Battalion Wars II

System: Wii Release date: 15/02/2008

As of May 20th, 2014, the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service was discontinued and it is now no longer possible to use online features of Nintendo DS/DSi and Wii software such as online play, matchmaking, competitions and leaderboards. For more information, please visit our Support section.

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A Franchise in Motion

When the original Battalion Wars debuted on Nintendo GameCube in 2005, it stood out from the crowd. Featuring a carefully concocted blend of action and strategy, and a visual style that flew in the face of convention, the game was praised for possessing that most rare of qualities – originality.

Two years on, the team behind Battalion Wars are back with a follow-up that promises to once again tear up the rulebook on run-of-the-mill action games and bring Wii owners a scintillating strategy experience. We caught up with Kuju, the makers of Battalion Wars II (BWii) at their London studios to hear them explain why Wii is the perfect fit for a franchise that has taken pride in doing things differently right from the start.

The roots of the Battalion Wars series date back to the early days of Kuju, which was founded in 1998. Having worked hard to develop the concept for an action game with a strategic twist, the company was keen to find the natural home for a project oozing with creativity and originality. Among those working on the original GameCube title was Kuju’s Creative Director, Tanc Dyke-Wells who recalls the earliest stages involved in trying to bring the franchise to the right audience.

“Basically we had a concept for an original prototype, for which we built a demo, and the key idea was really to create an action game well fitted for a console audience, but an action game that offered you more power and a sense of command as well as some of the depth that you get in a real-time strategy game.

“We showed videos of the Battalion Wars prototype to a number of people, but with Nintendo there was just a really good fit. They were looking for titles which were original, and Battalion Wars is certainly something of a cross-genre hybrid game, and I think as an innovative company they really found that interesting.”

Before long, the kernel of an idea for a game that married frantic action and careful strategy evolved into the finished Battalion Wars for GameCube and invited players to unleash their military might across action-packed campaigns that called for them to use brains as well as brawn. And while the game brought to fruition much of what Kuju had envisioned, they were soon dreaming up ideas for a sequel.


Along with the rest of the Battalion Wars team, Kuju’s Lead Designer Andy Trowers was involved in planning the future of the series and identifying the key elements that would push the follow-up to a new level. As well as retaining the unique style and gameplay of the original, the desire to respond to feedback from fans was among the most important considerations for Kuju when planning BWii, says Andy.

“We spent a long time after the first Battalion Wars came out searching forums, reading reviews and getting a feel for what people wanted in the next game. The multiplayer was clearly something that everybody wanted to see and naval units was another thing that just kept recurring time and time again. We took these things on board, and they were actually ideas that already fitted in with what we wanted to do.

“Among the things that we really wanted to keep was the mix of action and tactics, as that was key to the franchise really. We also wanted to keep the fun aspect and didn’t want to go down that ‘serious war’ route. There are so many titles out there at the moment that are ultra-realistic shooters, and we wanted to take the game to a different place really and have a bit more fun with it. That’s something that was very important to us.”

For Tanc, BWii’s distinctive visual style summarises much of what the series is about and embodies a desire to put fun first.

“The kind of entertainment experience we wanted to create was something quite playful, with a certain light-heartedness. Something fun, primarily – not dingy or gritty or some kind of commentary on current affairs. It’s humorous and funny, as well as satisfying in terms of shooting and blowing stuff up!”

At the outset of the creative process for Battalion Wars II, Kuju got their hands on a development model Wii and instantly realised a world of new opportunities had opened up for the project. For Andy, trying out Wii for the first time was an eye-opening experience.

“Because we were so early on in the Wii’s life cycle nobody really knew what it could do at that stage. We still didn’t have a firm idea as to the power of Wii and how the controller was going to work. So when it came in it was obviously very exciting and we tried out a lot of different methods of control.


“We spent a lot of time on the control system because we wanted to get it right and make sure it was something that worked really well. We found that it (Wii) improved the experience immeasurably and made things a lot more accessible as people seemed to pick it up and get it straight away.”

The gist of how Wii has transformed Battalion Wars lies in the ease with which would-be generals can now direct proceedings on the battlefield. From prompting a soldier to dodge enemy fire with a quick tilt of the Nunchuk to pointing and pressing with the Wii Remote to issue instructions to your Battalion, it’s easy to see how the joy the developers felt at first trying out Wii has translated into the experience of playing the finished game.


Topped off with the addition of naval units, the inclusion of facilities that alter the face of battle and an online mode that will have you locked in worldwide warfare, BWii brings to fruition ideas that have been in development since the release of the first game; ideas that gained a new lease of life on Wii and once again ensured the name Battalion Wars remains synonymous with a daring approach to game design.

