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 The war is coming home.

This Real Time Strategy game was released in September 2007 to favourable reviews. Set during a fictional World War III between the Warsaw Pact and NATO in the year 1989, the game eschews base building in favour of having units delivered onto the battlefield by airdrop. Also notable for the single-player campaign, which has the forces under the player's command playing a small but pivotal role in a larger battle raging all around.

The multiplayer also has the player assume a specific role in combat, commanding only a small, specialized force on the battlefield, working together with the other players to win. The matches are fast-paced and objectives are strongly influcenced by FPS games, such as Domination or Assault maps. Since there are no resources to gather, the game is instead based around strategical control points that need to be taken. The details vary by mode, but the general gist is that the team who controls the most points wins the match.

Between its simple but pretty graphics, solid and entertaining gameplay (particularly the brutal online team matches), and a compelling single-player campaign, World in Conflict was well received everywhere it went. Then, however, Activision sold the developer Massive Entertainment to Ubisoft and their projects were revised. The console ports were canceled, and while the announced expansion, Soviet Assault, was released, all it added to the game were the six new single-player missions for the Soviets and no gameplay innovations whatsoever (despite rumors of possible addition of naval skirmishes). Since then, Massive went on to work on other projects and WiC seems to have become an Orphaned Series.


This game features examples of the following tropes:

  • Alternate History: A late 1980s World War in which the Soviet Union manages to launch amphibious invasions in both southern France and the northwest United States without being swiftly annihilated by air and naval forces.
    • The game does attempt to justify the implausibility as far as the American invasion goes, first with the subterfuge involved in the launch of the invasion and by outright stating that the homefront lacks defense capability because of the operations in Europe. These are still handwaves in the strictest sense, however, and the Soviet capability of launching these offensives is best considered itself a part of the Alternate History. Soviet Assault subtly lampshades it; the Russians certainly feel like they're having more trouble than it looks like from the original American point of view, and their propaganda at home shows them halfway to the Mississippi when they never move beyond the Washington State border.
    • Similarly, the game doesn't do much to explain how a NATO task force could somehow penetrate the elaborate, purpose-built air and ground defenses in the western USSR, during war time, besides that they launched from Finland.
      • The game can kind of sort of be plausible if one mentally shrinks down the time frame the game's action takes place in to 2-3 days, so the Navy and Air Force haven't yet had time to mobilize a proper retaliatory force yet.
  • Anachronic Order: The single-player campaign
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The player is given a fixed amount of points to buy units with. The points refill after the unit is lost or is disbanded, over time, but limits the amount of units that can be fielded normally. In multiplayer, the most a player can command at once is 20 units (not counting the infantry squads consisting out of 4 soldiers), but 4-6 units is more common. However, additional units can be deployed with airdrop tactical aids that don't count towards this limit.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The campaign AI. The bots used in multiplayer matches are quite smart.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Oddly enough, in the Soviet campaign when the Colonel arrives seconds before American civilians are about to be executed.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Units of various nationalities make remarks in their own languages.
    • This Norwegian editor was somewhat amused by the Norwegian special forces featured in the campaign actually speaking with proper accents and making remarks in their own language. Unfortunately, the poor choice of actors means that they sound like pampered daddy's boys from the wealthiest suburbs of Oslo instead of grizzled professional soldiers. And they do not use proper military jargon, either.
    • The Danish transport troops suffer from the same casting-choices, all speaking with a thick Copenhagen dialect which slightly lowers the credibility.
    • In a similar vein, when a unit is destroyed/about to explode, the radio chatter includes 'last words', for example the British cursing one-liner being "Oh, bugger!". The French tank crews are also swearing, in French.
    • German Rocket Launchers claim to 'have the final solution'... well.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: At the end of Soviet Assault, Malashenko decides not to return to Russia and instead makes his way to Seattle to defend it against the inevitable American counterattack. Players who have already completed the first game know that it won't end well for the Soviets.
  • Colonel Badass: Sawyer.
    • And his Soviet counterpart Orlovsky.
      • Parker by the end. Seeing as he pretty much repelled the Soviets from US soil, saved the Statue of Liberty, helped push back the Soviet forces in France, and managed to rescued down pilots deep in Soviet territory that actually comes weak.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Enemy artillery can apparently fire without needing to reload, will track your units extremely accurately, and the enemy will zero in on your drop zone eventually. Extremely frustrating if you're playing against the Soviets. Also, you know how you have to wait for your reinforcement points to count up to drop in new reinforcements? It doesn't even pretend to be equal in that manner and will have new units rolling in several times faster than you ever could.
