But first, a brief history …
Our initial thought, when we started working on Red Dragon, was to make a dozen scenarios of ALB-type missions. That is: setting an initial situation and a number of self-sustaining battlegroups, and pitting the player against the AI on a chess-like game, with varying duration & victory conditions. ALB’s campaigns were meant to be the answer to EE’s critics whom found the latter’s too linear. In ALB, we had decided to give full freedom of movement and combat decision. At the expense of some further storytelling past the initial setting, for full liberty meant for us no control on the course of events, but for a pyramidal system of more or less random events …
From the feedbacks we received from ALB, we have acknowledged that most solo players were yet expecting more immersive scenario, and less all-around battlegroups for it led to too much repetitive battles.
Hence why we have at some point in RD's developement decided to edit our copy …
Without coming back to EE’s all linear campaign, leaving no choice in the unfolding of events, we have set the slider somewhere in-between. No more all powerful battlegroups, a single unit marker on the strategic map will usually represent a battalion or a regiment, while its specialized companies (recon, SAM, anti-tank, …) will have their own. Even air force squadrons will be separated unit markers, to be attached for a day to an army unit, before heading back to the airport at the end of it.
To get a battlegroup equal to ALB’s standards, you will have to attach those specialists to one of your main infantry/tank battalion. But by doing so, you shall deny another those same assets, leaving it possibly helpless in some aspect. The strategic part of RD’s campaign shall be much more demanding than ALB’s, for instead of just moving your battlegroups, you will have to organize them, build up your forces in some part of the battlefield while accepting weakness somewhere else, use your more mobile/powerful units as “firemen” to support an assault or regain lost ground.
Strategic assets (cargo planes, carrier, ....) will have their own markers, even if they are not implemented on the tactical level:
Campaigns are also meant to be more immersive.
In the course of each campaign, you will be in contact with various characters, specific to each scenario. They will keep you informed of the evolution of the military situation, feed you with intelligence on the enemy, give you objectives, and describe to you the unfolding of events triggered either by your actions, either randomly or scripted.
And the intro cutscenes with "The Narrator" are back ...
With this in mind, we have reworked the original scenarios, regrouping some into bigger and more developed stories.
Here they are:
#1 - Bear vs. Dragon (1979)
Bogged down in its border war with Vietnam, China sees with no amount of worry the USSR, Vietnam’s ally, building up forces on its Northern border.
What if the USSR, playing deaf ears to China’s warnings not to get involved, had been sending its Pacific Fleet “patrolling” into Vietnamese … leaving in the process its home base Vladivostok less defended to an improbable Chinese attack?
#2 - Pearl of the Orient (1984)
Margaret Thatcher is at the peak of her influence after the Falklands War when are starting the negotiations for Hong Kong return to China.
What if the Iron Lady had run the gauntlet when Chinese premier Deng Xiaoping had told her he could seize Hong Kong by force “within an afternoon”?
#3 - Climb Mount Naraodnaïa (late 1984)
For decades, the status of the Khuril Islands has poisoned Japanese-Soviet relationships, and the recent remilitarization of Japan under American auspices has done little to warm them up. When the joint Japanese-US Navy exercise FleetEx ’84 brings those navies at short distance from Vladivostok, Moscow sees this as a reherseal for an impending attack.
What if, in a “Pearl Harbor-style” operation, the USSR had launched an airborne operation against Japan aimed at neutralizing the Western fleets there, as a prelude to a global war?
#4 - Busan Pocket (1987)
On June 1987, the students and people of South Korea are in the streets to demand democratic reforms.
What if, instead of backing down, the government’s crackdown had been as violent as in 1980, driving the country into a near state of civil war much to the liking of its Northern neighbor?
#5 - 2nd Korean War (1992)
This campaign won’t be included at release, but be released afterward as free DLC …
In 1991: the Iron Curtain has fallen apart, communist satellites have emancipated from Moscow and the very Soviet Union is on the verge to be dissolved. To prevent that, a group of high-profile conspirators within the Soviet government attempt a coup against the man they held responsible: Mikhail Gorbatchev.
What if they had succeeded, bringing the old Party line to power? With the Eastern allies gone, the few fellow communist countries were lying East, with a few scores to settle with the West in exchange for their friendship …