Who could've guessed that World War II was terrifying and horrible?
Pardon the flippancy, but anyone who spends as much time around videogames as I do is liable to get a really skewed view of how war plays out. In the virtual world, people respawn and death is a momentary inconvenience. In reality though, war is horrific. Mankind's genius for inventing new ways to kill people is matched only by its bloodlust. The human mind is simply incapable of comprehending the level of suffering in a massive conflict like World War II, so most media portraying the War glosses over the reality of the War to instead focus on more simple, heroic stories, that won't drive the viewer/reader/player to hang themselves in the nearest crawlspace.
What a downer preface, huh? There's a point here, I promise. This morning, Sega and developer Relic Entertainment issued a new trailer for the upcoming strategy title Company of Heroes 2, which is best described as "unrelentingly grim." At one point a soldier is executed via makeshift firing squad in the shadow of a statue depicting carefree children playing. There's nothing heroic or pleasant about this image; it's simply a surprisingly realistic depiction of how terrible war can be.
Whether Company of Heroes 2 will be as dark as this trailer suggests when it hits PCs on June 25 remains to be seen, but for the moment I have to say that I'm impressed with the direction Relic seems to be taking this title. If nothing else it serves as an important counterpoint to all those violent shooters that depict human life as disposable and inconsequential. I'd hate to see all games go in this direction, but it's nice to see at least one developer willing to paint World War II as a terrible, bloody moment in mankind's history that should never be repeated.
Which is an ironic message for a game you can fire up and replay as often as you'd like.