Struma River comes from a one of a package of map layouts ideas and sketch that I did for King Art and was heavily modified to accept a new spawn (the 1v1 ones to the right), because after the success of Zeppelin Crash we felt more daring to doing map designs which might have been vetoed in the past because of core gameplay failures.
Nonetheless it was still a challenging level to create as there were issues when the modifications were created and had then to be resized to better fit the idea and gameplay of having an extra set of players in the map, still for all of our troubles, we got a pretty cool level out of it, and I am very happy that we also got to embed a whole full blown cannon in the map which just gives it that extra flavor gameplay wise.
Narrative and aesthetics wise, Struma River showcases an idyllic little town which has historic small gold deposits along the shores of the river, which even when it hasn’t brought big wealth to the region, it has kept it in relative peace and calm. Peace and calm which now has been sought after by a wealthy patron of the arts and industry who has set his own personal Château on the hills overlooking the sleepy little town sitting in a literal gold mine they all don’t know they have, and will become a raging inferno as the area transforms into a strategical battleground for generals in the upcoming war.
Talking of core gameplay for the level, it generally all pivots on the control of the cannon which overlooks the village. Because of its highly strategical positioning, it works as a very strong area denial tool, which can be fortified for whom ever wants to control it providing Struma River of a very trench styled warfare gameplay in the village area of the map. But per design that city/trench close quarters combat can be flanked through the very open areas near the middle of the map, and that way allow for a way to put anyone holding the village too tightly on a very awkward place tactically!