Battle Across Land, Sea and Air


Your Battalion is under attack, gunfire is raining down from every angle and through the chaos you can just make out an enemy battleship looming on the horizon. You’re going to need a plan – fast.

In Battalion Wars II (BWii) for Wii the beauty lies in the freedom you have to choose exactly how you co-ordinate your troops in any given situation. Will you forge ahead with your speedy Recon vehicle and clear the path for your Assault Veterans, or take to the air and bombard the enemy with a low flying Bomber? As the people who made the game will tell you, BWii is all about choices.

The basic premise that greets you in each of the game’s multi-faceted missions is simple: Wipe out the enemy and advance from one end of the battlefield to the next. Along the way you’ll have to capture strategically placed facilities to earn reinforcements and new vehicles that will aid you in the sub-missions on your path to victory. As you complete objectives passed on from your superiors, however, you’ll quickly realise that how you get the job done is as open-ended as your imagination. For the people behind the game at Kuju Entertainment Ltd, the freedom to play as you want is foundational to the BWii experience.

Lead Designer at Kuju, Andy Trowers, enjoys the fact that no two players need make their way through a mission in the same way and can choose how involved they want to be in planning the finer details of a battle.


“There is what we like to call an ‘optimal solution’ for levels, so we often see missions like puzzles – if you get it right and unlock it then it should all come together. But that doesn’t mean you’re restricted in the way that you approach missions, and people tend to play the game differently.

“You get some people who sit back and order their units, whereas other people are a bit more gung-ho and they like to have all their units following them and just charge in and lead from the front. And in specific areas you can take very different approaches. For example, there are missions where your naval units are escorting land units that are on an island and you can choose whether to take control of the land units or use your ship to support from the water. It is very creative.

“We also needed to ensure that the artificial intelligence was strong so that if you want to play the game without really thinking too much about all your units you can just keep them in Follow mode and let them do their own thing and react to what is going on around them. But for those who really want to get into the commanding there’s the option of ordering every unit directly.”

Taking control amid the chaos as the battle unfolds in BWii is as easy as it is satisfying thanks to the unique capabilities of Wii. With a simple point and press system taking care of much of the action, getting to grips with the game’s frantic form of warfare feels immediately natural.

A combination of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk gives you total control over your units, allowing you to direct them with the Control Stick as you use the Wii Remote to aim at enemies, determine the camera angle and select which vehicle or soldier to control. A simple press of the A Button is enough to make the rest of your Battalion wait at a safe distance as you forge ahead with your chosen unit, or to order an all-out assault on an enemy target of your choice. Gestures with both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk enhance the action further as you prompt soldiers to dodge bullets or order your Submarines under the surface by making simple context-sensitive movements.

Kuju’s Creative Director Tanc Dyke-Wells believes the novel blend of action and strategy that shapes the gameplay in BWii is perfectly suited to Wii, and wanted the game’s control system to be as straight-forward as possible.

“We really tried to use the features of the system to support the game design in a streamlined way. Developing for Wii forced us, in a good way, to be more focused and more disciplined in our control system design. So, whereas, in the first Battalion Wars for GameCube you used several buttons to do your commanding, here it’s all baked into the A Button. That may seem very obvious and very simple when you’re playing BWii, but it was quite a challenge to get that right.”

Another thing the Kuju team expended a great deal of energy on was the creation of new armies and units for players to take control of in BWii. As with the time invested in perfecting the control system, Tanc believes the effort necessary to let players control no less than six different armies has been well worth it.  

“There are a few armies that made brief cameo appearances in the first game – like the Iron Legion and the Solar Empire - that are much more fully fleshed out this time and appear as full armies. There is a vast array of units as well. There are six different infantry types, and in terms of vehicles we have the Heavy Tank, Light Tank, Anti-Air vehicle and Auxiliary and Recon vehicles.

“Then there are the new naval units. The Dreadnought is the terror of the seas. It has triple cannons and is a floating fortress! Battleships are really useful for tackling other naval units but also for clearing out land-based defences, while Frigates are interesting dual purpose units. They act as anti-submarine units as they carry depth charges, but can also switch to using anti-air weapons. Then you have Submarines, which are the stealth units in the game.”

Incredibly, that impressive list of military muscle stops short of highlighting the range of airborne weaponry players will also have at their disposal in BWii. From slow but devastating Bombers to fierce fighting planes, the thrill of cruising into enemy territory and levelling bases from above is made all the more satisfying by the fact you can guide your aircraft through the skies by simply tilting the Wii Remote in the desired direction.

