Prepare for battle this summer!
Before we jump into this week’s dev blog, we would like to announce that Isonzo will be released this Summer, 2022! We needed a bit more time to ensure a great experience on all devices. As always, we’ll give you a more precise date as soon as we have it. Now, onto…
Gorizia is the third map in the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo Offensive - as we explained back in our very first dev blog, battles will be fought on Monte San Michele and Monte Sabotino first, and if the Italians win those battles they will enjoy more reinforcements when fighting on Gorizia. We’ve relaxed the original plan where the Italians would need to win at least one of the preceding battles before being able to attack Gorizia. Here’s Robin, one of our developers, discussing Gorizia:
The battle for Gorizia begins with Mount Calvario just outside the city, considered for more than a year as a stronghold that could not be overcome by Italian troops - however, it fell during the night between the 7th and 8th of August, shortly after the Italian conquest of Sabotino. Austro-Hungarian counterattacks, even after the arrival of the first reinforcements on 11th August, did not change the course of this battle.
Monte Calvario - as you can see, the Italian facing side is heavily damaged and fortified, while the city facing side still has bushes and trees.
It was August 8th, 1916 when the Italians began their attack on Gorizia itself. Austro-Hungarian commander Svetozar Boroević wanted to mount a strong defense at the river, but his reserves were exhausted from attempting to contain earlier attacks at Monte San Michele and Monte Sabotino. They did the best they could, but ultimately had to withdraw in the night.
The first stage of the Gorizia attack is to crest Monte Calvario outside the city. The Austro-Hungarians have dug-in heavily on the slopes, and unlike the rockier mountains of Sabotino and San Michele there is plentiful greenery to offer concealment to defenders and attackers alike… at least once you get through the area which has been strung with barbed wire and heavily shelled. Historically this was some of the toughest fighting the Italians faced in the push for Gorizia.
The fortified slope facing away from the city - the first obstacle the Italians must defeat.
Next is reaching the city itself. Once they have control of the hill, the Italians will be able to construct heavy machine guns of their own overlooking the next objectives, and this fire support will be much appreciated because the ground is somewhat exposed. A lumberyard and graveyard offer cover, but wide streets separate these from the hill and then from the paper factory that sits on the bank of the river.
The elevated view over the factory and city beyond, compared to a historical image.
You can see the lumber yard and the graveyard.
A closer look at the graveyard in-game.
There is a railway underpass near the city named after the first Italian soldier to enter - 19 year old Second Lieutenant Aurelio Baruzzi. The developer video at the start of this Isonzo Intel tells Baruzzi’s story, and it’s a fascinating one. Not only did Baruzzi and his comrades capture hundreds of Austro-Hungarian soldiers in the tunnel along with artillery pieces, but he was also the one to raise the Italian flag over the train station - that’s an important objective that we’ll get to in next week’s dev blog…
In Baruzzi’s own words: “I have sworn to my flag that it will fly over the houses of Gorizia. Now the flag helps me for the second time. I unfurl it and shake it open. Our gunners see it and lengthen their fire. We run across the field to the station…[Soon after], the flag is flying from the highest roof-beam under the hot August sun.”
The next capture points are in and adjacent to the paper factory on the banks of the Soča river (also known as the Isonzo). Getting to the factory is only step one, and securing it may prove challenging.
The entrance to the factory, in Isonzo and as it was.
The factory is a series of buildings connected by large courtyards, where everything from machinery and collapsed ceilings to discarded shells and ammo crates provides cover and hiding places. You should be ready for close quarters action, and bayonets, pistols and melee weapons will likely prove very useful here. Just outside the factory is another objective location: the gun position between the factory and the railway line.
The riverbank gun position outside the factory.
There are abandoned Austro-Hungarian guns here, but the Italians can construct a functional mountain gun to bombard the opposite bank. The river is shallow, and doesn’t pose much of an obstacle so you can expect Austro-Hungarian counterattacks across the water. Another key terrain feature is the railway bridge you can see in the GIF above. It offers an alternate route across the river, while providing a view (and firing lines) down over the riverbank gun position.
Play Isonzo at PAX East, or join the beta!
We are at PAX East this year until April 24. Isonzo is playable there too - come find us at booth 10050! Be sure to stop by, fight on the Italian front and have a chat!
If you aren't attending PAX, the Isonzo closed beta tests are still ongoing, and we’re looking for more participants! If you’re interested, you can sign up here.
There’s no guarantee that everyone who signs up will get a chance to be part of the closed beta, since we pick people based on various criteria from hardware and server region to playtime. But given that we’re keen for more people to try the game, the odds are good. Don’t forget to wishlist Isonzo as well!
Crossing the river
Join us next time as we enter the city proper - the city streets, the train station where Baruzzi would raise his flag, and the full flyover video of the map! We’ll close out with a video comparison of our in-game Baruzzi tunnel, and drone footage of how it looks today. See you next time!