SEATTLE, Wash. — An upcoming real-time strategy game is designed to let you watch your troops fuck up until you’re fired, sources confirmed today.
Titled Counterinsurgency, the debut video game from Seattle-based Green Wood Studios breaks new ground by pulling players into a protracted campaign mode with virtually no way to win. During this time, you — playing as the Theater Commander — get to witness gross mismanagement and malfeasance on the part of your subordinates until you are replaced.
“Most RTS games are about achieving measurable objectives, such as destroying the enemy team or acquiring key resources,” said Jerry Cevalos, the lead game designer, during an interview at GWS. “We went the opposite direction by instating a nebulous end-game of installing and sustaining a democracy.”
Counterinsurgency takes place in a fictional country, Angelovya, after World War III. The playable faction (U.S. military) occupies the nation in an effort to uphold an American-backed government, rebuild infrastructure, and protect the populace from the insurgent “Red Phoenix Army.” To this end, you have the option of using a plethora of military, civil, and diplomatic options — from Special Forces raids and airstrikes to training local security forces and bribing village officials.
Players have a finite number of Confidence Points, which are gained or lost depending on in-game successes and failures. Reaching zero points results in being relieved of command and the game self-destructing inside the console.
According to a preview of the game, despite having superior forces and materiel on the player’s side, things quickly go haywire after the campaign begins. Faulty intelligence gained from tortured prisoners leads to a missile obliterating a wedding, killing 23 unarmed civilians and a CIA asset. A shadowy, Russian-backed cartel quickly gains recruits from the angry populace, and the Red Phoenix Army is born.
Numerous pre-scripted and dynamic real-time events wreak further havoc on your command, from vehicle-borne IEDs blowing up civilians and gate guards, to special ops raids killing the wrong people, to soldiers disobeying orders or going on murder-sprees.
“You could be in the middle of stability operations in a nearby province, and a disillusioned soldier will desert his post or leak classified documents,” Cevalos explained, referring to unscripted incidents that can happen during gameplay. “And don’t be surprised if your best troops with fleshed-out skill trees quit the military and get replaced with inept morons.”
Making things worse, the insurgents are often indistinguishable from neutral non-playable characters, making accidental civilian deaths practically unavoidable. This problem is compounded by vindictive locals falsely accusing their rivals of being guerrillas, while others have no interest in ratting out their insurgent friends and family. All of these contribute to the loss of Confidence Points and bring your command tenure to its inevitable demise.
“Whether it’s sending Special Forces to train people who will later try to kill them or arresting a dozen Marines in a drug and prostitution sting, we intend to make this the most realistic RTS to date,” Cevalos added.
He concluded, “We hope this will best reflect the state of America’s current wars.”
At press time, a leaked memo has revealed that the only way to win the game is by carpet-bombing the entire country. This results in the Theater Commander being sent to the Hague for war crimes and your computer frying itself anyway.
Counterinsurgency is scheduled to be released after the War in Afghanistan ends, sometime in 2031.
Duffel Blog reporters As For Class, @Poet_of_Sport, and Donnell contributed to this story.