By Joseph Luster

So much of the World War II gaming world is dotted with iterative sequels that some measure of surprise at a new IP is to be expected. Not to knock all of the big-dog franchises; the genre wouldn’t be the same without the greats that build on their own successes year after year, from strategy to shooting and beyond. Still, the announcement of a new game project from City Interactive (Project Freedom, WWII: Pacific Heroes, Wings of Honour) was nevertheless a breath of fresh air. That project is Enemy Front, a first-person shooter built using the CryEngine 3 game engine, which is perhaps best known as the engine used to create Crytek’s stunning Crysis games, most recently with 2011’s multiplatform Crysis 2. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since the original Crysis debuted using CryEngine 2—summarily restricting the game to gamers with the most stacked rigs—as Enemy Front is also meant for a multiplatform release across PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

While “World War II first-person shooter” doesn’t exactly scream originality, it’s all about the people behind the game and what makes their take on this particular endeavor special. Enemy Front’s chief designer is Stuart Black, who joined City Interactive in 2011. If that name rings some bells, it’s because Black is formerly of Criterion Games, and was behind a really fun shooter, Black, which hit PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox back in 2006. The name of the game with Black was sheer destruction, with an emphasis on bombastic visuals and keen sound design, so while one may not relish the thought of an overly stylized, Michael Bay-esque take on World War II, Black has plenty to offer to a project like this.

Enemy Front was billed right off the bat, via its announcement press release, as a “gritty first-person shooter rich in action, combat, and detail that takes players back to the carnage and chaos of WWII.” It puts players in the role of a hardened soldier who is dropped behind Nazi lines to engage in a variety of realistic missions with different focuses, from quick skirmishes to espionage assignments and sabotage activities. The narrative spans several years, going through key battles—from the trenches of France to Berlin and a secret weapons base—ultimately tasking our aforementioned hardened hero with stopping the Nazis from using a terrifying weapon that will clinch their victory in the war. Some of the story threads that sway in off the beaten path include the events that occurred in the Wolf’s Lair and the deciphering of the Enigma code.

It’s much too early to tell whether or not Enemy Front will end up as more than a blip on a somewhat crowded and well-worn radar, but Stuart Black’s involvement alone is enough to generate more anticipation than normal, especially if you hold his (and City Interactive’s, of course) past efforts in any sort of high regard. At the time of this writing, Enemy Front only has a fairly vague 2012 release planned, but we’ll be sure to offer our concrete thoughts on how it all turned out when it’s time to take arms and dive into the trenches.

Publisher: City Interactive
Developer: City Interactive
System(s): PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Available: 2012

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