Cold War-era RTS game Warno is gearing up to hit Early Access, and developer Eugen Systems is taking an interesting approach to its setting. The studio is keen to include historical orders of battle, but it also needs a fictional war for its NATO vs. Warsaw Pact factions to fight – and so, it’s tweaking history in a couple key places, as it explains in the latest devblog.
Warno’s first major divergence from history as it really happened is a bloodless coup that ousts reformist Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and his allies from office in 1987. Historically, Gorbachev was reelected in 1990 and left office after the August putsch in 1991, but in Warno, the party hardliners take control of the USSR much earlier, replacing Gorbechev with a troika representing the Communist party, the army, and the KGB.
In the game’s fiction, this leads to swift condemnation from the western superpowers, which enact new sanctions against the USSR. US president Ronald Reagan, heeding the most hawkish of his advisers, rescinds a key nuclear treaty, and NATO ramps up military training exercises in western Europe, taking a weather eye toward the crucial Fulda Gap – a heavily militarized region in Germany seen as the natural approach into Europe for Russian tanks, and vice-versa.