  • Cosmetic Award: Singleplayer gives you a variety of medals, awards and promotions for completing every objective. Online has a achievement system with the same goals, but there are multiple medals for each category (bronze, silver and gold). Medals are awarded for things like reaching certain scores in one match, being the best player in a match or best of role, total points per role and total, winning matches and launching nukes. A medal system is also in place for clans. Needless to say, none of these awards actually do anything, although reaching a certain rank may be required for some servers or clans.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover prominently features the Statue of Liberty under attack. While there is one mission in New York centered around a surprise attack on Liberty Island, most of the game takes place in Washington State.
    • The cover art for Soviet Assault shows New York City getting nuked, even though the only nuclear weapon used in both games was a single, relatively small scale tactical nuke.
  • Critical Existence Failure: While most infantry units are composed of Squads that may lose individual members, this applies in full force to any other unit on the field. Buildings' Hit Points also do not effect its integrity and protection for infantry until they run out.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: The CGI cutscene before the mission set in New York, with Audioslave as background music.
  • Deadly Gas: Nerve gas is available as a tactical aid, and horrifically deadly to infantry.
  • Death From Above: Not all Tactical Aids spew death exactly, but they all come from the air. The ones that do spew death, do so spectacularly.
  • Destructive Saviour: Faithful to real life warfare, saving areas is a messy endeavor. When Webb comments on the state of Seattle, Sawyer admits that the US Army caused as least as much damage as the Soviets. There are some objectives based around avoiding this trope for notable buildings, but the Nuke on Cascade Falls is this in full force. At least most buildings are implied to be deserted by civilians.
    • Indeed, many of the single player missions end with the "Victory!" screen displayed while the background is the camera panning over the ruins of the town you just liberated from the Soviets.
  • Divided We Fall: In multi-player matches, the team who works together better usually wins the match.
  • Easy Logistics: While reinforcements take some time to be dropped in (and there is another delay until the plane returns to the offmap base, during which you can't order any more units) and tactical aids take a while to take place, fielded units have unlimited ammo, fuel and other supplies. Infantry units can replace losses in a short amount of time. You will never run out of reinforcements aside from a few very specific instances.
    • Not to mention, M1 Abrams tanks are air-dropped to where the player needs them. In accordance with the Square-Cube Law, attempting to do so would likely result in the destruction of every single automotive component in the vehicle. It took a good while to develop an aircraft to even carry an Abrams and not make it the largest aircraft in the Air Force's inventory (and by the way, it wasn't operational by 1989, either), so needless to say air-dropping one is out of the question in real-life. That said, the game's M551 Sheridan light tank is a real air-droppable tank - and it's also about the biggest you'll find, too.
    • On a strategic level, the game features massive amphibious invasions of the American West Coast and southern France. The first is pulled off, we are informed, by hiding Soviet troops in civilian freighters. The second goes unexplained. Neither makes any attempt to really explain how they intend to keep such a massive invasion over such a great distance supplied beyond the first few days, aside from brief handwaves about naval disasters suffered by NATO leaving the Pacific and Mediterranean open to Soviet shipping.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: You can repair and take over vehicles left behind by the other side; they apparently do not require crews. One mission features Soviet special forces using a ridiculously large amount of captured U.S. vehicles.
    • Captain Vance, an Army Ranger CO helping out in that mission, actually lampshades this, saying that the local base was undermanned and over-supplied.
    • Another mission has the player take over a lot of left-behind vehicles starting with nothing but 3 vehicles. Although it should be noted that this only happens in the singleplayer mode.
  • A Father to His Men: Malashenko, while rather horribly wanting to shoot civilians, did so because he felt the American troops were taking advantage of the law against it; ambushing his men, then dressing as civilians and hiding their weapons.
    • Indeed, most of Malashenko's berating of the player specifically refers to the men of his command being sacrificed because you did something wrong.
    • Orlovsky is one too - his wife writes to him saying all the women there who husbands are under his command are truely lucky because they know he cares for them. When Malashenko wants to attack civilians right after one of the previous mentioned ambushes but Orlovsky refuses, Malashenko angrily says "But these are my men lying here!", to which Orlovsky sternly replies, insulted, "They are my men too, Captain. Never forget that."
  • Feelies: The collectors edition included a small, authentic piece of the Berlin Wall.
