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Introducing Great War Western Front’s Central Powers

Petroglyph's Great War Western Front puts you in the boots of some of history's finest military minds, with the Central Powers being the RTS game's new faction.

Introducing the Central Powers, Great War Western Front's newcomers: A solider in green WWI gear screams as bombs go off around him and he runs forward with a rifle

Set amid the smog-ridden trenches of World War I, Petroglyph’s new RTS game The Great War: Western Front thrusts players into a world very far from our own and yet hauntingly, chillingly familiar. A headline feature is the ability to command either the Allied or the Central Powers, whose perspective – with notable exceptions such as All Quiet On The Western Front – is so often neglected by Western media. That’s been true in the hype around Great War: Western Front, too – until now.

Made up of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire (now Turkiye), the Central Powers are often overlooked yet played a pivotal part in WWI. When I asked co-founder and creative director Joe Bostic why Petroglyph chose to include them, he told me, “exploring the gameplay strategies from the perspective of both major alliances involved on the Western Front in WWI made a lot of sense as each side didn’t approach the war using the same strategy.

“Each chose to explore the tactics and strategy of war in different ways – some creative, some shocking. We wanted The Great War: Western Front to let you explore different strategies.” As a result, Great War: Western Front hopes to shine a light on these forgotten belligerents, showing how they perform in-game in this PCGamesN exclusive.

The first thing to note is the focus on trench technology research, where the Central Powers excel. Given their position in, well, the centre of Europe, in many cases it was easier to dig in and hold than expand outwards. Therefore, the unit’s proficiency in trench warfare makes a lot of sense.

Despite this, Bostic warns that “even if you choose the same technology advancements as history, you can still change the outcome of the war by using your own combat strategies as either the Allied Forces or the Central Powers.”

As part of their campaign, Petroglyph’s content designer Renato Orellana picks up the ‘Death From Below’ Trench technology, which unlocks undermining. This powerful new ability allows you to place explosives in different areas before the battle takes place, then set them off during combat. The result? Chaos and destruction.

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Another one of the Central Powers’ many perks is that they don’t suffer from the ‘Disunity of Command’ morale penalty, and can call on Conscript Infantry, a low-cost unit that’s perfect for building up numbers. Note that they’re obviously not as well trained, so they’re really just there to bolster the ranks.

Grenadiers are the Central Powers’ elite force, and the perfect answer to Allied raiders. They’re good at close combat, but it’s their grenades that shine through. They’ll be the ones dishing out the damage while your Infantry swarms the battlefield and creates confusion.

But of course we all love a good bit of tech, right? Enter the Flakpanzer A7V, a highly mobile anti-aircraft gun that will keep your troops on the ground safe by getting them up close to enemy air power – literally.

A cluster of WWI German Light Infantry on a field

Combining all of these unique units will help you either relive history, or rewrite it entirely when the game launches on March 30. If you’re an avid fan of all things wargaming, you can pre-order The Great War: Western Front on Steam or the Epic Games Store.

If you can’t wait until then, be sure to check out our list of the best strategy games to sharpen your mind ahead of your playthrough, or the best war games if you fancy getting in that military mindset.