With so many units and even more options for how to utilise them, what do the experts suggest you do to bring the enemy to their knees? For Lead Designer Andy, the old adage “safety first” is one worth bearing in mind.

“My biggest tip when you’re playing the single player game for the first time is to use the map screen – be aware of what’s coming up ahead and don’t be afraid to keep back vulnerable units and put them into Wait mode. For example, if you are coming up against a bunch of anti-air towers then make sure all of your air vehicles are in Wait, go forward and deal with the towers and then bring those air units in.”


Of course, the BWii team at Kuju would also be quick to point out that while one tactical approach might be more successful than another, it is the joy of trial and error that makes the game what it is. After all, who could resist at least one attempt to bring down an entire enemy army with a lone foot soldier?

However you want to win your wars, rest assured that in BWii you’ll never be short on options. Your army is primed and ready for action – all you need now is some imagination.


Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection


Overcoming the challenges that lie before you in the action-packed single player campaigns of Battalion Wars 2 (BWii) will test your strategy skills to their limits, but your greatest challenge might just come when you fight on a new front and attempt to conquer the world.

Featuring a comprehensive online mode that includes three distinct types of battle and lets you pit your military might against other generals via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, BWii will have you coming back time and again to face off against friends – and enemies – around the globe.

When it came to planning the multiplayer action in BWii, development team Kuju were determined to ensure players had a deep and varied experience waiting for them online. And, as this in-depth explanation from Kuju’s Creative Director Tanc Dyke-Wells proves, playing BWii via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection is every bit as action-packed as playing it in single player mode.

“We wanted to deliver a really comprehensive multiplayer experience this time around – something we knew that the fans really wanted. We’ve tried to provide different modes so there’s something in there for different tastes.

“The Skirmish mode is more kind of open-ended; it’s time limited, score based and symmetrical – in that two players are facing off and they’ve got a kind of even situation where it’s really up to them to tackle each other in whatever way they see fit. You’re also struggling over key resource facilities that are on the map. So if, for example, there’s an airbase at the top of a hill you’re going to have a real King of the Hill scenario whereby if I take possession of that I’m going to have dominance of the skies and the other player is going to be in trouble and have to fall back heavily on his anti-air units.

“The Assault mode is more objective based. It’s more like a tug-of-war with one player attacking, one player defending – and you take turns at doing that. You will be trying to push each other back through a series of key objectives. For example, destroying a series of hydro-electric dams or a gate so that you can assault the enemy base while the other player tries to stop you doing so.


“And then Co-op mode is, of course, exactly what it says on the tin. Two players with complimentary forces have to work together to help each other out and get through the mission. Each of you has different sets of units with different strengths or weaknesses. And in Co-op mode we implemented a one-button communication system which, much like the commanding, just lets people lock onto targets and give a context-sensitive command. So you tell the other person to ‘attack this, protect that, follow me, or whatever is appropriate for the situation.”

As with the game’s single player mode, BWii‘s online multiplayer throws you head-first into frantic battles that demand quick thinking and always deliver their fair share of explosive action. With sixteen maps to choose from - some of them unique to online play - and the option of going head-to-head with friends on your Wii Friend Roster or random opponents, competing via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection is the perfect way to see how your military mind compares to the best BWii commanders in the business.

Both Skirmish and Assault mode are timed, meaning you will have to be in the ascendancy when the clock runs out to claim victory. Achieving that ultimate goal in Skirmish mode is a case of scoring more points than your opponent by taking out as many of their units as possible. The more difficult a unit is to destroy, the more points it is worth. So if you’re lagging behind as the clock approaches zero, you may want to focus your energies more on bringing down enemy bombers than soldiers. In Assault mode, you’ll have to ensure you have the upper hand in whatever objectives you have been asked to perform in order to come out on top at the end, while success in Co-op mode is simply dependent on working with your ally to achieve victory in your chosen mission.

Kuju’s Lead Designer, Andy Trowers, believes online play is perfectly suited to the strategic action in BWii and envisioned it as a key feature of the game from the outset.

“As soon as we realised that Wii was going to be online we were right behind it. We thought it was a really good fit for BWii. Playing the finished version, it’s as if Battalion Wars was made for online play, without a doubt. It was the biggest thing people felt was missing from the first game and it has added a lot of replay value. It has also added a lot of depth with the three different game types, which are very different experiences from the single player game. It has definitely increased the overall breadth of the game.”Like Andy, Tanc is very satisfied with the online mode and says the number of hours spent playing the game within the Kuju offices are testament to the fact! 