  • Fog of War: Unlike in most other RTS, this game doesn't directly refer to it, and it's not visible on the field, but it's there. And unlike in most other RTS, units aren't revealed when firing at an unit that can't see them. But their shots are, which is a drawback to US and Nato Heavy Artillery which fire highly visible rocket barrages.
  • Freudian Excuse: Bannon has a phone conversation with his stepfather, a grizzly abusive Vietnam-vet by the sound of it. Which goes a long way to explaining his usual behavior during the campaign where he shifts between General Ripper and Cowardly Lion.
  • Garrisonable Structures: Makes Riflemen and Anti-Tank squads formidable against vehicles, but make sure the building doesn't get destroyed...
  • Gatling Good: The US Anti-Air unit, the M163 Vulcan. Also the A-10 Warthog the Americans can all for Tactical Aids...
  • General Failure: Captain Bannon, until sacrificing himself on a suicidal mission.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Orlovsky has a single scar running down his right cheek, and is a sympathetic character. Since no other characters have a scar, though, it's more likely used to convey Orlovsky as an experienced officer.
  • Heroic Mime: Player characters Parker and (in Soviet Assault) Romanov. They are never heard to speak in-game, Parker has a bodily presence in certain cutscenes but we never see his face, and Romanov is never seen at all. They are both clearly Russian and white American respectively, though.
    • The intro to the final mission to retake Seattle reveals that the narrator of the US missions (voiced by Alec Baldwin) is, in fact, Parker, though at that point it should be pretty obvious.
    • By the same token, it is implied that the 2nd narrator of the Soviet missions - the one talking about the realities of the war- is Romanov.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The foolish and cowardly Captain Bannon redeems himself by volunteering for a holding action against an overwhelming Soviet force so that the tactical nuke intended for them can take proper effect.
  • Hold the Line: Some objectives are like this. Also during the Invasion of Seattle a Private is on the radio having a small Heroic BSOD screaming about how the Soviets won't get one inch further. Seeing as how he only appears in that mission he either died or calmed down.
  • Impressive Pyrotechnics: The game includes fire support options ranging from mortar bombardment through napalm drops and carpet bombing by B-52s all the way to tactical nuclear strikes, all depicted with massive amounts of sound and fury.
    • Gets into Scenery Gorn if you've got Direct X 10 enabled, enhancing the fire and smoke effects. Smoke will even roll around foliage a little more realistically.
  • Invaded States of America: The game's plot.
  • Instant Win Condition: Many missions, particularly ones that involve defending something, feel a bit unsatisfactory to win. Since there are no bases, you are fighting endlessly respawning Soviet troops with your own army of respawning forces. After a while of not screwing this up, the game declares you won, although the fight rages on behind the victory screen.
  • It's Raining Men: Infantry unit creations and reinforcements parachute down to the field. On the Acceptable Break From Reality side, all land units are airdropped in, included the heaviest tanks of your military force.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The NATO side is a curious mishmash of units from various countries, with German heavy armour, British medium and light Armour, French footsoldiers, Danish transport vehicles and Italian Helicopters. While the British speak proper British English, the rest speak English with Just a Stupid Accent and a handful of words taken from their respective languages.
    • To be fair, that's only when they address the player. Their idle chatter is in their original languages (the same applies for the Russians in multiplayer).
    • Justified, they are addressing an American officer. (And the words are often exclamations that make sense in context)
  • Kill It with Fire: Lots of incendiary weapons to be had. Bonus points for the experimental incendiary bomb the Soviet air force asks you to field test in the Soviet campaign.
  • Kinda Busy Here: A response that comes from infantry units if you select them while engaging in combat.
  • Knight Templar: Capt. Malashenko in the Expansion Pack follows Arthas' path so closely, he can be considered his Expy. He does have a more convincing cause, though: his wife and baby daughter are killed during Sawyer's surprise raid near Murmansk.
    • Karmic Death: It's strongly suggested that he gets killed by Parker and Co. in Seattle while the rest of his battlegroup survives by disobeying that order.
  • Mauve Shirt: A CGI scene shows many American soldiers in transport helicopters gearing up and readying themselves to fight. A bunch of those choppers then get shredded by anti-air guns.
