Battlezone II: Combat Commander, sequel to 1998's Battlezone
, is a hybrid first-person shooter/real-time strategy PC game developed by Pandemic Studios
and published by Activision
Battlezone's alternate-history cold war is over. The USA and USSR have joined forces as the ISDF (International Space Defense Force) against the Scions, an alien race that has begun terrorizing the edges of the solar system. An investigation of an attack on Pluto
reveals a "Dark Planet," and players, as Lt. John Cooke, are tasked with carrying out various missions there.
Battlezone II is a unique mix of first-person shooter, vehicle shooter, and real-time strategy. For example, the player can pilot a vehicle around the map, then hop out, enter a building, and command forces from an overhead perspective. Tasks like directing units and building structures can be done from any mode with the help of the function keys, which are bound to unit groups and constructor units. Basic real-time strategy elements are present in the game, such as tech trees
and harvesting resources
to build units.
While pre-launch enthusiasm for the game was high, this quickly dissipated upon release. Buggy gameplay and steep system requirements marred the game's reputation, even after a significant number of issues were alleviated by patches. The game still managed to receive a few positive reviews, but did not sell particularly well.
After Pandemic Studios ceased patching Battlezone II after version 1.2, Pandemic programmers Nathan Mates and Ken Miller released patch 1.3
, an unofficial patch that they developed in their spare time. Patch 1.3 enabled user-created mods, which the programmers hoped would foster a dedicated mod community and increase popularity of the game. Today, a few active mod communities remain, including Battlezone II Mod Development
, Battlezone Universe
, and the Battlezone II Map Room