Company of Heroes, one of the most acclaimed RTS series since the beginning of the millennium, made its hallmark back in 2006 with its squad-based infantry, directional cover, and map control-driven resources. The success of the series was so great, it even shifted the original style of Dawn of War to one more akin to CoH.
The series has, however, thus far refrained from venturing from the comfy and well-known setting of World War 2, and though one rarely gets tired of making King Tigers test their strength against the Red Army or America's 101st Airborne, it would sure be intriguing to see how Relic would visit some other eras of history.
Though the 20th century is but a drop in the ocean of humanity's history, technological advancement radically changed how warfare was conducted in plenty of occasions. Here are some eras of the century we think would be good for CoH to consider and why.
World War I
The most common argument you can hear about making an RTS game based on The Great War is probably about the most defining factor of the conflict: trenches, machines guns, and static front lines. And they wouldn't be wrong. WW1 was notoriously stale compared to later conflicts. The technological advancement of the machine gun, combined with trenches and artillery, had the front lines barely shifting throughout the four years of conflict. Tank warfare was in its infancy at best, and the nation's armies learned the hard way that massing troops isn't a great way to keep your army functional.
But Company of Heroes isn't about accurately representing events or how they unfolded. After all, the game features units and tactics that were already pretty rare in World War 2, like the American Pershing tank or using V1 bombs against enemy forces. What CoH did was take inspiration from WW2 first and foremost. WW1 would be a great source of inspiration that the masses have already shown interest in, as the success of Battlefield 1 reflects.
This conflict will probably be the easiest one to transit to if Relic is looking for new eras to experiment with. Set just five years after the end of WW2, the Korean War featured a lot of the same equipment seen in the previous conflict but with a more widespread use of technology than was commonly seen before, such as helicopters and jet aircraft.
The setting would also be an interesting one for the seemingly low status the Korean War has in American 20th-century history, being overshadowed by WW2 and the Vietnam War. It would also spice up things a bit by allowing us to take part in a conflict between nations we have not seen confront each other before in any historically based game: the United States and China, along with their South and North Korean allies respectively.
From booby trap-infested jungles to the napalm strikes of the US Air Force and the infamous Agent Orange, Vietnam would be a fascinating setting for the next CoH game. The Vietnam conflict brought helicopter tactics to the forefront on the American side, while their opponents relied on tactics of attrition.
Some may argue that jungle warfare might be too hard to bring to the RTS genre, but the Vietnam War also saw its fair share of urban combat, as the fall of Saigon so vehemently illustrates. It is but another conflict with widespread international involvement, guaranteeing the possibilities of faction variety similar to those Relic already achieved in CoH and CoH2.
It is sort of surprising that Relic hasn't even ventured into this era yet considering how well it has done in other titles like World In Conflict or the Wargame series. Obviously, the game couldn't be based purely on historical events since the U.S. and its NATO allies never actually came to blows with their Soviet opponents and their respective allies. But this list isn't titled "5 Eras CoH Should Represent" for a reason.
Some of the most tense decades of modern civilization were lived in during the Cold War period, and it would be a shame not to see what CoH's developers could do with the era marked by a rapid advancement in technological warfare and vast accumulation of forces. From the streets of Berlin, the subarctic climate of Alaska, and the tropical landscapes of Cuba, a Cold War setting has plenty of options for a development team to play with.
Relic should not just consider the past but also the future as valid settings for their coming games. They already did a decent job with the Dawn of War series, and that was based on the already-defined universe of Warhammer 40k. And that is exactly why looking to a future setting would be even better: freedom from the constraints of history or from an already well-established lore that's decades old. A future setting for a CoH would give not just the artists more creative freedom, but the game designers as well. They wouldn't have to worry about bending the facts of history too much or of angering a fanbase raging about how "unit type A would never be able to take down B because rule 25 of 1994."
The future setting would allow developers to tweak and create scenarios as they would see fit, putting gameplay as the most important factor when designing their game, not having to worry about authenticity or historical or fictional aspects that have already been defined.
When suggesting the possible scenarios CoH could visit, the main consideration taken into account were eras that we believe wouldn't require drastic changes in gameplay mechanics.
But that doesn't mean the game's core mechanics couldn't be transferred to an era with significantly different technology and tactics and become a success. PlayerUknown's Battlegrounds is, after all, based on the core gameplay mechanics of a military simulator, and we all know how that turned out.
Got any ideas yourself about an era CoH could be based on? Let us know in the comments section below!