Saskatoon designer highlights Canada’s efforts in WW2 strategy game
SASKATOON -- After playing game after game featuring missions from the Second World War with Canadian stories and achievements left out, University of Saskatchewan graduate Michael Long set out to make a video game that highlights Canadian efforts.
"I do play a lot of war games. I like Call of Duty," Long said. "They almost never touch on the Canadian involvement and lump us in with the British."
His game is called Radio General. Long and the video game company he started, Foolish Mortals, spent two years of part and full-time work developing it.
The player takes on the role of a Canadian general armed with a map and a radio who must direct their soldiers. In between missions the game features hundreds of historical documents, photos, and letters that Long gathered, aiming to make the game as historically accurate as possible.
The game features voice recognition, a technology Long said bigger companies avoid due to how hard it can be to fine tune.
"You say ‘able, report status’ and then they’ll talk to you with voice acting and tell you what’s going on," Long said.
Radio General was released on the gaming platform Steam in April and Long is proud that it topped the ‘New and Trending’ list.
"That’s a big deal when you have over 30 million people a day using Steam, that’s a lot of viewership," Long said.
The game has received good reviews on Steam according to Long, with an average rating of “very positive” with 187 reviews.
Long said he learned a lot about Canadian history while making the game and even had veterans reach out to him after playing Radio General.
"I’ve received a few messages from veterans, and a few of them are like ‘yeah, it’s awesome, you’ve included my regiment’ and a few were like ‘why didn’t you include my regiment?’”
Long said he was initially unsure about releasing a game during a pandemic. He said he knew people were playing video games, but he was unsure if people would be willing to buy new ones.
After witnessing the record-breaking success of big budget blockbusters such as Doom and Animal Crossing, Long said he realized the industry was going to be OK during the Pandemic, and he feels he may have gotten a few more sales from people stuck at home.