  • Manly Tears / Tear Jerker: Listening to the phone call Bannon makes to his mom before the incident at Cascade Falls brings tears and a salute from this trooper, since his mother received the phone call after the battle was over, and she was aware of her son's Heroic Sacrifice. Also, the deaths of various characters. Subverted by Malashenko when news came that his wife and baby daughter didn't make it. But his delayed reaction only adds to the sense of grief as he attempts to rationalize their deaths. Also, you do get to hear the letters the couple wrote to each other before the incident.
    • Hell, the whole game. As much as the plot takes refuge in Artistic Licence to function around several factors that make it an implausible scenario, the presentation is easy on par with the best war dramas in cinema.
  • Mission Control: Colonels Sawyer and Orlovsky.
  • Monumental Damage: Subverted - the Soviets destroy the Kingdome, a sports stadium that is only really recognizable by Seattleites, and was demolished seven years before the game was released. Meanwhile, the Space Needle, easily the most recognizable landmark in the city, survives intact.
    • The Statue of Liberty is also endangered at one point. If you fail to save it, there is a special cutscene before the gameover.
      • Played straight in multiplayer, where both the Space Needle and statue of Liberty are quite destroyable.
    • Of course, you get the chance to destroy tons of monuments on the side yourself (the main building on Ellis Island, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, etc.).
  • More Dakka: There's plenty of dakka to go around on both sides, but the true firepower comes from the Tactical Aids you can call onto the map. The Americans, for instance, can call an air to ground strafing run in a straight line wherever on the map they like, and an A-10 Warthog will happily oblige.
  • Multinational Team: The NATO side features Western European members (No Canada sadly). Done probably for balance as most of them as individual armies lack certain categories of units the game uses. (Only Britain and France have nukes, Britain lacks an amphibious APC, Only Italy has attack helicopters etc.)
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: A Subverted Trope, since Orlovsky doesn't seem to like invading the United States.
    • Played fairly straight soon after the game begins with Colonel Sawyer, who will make any sacrifice--including American lives and infrastructure--to achieve victory for the United States.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: he doesn't say it but when Bannon kills a bunch of surrendering soldiers/Civlians accidentally, he does not take it well.
  • My Greatest Failure: Arguably what prompts the above sentiment for Colonel Sawyer, and unlike other examples it's not part of the backstory, but part of the plot. He sees having to use the tactical nuclear weapon at Cascade Falls to be his own horrific failure (over the objections of Captain Webb--see the Mission 12 introduction movie) and will do anything--even sacrifice American lives in high-casualty, head-on attacks--to stop another nuke from being used.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: In the original single-player campaign, the Soviets are non-playable. Even in Soviet Assault, they get 6 missions, compared to 14 for the US-Nato alliance. Though it is an expansion.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Subverted somewhat in the opening cinematic when Soviet armored vehicles are shown being directed off their transports by safety-conscious personnel.
  • Poirot Speak: In the Soviet missions, characters will often speak a single phrase in Russian ("Govorit Lebedjev" = "Lebedjev speaking") before delivering the rest of their statement in English.
  • The Political Officer: Major Lebedjev of KGB in Soviet Assault.
  • Rated "M" for Manly: The rest of the game isn't at all overtly this, but the opening cinematic when you open the game? Other games might have a basic backstory and a few lead-ups to the game's present, connected to some cool action shots. The opening cinematic for the game mostly consists a ridiculous amount of shoots that call consist of combat and shooting from various different sources.
  • Redemption Equals Death: See Heroic Sacrifice example above;
  • Revenge Before Reason: Surprisingly averted with the already angry Malashenko, when he learns his wife was killed by NATO back home, swallows his considerable anger and continues.
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place: At least for the Soviets. Parker and Bannon were in Seattle, either visting Family or getting reassigned when the Soviets attack.
  • RPG Elements: Like in other recent RTS, units gain experience and may "level up" 4 times. The effects of this are reduced ability and fire cooldowns aswell as increased sight and accuracy. However, defense isn't affected in any way.
  • Running Gag: Mike's CD player and the (missing) batteries for it. Mind you, it's 1989.
  • Separate but Identical: While each faction uses vehicles that they used during the Cold War in real life, they pretty much function identically with the exception of special abilities. One notable exception is the Heavy Artillery unit. The US and Nato use MLRS, while the Soviets use cannon artillery firing just a single powerful shell.
