While we prepare for the M-series release, this may be a good time to reveal some of the branches of development which will not be making it into this release, but have been advancing in relative darkness; Finland and Italy, which should eventually be merged into the main game as complete sides.
Finland, as a sub-project, was begun by now-inactive developer, Felix The Cat, several years ago. At that point there was no clear direction in terms of game design, nor a complete unit list. Finland was seen as an auxiliary project with little hope of playability within the constraints of realism. When commitments caught up with Felix, development froze - the active developers were focused upon streamlining as well as differentiating the game design of the core four nations and completing their general rosters of units. Last year, Nemo and Neddie began to discuss the development of Finland in more detail, and quickly the other developers were interested, though the development team has remained focused on the core game. With the help of Yuritch, Evil4Zerggin and members of the Spring: 1944 community, Neddie was able to assemble a basic unit list for Finland. At present, Nemo and Neddie are working on the design of the faction, though it appears that Finland will balance relatively small numbers and a poor selection of armour with highly effective infantry, abundant anti-armour weaponry, units and structures tailored for guerrilla warfare as seen in the Winter War, and a capture mechanic, by which the Finnish soldiers should be able to capture abandoned enemy equipment. Currently, many of the vehicles and guns used by the Finns from 1941 to 1944 are modeled, though about half the unit list remains to be modeled by Yuritch and various contributors, and nearly all have yet to be textured. While a fully modeled and skinned release is still sometime off, the team has high hopes for completing Finland as an Expert faction, sometime before July of this year.
Italy has long been requested by players and contributors who feel that one Axis major, specifically Germany, is not enough for various reasons ranging from fair representation to historical accuracy. It was not in the original game design because, like Japan or Finland, it would require copious amounts of work, and, arguably was not balance comparable in a historical view. However, Yuritch and SpikedHelmet put together a basic unit list for the faction, and after some prompting, Neddie consented to take on the responsibility for balance and game design of the faction. At present it appears that Italy will utilize large numbers of inexpensive armour and vehicles to support an infantry core which is stratified between the basic infantry which historically seemed poorly lead and poorly equipped and the elite infantry such as the Bersaglieri or Alpini who were highly trained and well armed. There is also the possibility that Italian players will be able to request German support of various sorts, though this remains under discussion. Yuritch began modeling Italian vehicles and artillery at the beginning of last year, and with the buildings of N3mesis, a major contributor, it has become clear that the artistic bottleneck, once again, is in terms of skinning. We cannot commit to even to a tentative release date for Italy, but we hope to have it in game and playable as an Intermediate faction, probably similar in difficulty of play to the Soviets or Great Britain.
Japan is currently in planning, but I mention it only to appease those who particularly desire it. It is unlikely to make an appearance in the coming year, being a highly difficult faction to balance in relation to those seen in the European Theatre. This is due, in short, to the limited selection of armour, poor anti-armour capabilities, and the fact that the primary strengths of Japan - physical isolation, expanded navy and expanded air force - cannot be represented in the same environment as the core game. As with Finland and Italy, Neddie is primarily responsible for Japanese planning and development.
Anyway, as more units are textured and development on these branches continues, we plan to post various media teasers!