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Company of Heroes 3 free preview starts today with matches in Italy

Company of Heroes 3 is on its way from Relic Entertainment. This time, the World War II strategy game series will focus on Mediterranean theater, with campaigns in Italy and North Africa. Fans can play an early version of the game on Steam for free from today until August 2.

Relic tells Polygon that CoH3 is still in active development, and more than a year away from release.

The original Company of heroes was released in 2006, while the sequel was launched in 2013. The Real-Time Strategy (RTS) franchise is well known for its small unit AI, which allows some soldiers to take cover and use terrain to their advantage. Company of Heroes 3 will include more of that style of play, but also implements features common to turn-based franchises such as the Combat Mission series and Paradox̵

7;s Hearts of Iron.

A map of the world showing a Nazi bomber attacking the coastline of Italy in Company of Heroes 3.

American ships provide fire support for infantry on the ground.
Photo: Relic Entertainment / Sega

Players will now have access to a world map representing the theater of the match. An early demo shared with the press allowed me to attack Italian cities in several ways, with different combinations of American and British units. These choices directly affected the assets that were available in real-time matches. Having a specific British unit in a nearby sector, for example, allowed me to call in mechanized medical units to patch up my troops on the front lines.

Company of Heroes 3 will also include a pause button for the first time. It will allow players to stop the action to find waypoints and commands for individual devices. Then the players will be able to start the clock again and see their intentions play in film style. Unlike the Combat Mission series, which uses an almost identical “WeGo” system for its turn-based mode, players will be able to modify and change these orders at any time without simulation model orders and subsequent layers of command and control.

A scene straight out of Saving Private Ryan, but in Company of Heroes 3. P-47s stretch overhead.

Troops leave landing craft in Italy.
Photo: Relic Entertainment / Sega

Relic says that it has gone to the original historical documents to recreate not only the battlefield conditions that were present in the Mediterranean at that time, but also the units in the field. In terms of British forces, it means units of soldiers drawn from their entire colonial empire, including around 2.5 million Indian soldiers. Relic tells Polygon that it worked closely with Dr. Diya Gupta, whose work focuses on the experiences of these soldiers who are fighting for the British during the height of their country’s struggle for freedom from British rule.

Relic also explained the great lengths it took to get feedback from the fans’ community. It began with a summit of 10 profiled players who, among other things, helped to choose the Mediterranean theater. That group has since grown into a community council of 70 players. There was also a public survey that received over 60,000 responses.

The developer says it is using a new “co-development” process to further refine the game next year. According to a statement from Relic, players who choose – by connecting their Steam account to the Relic account – will have access to “game design documents, early visual games and a limited period” Pre-Alpha Preview ‘build “starting July 13 .

“COH-Development access is 100% free for everyone, apart from existing ‘Early Access’ programs that require prepayment,” said Relic. “Pre-Alpha Preview will give an early glimpse of Company of Heroes 3their early campaign experience. ”

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