Zoran was very kind to provide us with a lot of detailed answers. In the interview below, you will get to know what inspired Zoran to create Klotzen, how different the game is from Panzer General, what unique features you can expect, and more. Enjoy!
Hi! Please, introduce yourself.
Hi, I’m Zoran Stanic, the head of Maxim Games studio. We are based in Zagreb, Croatia and are currently working on our first game, a WW2 turn-based strategy called Klotzen! Panzer Battles.
In the age of MOBAs, Battle Royales, and microtransactions what was your inspiration to create a turn-based WW2 strategy? Were you inspired by other WW2 strategy games?
I agree it was more an emotional rather than a solid business decision . Klotzen was simply a product of my love towards strategy games. By far the largest inspiration came from Panzer General – I was playing it around 2009 and realized I wanted to do something with similar gameplay but with more challenge and strategic options. Then Panzer Corps and Unity of Command came out and I realized I am not alone, and that turn-based games still have an audience. Most of the players like real-time games, but there are people like me that like to think and weight options before they push virtual people to their virtual deaths .
From the looks of it, Klotzen! Panzer Battles reminds me of the Panzer General series of games. What separates Klotzen from the aforementioned series?
There are quite a bit of important changes that change how the game is played. Most important change to the fans of Panzer General is AI – in PG, AI was just sitting passively in their predesigned positions and waiting for the player to come. There was a bit of moving but very little. Our AI is much more active on the frontlines, with both local and strategic counterattacks. This will create an entirely different feel and flow of the battles.
We have a new supply system, where units can be cut off from the supply either by a maneuver or bombing, making our gameplay much closer to what WW2 was about – battles of encirclement.
Air war is completely reworked, and I think one of the best parts of the Klotzen. We are introducing quite a few never-before-seen features: Bombing of the supply lines, airplanes intercepting moving units (called interdiction in the game), bombing of airfields and bombing of bridges. Also, planes have a combat range and can attack any field in that range each turn. This makes planes much more deadly and unpredictable, mimicking realistically the roles they were used in during WW2.
Commanders and generals with custom skills and flaws will add a lot of customization to the experience – both for the whole army and each unit.
There are also lots of smaller changes that ease gameplay, like buying veteran units late-war or speeding up a development of any unit, so having jets or super heavy tanks ready few years earlier for example. Another change is adding of the maneuver, which will allow for lighter units to gain an edge over heavier ones in some situations. This will, of course, be very important for fighter planes, but also for tanks allowing lighter but more maneuverable tanks to sometimes gain an edge over heavier tanks.
Your game is set during the WW2. Usually, historic games don’t deviate from the history. You took another approach by letting the player, if they wish to do so, change military history. Could you please elaborate on what is behind this feature and how it impacts game experience?
I think changing history is the most important part of any strategy game. It is the core reason why the games industry is larger than the film industry. The power to change how the story plays out is given to the player. In strategy games, it is even more pronounced because those important operations created the world we live in. If something in one operation goes in a different direction, the entire future is changed. I think there is no better example than “The man in the high castle”, a book set in the alternative history in which the Nazis have won and rule the USA.
So getting the ability to change the outcome of the war and seeing where it would lead is one of the most important things for Klotzen, and as far as I’m aware, there’s no game on the market even remotely comparable with the number of alternative history scenarios our game has.
The name Klotzen! Panzer Battles suggests ground combat. Does Klotzen focus only on ground theater or we can expect naval and air units as well? If so, what difference they make?
As mentioned above, air forces will have a crucial role in any operation, and it will be quite a challenge to achieve any success without atleast minor defending presence in the air. The blunt of the fighting is done on the ground, but air units play a massive supporting role. I am not aware of any similar game attempting to combine ease of gameplay with all the options for air warfare that we have – supply bombing, moving units intercept/interdiction, bombing of airfields…
The war in Europe was mostly centered on land operations, so naval operations are not as pronounced as in the Pacific. But we have quite a few maps where naval units play a crucial role, like German invasion of UK, naval action during the German invasion of Norway, invasion of Crete and some others. I would say ship combat adds a lot of flavor to the game.
I guess this is going to be the most important question. There already established strategic games, and there are a lot of video games in general. What sets Klotzen! Panzer Battles apart from the competitors, and why an average gamer should buy Klotzen?
When I started the work on Klotzen, I wanted to make a game I would like to play – simple to play, but difficult to master, with an accurate description of WW2 weapon systems and their roles. I think we have accomplished that, and that Klotzen can provide players with the best WW2 strategy experience in the niche. As the old saying goes, to each his own, but for players that like approachable WW2 strategies with lots of depth, what-if/alternative history scenarios and strategic options to try, I would recommend trying Klotzen.
Is there anything you would like to add before we finish the interview?
Thank you for the opportunity to present our work, I hope it sounds interesting to your readers. I would invite anyone interested in the game to join our community on either Steam or our forum and help us shape the details of the game.
We invite you to join the Klotzen! Panzer Battles community on Steam, Twitter, official forums and Facebook. Also, you can check out the official website to get even more info on the game and the team behind it. Lastly, the Klotzen! Panzer Battles trailer below will show you the gameplay and some of the features Zoran talked about.