As we mentioned in the first developer diary, the main focus of this title is going to be on NATO vs the Warsaw Pact and how the United States and Russia provided aid to other nations, did their best to undermine unfriendly governments, and even used their militaries to attract and bully other nations into their "Sphere of Influence".
Right away one of the concerns we've had from our existing fan base has been, "Is that it? I can only play as Russia or the United States?" To set minds at ease, the answer to that is a definite "No". At the moment it is intended that there will only be two Campaigns included with the game on release, one of which will place the player in the role of the United States, and the other will have them playing as the USSR. However, in Sandbox mode, you will still be able to choose to play as any nation that existed in 1949. And like our previous games, you will then be able to customize many of the settings of the game - especially the Victory Condition!
"So I can still start a sandbox game as the Czech Republic?" Well unfortunately the Czech Republic did not exist in 1949. It was part of Czechoslovakia and was held firmly within the Warsaw Pact by Russia, at times through Russia's less than subtle use of force. In a sandbox game though, you could still decide to play as Czechoslovakia.
"I'm looking for a challenge, so I'm going to start a sandbox game as Jamaica!" In 1949 Jamaica was a Colony. It did not gain its independence from the United Kingdom until 1962, so it also is not available as a starting nation in this game. But colonies are perhaps the key to successfully surviving the Cold War!
The Cold War period saw a great many "Colonies" gaining their independence to become sovereign nations in their own right. Many of these colonies were aided in their desires for independence by actions of the Super Powers. In return, the Super Powers hoped to bring the emerging nations into their Sphere of Influence. Sometimes this worked... and sometimes it backfired. As players lead whichever side they choose, they will frequently see nations gaining their independence through the course of the game and quickly have to decide how best to deal with this new nation or risk losing any influence over it whatsoever.
Although players will not be able to have direct diplomatic contact with a colony while it is still under another nation's rule, there will be Espionage and Diplomatic missions that can be attempted as a way of either encouraging or discouraging independence. Help support an insurgency that causes a Colony to successfully gain its independence and they may land in your sphere!
"Everyone is either Red or Blue?" No! Another movement that was popular during the Cold War was the desire by many nations to remain "Non Aligned" to either the USSR or to NATO. Many of the African, South American, and Southeast Asian countries were members of this group. Many of the members of the "Non Aligned Nations" were newly independent, so they were naturally protective of their new found sovereignty and didn't wish to be considered under another nation's influence. While this may make it difficult to attract new members to your sphere, sometimes circumstances can force the issue, or you can use your tools of "persuasion"...
As with our previous Supreme Ruler games, one of our goals is to give players many different ways to play, with a lot of flexibility, options and gameplay variety available.
- David Thompson, Lead Designer