    • The Heavy Artillery differences are significant, however, as following the smoke trails of the MLRS can pinpoint it's location, even if you can't see it, whereas the cannon artillery is not nearly as vulnerable to counterbattery fire. In addition, there are minor differences between the various units depending on the faction: for the most part, the US units are more heavily armored than the Soviet units, while the Soviet units are faster. The NATO units also have a slight benefit in speed. Functionally, however, two heavy tanks against two heavy tanks will result in a Pyrrhic victory for whoever wins, so it doesn't really matter that much.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Partly averted with tanks which have an impressive range (for an RTS unit, anyway) provided a forward scout, but artillery units have a drastically shortened range compared to their real life counterparts, However, this is only true for on-map artillery pieces - artillery strikes ordered through the tactical aid menu can hit anywhere on the map.
  • Shown Their Work: For a developer based in Sweden, Massive Entertainment did a hell of a job depicting downtown Seattle circa 1989.
    • This troper lives near Seattle, and was down there a couple months ago. He went down to the docks and surrounding streets, and identified most of the roads, cranes, and buildings present in the first Seattle mission. In fact, there were few differences between the actual Seattle, and World in Conflict's Seattle.
  • Slap-On-The-Wrist Nuke Devastating no doubt, but mostly a waste of tactical aid points and nowhere as powerful as a real-life nuke. In the single player mode, it's used only once; the player doesn't actually activate it as much as as activate a cutscene.
    • Nukes work well when your enemies are bunching up their forces too much over a large area, or if you want to make a part of the map difficult to occupy due to radiation poisoning.
    • Power of Friendship + There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Three nukes launched by a single player costs a lot less than three nukes launched by three (or two) players. This means that teams who are willing to let one player take a high score and pool points to that player for a triple nuke will get to inflict MASSIVE damage on the rival team.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: In Soviet Assault. Malashenko is the idealist, believing in most, if not all, of his country's propaganda. Lebedjev is the cynical one. Incidentally, their wives are on the same ends of the scale as them.
    • Parker, though this transpires earlier on, as each pre-mission narrative reveals his clear dismay at the reality of the situation, while recalling the sense of invincibility and confidence he had as an American, before the invasion.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Muh-ha-ha-ha...HA-HA-HA...HA-HA-HA''...HA-HA-HA! (There's a lot.)
    • Realistically, too! For instance, the effects of the BLU-82 "daisy cutter" bomb look pretty much the same as in real life.
      • In the last mission after you keep the Chinese from landing, and driving the Soviets away, you get full access to all the Tactical options and you don't have to worry about points..... Well this part of Seattle needed to be renovated anyway.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: This is the essence of the multiplayer roles. Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Take Cover: Infantry can do this in sufficiently dense woods, or garrison buildings.
  • Those Two Guys: Corporals Mike and Anton of the Washington Army National Guard.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Played with for Bannon getting in trouble for shooting surrendering men and ignoring an assertion that something was off by one of his crewman. Orlovsky is enraged at the idea of Malashenko wanting to subvert this.
    • Potentially played straight by Bannon--the description of the men he opens fire, and the fact that the battle was happening outside a major population center, suggests that he fired not at surrendering soldiers, but Soviet civil defense workers.
  • You Are in Command Now: Happens to Bannon in the open cinema of the first mission.

  (Bannon is driving a Humvee through the increasingly debris filled streets of Seattle while on the Radio) "This is Captain Bannon! I need to speak to who in charge!" *Beat* "What do you mean 'I Am'?!"

Due to its setup, it averts many typical RTS tropes:

  • Death of a Thousand Cuts - subverted: Infantry may only harm tanks and other heavily-armoured vehicles if they have specific squad members that can attack them, while attacking from other vehicle unequipped to deal with tanks deal literally no damage to them. And the setup doesn't really lend itself to overwhelming enemies with massive numbers. Where you shoot a target is important too; a missile shot at a tank's rear will do a lot of damage, while a shot to the front has a high probability of simply bouncing off.
  • Real Time Strategy unit archetypes: The game lacks basic workers, has no on-map naval forces and the only directly controllable aircraft are helicopters. It also lacks dedicated siege units, though heavy artillery serves this in a pinch. Fixed-wing aircraft are available from the support menu, as well as, on one memorable occasion, the main guns of the U.S.S. Missouri.
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction: You never really construct anything other than fortifications, which are built faster the more units are in a certain area.
  • Tech Tree: All units and tactical aids are available from the start, although the nuke has a significant delay before it can be used.
  • Units Not to Scale: They are here. Infantry can be pretty difficult to spot as a result, which is especially unfortunate since you require certain infantry squad members alive to attack heavy and air vehicle threats.
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