“I think it has enhanced the experience hugely. We were having an in-office championship with a golden helmet being passed between the QA team and the design team and we battled it out without a lot of shouting! It just has so much replay value. And the more you play the multi-player missions the more complex your strategies can become – the more depth you find in figuring out all the ways you can play.”

As with the solo missions of BWii, formulating your own strategy and choosing from your land, sea and air units at any point in the battle is a hugely satisfying experience. The freedom to approach one-on-one conflicts any way you like makes victory taste all the sweeter when your plan does come together and you prove that only a combination of brains and brawn is enough to overcome the opposition in BWii. With so much variety, depth, and trademark Battalion Wars action, playing BWii online via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection is an experience that will blow you away and keep you coming back for more.

Developer's Pick


Blending explosive action with careful strategy and giving you the freedom to take charge of everything from a lone soldier to a hulking battleship, Battalion Wars II (BWii) is certainly not short on variety.With land, sea and air units that you can switch between at any time and control easily thanks to the capabilities of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, the game invites you to use your imagination as you control six different armies caught up in a global skirmish.    

We caught up with two of the key figures who helped develop the game at Kuju Entertainment Ltd to hear a little more about their roles in BWii and which specific elements of the game they enjoy most now that their work is complete. Creative Director Tanc Dyke-Wells and Lead Designer Andy Trowers have both enjoyed a long-time involvement with the Battalion Wars series, and are well-placed to give a verdict on what makes the game stand out from the crowd. For Andy, it is the competition of playing online that brings him most satisfaction.

"I was Lead Designer on the project so basically I was heading up the level creation of the game and the new features; making sure that all of the elements worked well together. My favourite aspect of the game, I would say, is probably the Skirmish mode actually.

"I'm a bit of a competitive gamer at heart as I'm sure Tanc would tell you! I like the competition, which is why the Skirmish mode stands out for me. We had a running competition throughout the game development, which is quite unusual for games. Usually people don't necessarily want to play a game they have been working on for years, but for us we were very much into playing against each other and even today I still like to have a good bash!"

In Tanc's case, it is the general feel of the game and the breadth of possibilities in BWii that endear it most to him as both a player and developer.

"I've been at Kuju London for seven years or so, so I'm a bit of an old-timer. My role is to basically supervise artwork, design and audio – the creative content in general and the quality of creative content that we produce here across all projects. Previous to this position I was Creative Director exclusively on Battalion Wars for GameCube, essentially acting as Lead Designer and Art Director on that project.

"The overall style and attitude of the game is something that I personally consider to be really fun and attractive and just appealing about the title. The sense of humour and all the pop-culture references, the silly stuff the Grunts say and their floppy-footed runs. This attitude is a key thing for me.

"But it's really the gameplay. Being a tank, being a guy, getting to drive around and blow stuff up, and getting to tell everyone else what to do at the same time. Calling an air-strike - not just as a kind of pre-scripted event but, at any time, actually getting a bomber that you can switch over to and fly in. It is all very satisfying and very good fun."From a starting point at which Kuju had a rough idea for an action game containing a strong element of strategy, to the finished version of BWii, a lot of time and energy has been expended fulfilling their ambitions.


Learning to utilise the unique features of Wii, expanding the range of possibilities for in-game combat (most notably with the inclusion of naval units), and responding to the wishes of fans by creating a comprehensive online mode are just some of the challenges Kuju have risen to in the development of BWii.

The final result is a game that is as accessible as it is original, and an experience that is equally satisfying to fans of both all-out action and controlled strategy. The freedom to organise your Battalion any way you see fit as you work your way behind enemy lines means you need never play the same way twice, while going online via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and testing your skill against rival generals introduces the thrill of competition to proceedings and keeps you coming back to BWii again and again.

With the game now completed, Kuju’s Creative Director Tanc Dyke-Wells is keeping his cards close to his chest about the possible future of the Battalion Wars series as well as the projects in the pipeline for Kuju.


“We do have other work in development with Nintendo, which is confidential, but I think it may surprise people when they see what we have been doing. As for Battalion Wars; well, we’ll just have to wait and see…”

Whatever may lie around the corner, there is no secret that BWii is a war game that shirks convention at every turn and immerses you in battles that reward creativity and always go off with a bang. Grab your Wii Remote and Nunchuk and throw yourself into a brand of modern warfare only possible on Wii, with BWii.



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