerates until it’s terraformed, paratroopers fall from the sky, buildings are collapsing—there are moments where I forget all I’m supposed to do and just stare, impressed And I’m scared. Maybe a little confused.”
Since you won’t have access to Tactical Pause’s built-in breath in multiplayer, it forces you to focus your attention in multiple places at once, and triage that requires your direct attention – and Who needs to stop yourself for a minute.
In which theater is Company of Heroes 3 set?
(image credit: Sega)
After fighting on the western and eastern fronts, the company of heroes is now heading towards the Mediterranean. You’ll duke it out in a campaign set across Italy, and now confirmed to North Africa, where you’ll conquer territory, engage in skirmishes and fight bespoke battles.
We’ve only seen Italy, and it seems huge. I played through a short piece where I had to take Monte Casino, giving me a road to Rome, but with my main objective there were countless other battles, side missions, and areas to conquer. What I could do in four hours took me 11.
The North African campaign is a more straightforward RTS campaign than the open map of Italy. “The North African operation is a linear story,” senior mission designer David Milne told me during its demonstration. “So players are going to complete each mission one after the other and feel like the whole story starts to end as we tell them.”
Interestingly, we have also heard that the selection of Italy as a setting was a choice made by the player council with which Relic is working.
Which Company of Heroes 3 factions will be playable?
You’ll be able to play as German, UK, and US forces, though on the campaign you’ll play the Allies. Importantly, you’ll actually be able to command both at the same time, giving you a great toy box to play with. Cooperation and tension between allies is a big part of operations, so you have to defy the wishes of your deputy commanders, including liaising with an Italian partisan.
Partisans are a special faction in which you will not command them like a normal army. Instead, you’ll use them to build traps on the campaign map and snatch enemy intelligence. I had to free some partisan forces first, and then by electing in their favour, I shelled out a bunch of convenient perks.
How do Company of Heroes 3 campaigns work?
(image credit: Sega)
Company of Heroes 3’s campaigns are turn-based and take place on the massive maps of Total War. You’ll have different objectives, but otherwise you can explore and conquer these maps however you work your way to victory.
Relic has created a ‘holistic loop’ that makes campaigns feel inextricably linked to RTS battles. Everything you can do in a real-time battle, you can do on a turn-based map, whether it’s using your air force to explore an area, your engineers to remove mines or Use your artillery to destroy enemy units. When you team up with an enemy on the map, you get to exchange fire before jumping into an RTS fight, and if you do enough damage you can wipe them out before the main battle. Even if you don’t, the effect of that turn-based confrontation will change things.
As you take over more territory, you get more resources that can be spent on your troops. Each sector gives you something, although taking advantage of it means you have to keep your supply lines open, and a broken link will mean your units will suffer. Few locations give you access to navy and air power, turning Company of Heroes 3 into a proper combined arms game.
With an airbase under your command, you can send planes on scouting missions, carry out bombings and drop soldiers behind enemy lines. Ships, meanwhile, can carry soldiers far, or can bombard enemies from the defenses of the coast. All of this would be a boon on the campaign map, but you’ll be able to use them all in missions as well.
What’s new in real-time battles?
(image credit: Sega)
Along with this strong connection to the campaign map, RTS engagements have a few more tricks up their sleeve.
The tactical pause system is one of the most notable new additions. Essentially, you can play Company of Heroes 3’s singleplayer entirely with your finger that never moves away from the pause button. When you freeze the action, you can still command your troops to line up to allow them to pull off a wide range of attacks when you return to the field. Relic hopes this will help new players understand complex fights, but it’s a very enjoyable way to play, especially if you’ve spent much time with turn-based strategy lately.
Destruction is a series mainstay, and Company of Heroes 3 has dialed the system up quite a bit. All its props, from buildings to foliage, can be damaged, and they just don’t have a state or two. Over time buildings can be demolished, vehicle parts can fly off and the destruction system tells you the story of the battle. The system dramatically transforms the battlefield, aided by striking lighting and bombastic audio. Judging by the maps after the battle, they are barely recognizable.
New to the destruction system is the solidity of things like fallen masonry, which can be used for cover. Destruction doesn’t mean all casing disappears, it just changes the casing type. There may be fewer buildings to hide, but that doesn’t mean everyone is fighting in the open. Debris can also be a risk, as it could fall on soldiers and crush them.
You can also choose to demolish a building instead of taking it down. You can command your infantry to disband, at which point they’ll toss in a grenade and then wipe out the enemies hiding inside. Some of them can run from behind, but you can catch them if you put other soldiers behind the building. If you use Upgraded Engineers, you can even use your flamethrower to dissolve, which is a lot of fun.
Most of your real-time fights will take place in random skirmishes with a variety of objectives, including running to victory points, chasing enemies and turtles defending territories. You’ll also encounter bespoke missions with more detailed maps and objectives. Some of these missions are things you’ll prepare to complete objectives on the campaign map before engaging in the main battle. You’ll also encounter random objectives throughout the mission, such as taking out a specific enemy or hunting down intelligence.
What is the difference between companies and units?
(image credit: Sega)
Companies are your primary units in the campaign, ranging from American air units to Indian artillery. They have commanders, technical trees and can engage in both campaigns and real-time combat. They all have access to their country’s normal soldiers, but also come with unique abilities and soldiers depending on their type. An air company, for example, can summon more troops and weapons from the sky.
Like companies, troop can fight on the campaign map, and they have special abilities like healing other units or removing mines. They can’t directly engage in real-time combat, but if they are owned by or associated with a company they empower it with more troops and abilities. For example, stick a medic troop for a company, and you’ll be able to drive a truck that passively heals all the soldiers around it.
What does Heroes 3’s subcommanders company do?
Deputy Commanders are essentially advisors. In the Italian campaign, you have to And there has been contact with representatives of the UK forces as well as the Italian partisans. They will appear from time to time giving you advice and directing you to potential opportunities. They also reflect the tension of this alliance, each with its own opinion on how to win the conflict. The US subcommander may recommend bombing an area before sending troops, but partisan contact may indicate that civilians are still in the area, suggesting a subtler approach.
Making your deputy commanders happy will open up a variety of benefits and some of your decisions may annoy your subordinates, but it is possible to keep all of them happy, which can bring you maximum benefits.
Finally, let’s enjoy the game of Spot the Difference