Industry Interview With Leszek Lisowski
Developer : Wastelands Interactive.
Game : Strategic War In Europe.
Strategic War in Europe is a tactical strategy game that takes the best parts from the board game genre and transforms them into an engaging video game. We recently got the chance to chat with Leszek Lisowski the founder of Wastelands Interactive a Polish Developer and the team behind Strategic War In Europe.
Q1. Perhaps to open it would be good to get a bit of background on your team, how you got
together and the previous strategy games you have released.
A1. Hello, I’m Leszek Lisowski, founder and head of Wastelands Interactive, which is an independent
game developer from Poland. Wastelands Interactive was created in 2006 and our first released
game was Time of Wrath back in 2009. Since then we have released two more strategy games:
Storm over the Pacific and Time of Fury. Usually there are 5-6 people working on one game.
Previously I was a modder, but after pushing those limits, I decided to start developing games.
Q2. For someone who is new to the game, can you give them a brief explanation of Strategic War in
Europe and what they can expect from the game?
A2. In Strategic War in Europe, players can take control over any country or combination of
countries during World War II in the European Theater. The ultimate goal is to destroy your enemy
forces and capture all of their territories. The Player has to manage his armies, by reinforcing and
buying new units. The economy system is simplified as we wanted players to focus on war. There
are several other mechanisms that makes the game a bit more diversified, however: a dynamic
weather system which can change war and its terrain; supply and convoys systems which are crucial
for unit effectiveness; the ability for players to develop new technologies which unlocks more
advanced types of units. There’s also some key events in the game, more or less keeps the game on
track historically, but most of these special events will only actually happen if your game situation is
similar to how it was in history.
At the end I should point out that the basics of the game are really easy to learn. It is enough to start
the game and move units around, and the primary idea is if the player wants to attack his enemy, he
just needs to make sure his forces are stronger that what he’s going up against. After a fews games
are behind you it will be the time for new strategies utilizing air support, assigning commanders,
cutting off enemy supply lines, dropping paratroopers, sending amphibious assaults, or raiding
convoys. Also the game allows to adjust the difficulty of every single country in the game so the
player can truely make sure the challenge fits perfectly with their skill level.
Q3. The first thing that jumps out at me is that it reminds me a lot of the board game Risk. Is that a
fair comparison and if so how big an influence has it been?
A3. I think that Strategic War in Europe is a very good game for someone looking to get into after
playing RISK. In both games, the player is gathering resources, raising troops and conquering enemy
territories. In my personal opinion however, SWiE requires much more tactical planning. It is not the
traditional “conquer more gather more” style game like RISK. The Player has to be sure to maintain
supply lines which are crucial to keep their army running. Even the mightiest Armored Army can be
cut off by weaker enemies with larger troop counts. Players should plan ahead which units the will
reinforce and even which units to withdraw, which territory to secure before an enemy invasion, etc.
On low difficulty levels, the player doesn’t have to be worry much about reinforcing and swapping
units, providing air cover or naval units bombardment. Purchasing new units and sending them at
the enemy should be enough until you’ve learned the game and are able to go up a difficulty level.
Q4. In terms of gameplay it is a turn based strategy game that mirrors a board game but have you
included more conventional campaign or scenario modes that would be more familiar to a video
A4. I’m glad you have pointed out that Strategic War in Europe looks like a board game. That was our
intention from the start, really. If you have a projection screen, you can direct it on the floor or table.
This is actually a really cool experience in itself.
First of all there is an AI, and while of course it probably won’t be as challenging as another human
player, it’s worth considering there are six campaigns, over twenty of countries available to control
and also increased unit counts based on the difficulty settings so it should last for a long time
in terms of replayability. Strategic War in Europe has got all the advantages that a video game
adaptation of this type of game has over a board game including the following: a customizable Fog
of War system; ability to easily track everything that is happening during the game thanks to over
thirty report types that can be generated; available information about production size, upkeep,
combat results, ships sunk, historical events or strategic bombardment results, etc. And what is most
important and prevlent over a board game, is that players don’t have to be worried about the cat
running on the table mid game.
Q5. And are those scenario’s based on real historical WW2 events?
A5. Every campaign is a recreation of the real military and political situations at the beginning of the
first turn. What will happen next depends only on the player’s and AI’s actions. Once again, there
are some key points which are recreating historical events if specific accurate situations are met, but
those are not obligatory to happen.
Q6. How in depth have you gone in the detail, from initial impressions it seem like you have a lot
of information on the different units available in the game? Is this level of detail based on real life
stats or are they used to balance the game, and does this level of detail have a direct impact on the
outcome of the game?
A6. We have tried to depict a realistic scenario of strengths and structures into the game values.
That being said, we have decided to adjust some of them to provide a proper game balance and
allow player to have the right feeling of balance and fairness throughout the game. Even still I’ll
admit that the truth to this kind of game is that it needs tens of thousands of games played to catch
proper game balance and provide the best outcomes. In the past after releasing our games, we are
very surprised by the players strategies and with the results they are getting whilte utilizing them.
I’m sure Strategic War in Europe will need be adjusted and fine tuned as well, which we of course
The most important thing for us is to provide fun for the player and as much replayability as
possible, and with this sort of game an important aspect to that is balance.
Q7. Finally when is it out, on what platforms and what will it cost customers?
A7. Strategic War in Europe will be released on June 8th worldwide. Some of our digital distribution
partners may be a little late due to their publishing schedule. Currently we are releasing on PC
only and the release price is 14.99 USD/Euro. Those interested thoguh can take advantadge of our
preorder promotion at the moment and preorder the game with 25% off.