Company of Heroes 2 might be seen as one of the biggest mixed bags to the gaming public. While one side of gamers seem to really enjoy it for being a solid RTS, another side seems to dislike it for an entirely different reason. Russian critics have complained about how inaccurate the game's portrayal of the Soviet Union from World War II was. These critics have also stated that the portrayal simply caters to the Western bias about the USSR's efforts in WW2 and uses cliches and tropes to depict the Red Army. Because of these complaints, Company of Heroes 2 will no longer be sold in Russia and in the Commonwealth of Independent States, which is a group of former USSR nations. 1C-SoftClub, not Sega, is the distributor of this game in Eastern Europe and has released quotes explaining why the decision was made and how they are handling the issue:
"In connection with appeals of people who consider unaccepptable number of episodes of the game, the company IC-SoftClub chose 26 July 2013 to stop selling PC game Company of Heroes 2 (developer - Relic Entertainment, publisher - Sega) in the territory of the Russian Federation and CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]"
"At the moment we are analyzing the situation and [informing] the developer and publisher of Company of Heroes 2."
I remember reading on Patrick's latest Worth Reading, Polygon's Colin Campbell defended the portrayal of the war saying he had to select certain battle and incidences to give the game a good narrative and breadth. Campbell also said that campaign was inspired by combat journalist, Vasily Grossman, who studied and lives in the front lines for 3 years and shows both the greatest bravery among the men and the cruelty and competition that occurred in the military. Seems like the Russians disagree with this as they have shown great disapproval of the way Relic portrayed their army from World War II. Not to mention that there is a petition asking for Valve to remove Company of Heroes 2 from Steam because of the false representation of the events of the Eastern Front of the war. The Petition currently has 17,160 supporters and it seems that Gabe Newell will take this petition seriously.
While I do not think Relic intended to offend the Russian audience with this game, clearly their efforts were not enough to keep the game on sale in Russia and maybe off of Steam if that petition gets enough supporters. It also seems like that they looked at the wrong history books to depict the Red Army and the events of the Eastern Front.
Sega and Relic are also acknowledging the problems the surround this title. One Sega representative told Polygon:
"Sega and Relic are aware of the press stories circulating concerning Company of Heroes 2 and the historical context of the game from a Russian perspective. At this time we cannot offer any further comment, however we are taking this issue very seriously and are investigating these concerns thoroughly with all relevant partners."
To show how aware Sega is of the Russian public's response to Company of Heroes 2' depiction of the USSR, they have forced other developers to remove USSR imagery in other Sega games. In the PC version of Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, one of the free DLC characters is General Winter, who is suppose to represent Company of Heroes 2. He's a fictional Russian general who drives a tank on land, an airplane in air and a submarine on water. There will be a patch that will remove the use of the Russian hammer and sickle image whenever his vehicle transformed. Also his All Star Move, which is a special move that is unique to each character in the game, is likely to change as the original was a giant hammer and sickle swinging around the character whenever opponents were nearby (Smashing Sonic's face with a Russian hammer would be pretty sweet though). I could be wrong on this, but I think the patch is made if you download the latest free DLC character, Willemus, who represents Total War: Rome II.
And if anyone wants to know who Willemus is, he's actually not a character from Rome II. His likeness and name is based off of Creative Assembly Community Manager, Will Overgard. Strange, but then again the DLC for the PC version is freaking weird so I guess it fits.