On Thursday, February 24, 2005, Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 went gold and was shipped the following week. The Xbox version arrived at stores on March 1 and the PS2 and PC versions released later on March 15.
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 was also used to re-create scenarios in a 2005 History Channel special.
The game is based on the historical mission Albany (misnomered as "Operation Chicago" in the game), in which the player has to complete true to life missions of the 101st. From securing Exit 4 to the capture of Saint Côme-Du-Mont, Brothers in Arms delivers one of the most authentic WWII experiences to date. The sequel Earned in Blood is also based on the last missions of the 101st, such as link up with 82nd Airborne Division and capture of Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte (which historically did not involve the 101st A/B). The player takes the role of Sergeant Matt Baker, a paratrooper (based on Harrison C. Summers and various other people), and the leader of an airborne squad from Fox Company. The missions range from dropping into France on June 6th to the final defense of Hill 30 eight days later. Baker must lead his men through troubled times and make decisions that may result in the death of a paratrooper, which causes him much heartache.
All the characters have much more visible facial hair than in Hell's Highway, giving them a grizzled look.
In most levels of Brothers in Arms, the player is in command of one or two separate 2-3 man teams, with the exception of several sections in which the player is not in command of any unit. There are two types of teams, which are automatically provided before each mission:
Additionally, some levels provide the player with a Tank in lieu of a team, providing players with heavy firepower and mobile cover. The player can also man the pintle-mounted M2HB .50cal machine gun on the tank for additional suppression.
Brothers in Arms is notable for its intuitive command system. Teams and tanks can be ordered to move, lay suppressive fire, rally, find cover, and charge the enemy. The game stresses at multiple points the effectiveness of fire and maneuver tactics, known as the Four Fs, expressed in the game tutorial as "Find, Fix, Flank, Finish" describing the steps in suppressing and flanking an enemy. It is impossible to run and gun your way through the missions and using the tactics is necessary, which some players found to be repetitive.
The focus on team command is emphasised by providing the player with a highly unstable firing capability. Instead of having perfect accuracy with weapons in games like Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms models weapons with erratic accuracy, and enemy fire can heavily interfere with a player's aim to simulate the effects of suppressive fire. The relative lack of accuracy is designed to simulate the difficulty in hitting targets in a combat situation as well as forcing the player to use team members to engage enemy units and provide better tactical opportunities.
Although the game is developed with realism in mind, there are some features made unrealistic for gameplay reasons. Among historical inaccuracies in the game, the depiction of BAR's in parachute infantry squads did not occur until 1945, and is a sore point among paratroop veterans. BARs were not carried in Normandy because their weight and the inability of breaking them down into subassemblies made them impractical in parachute jumps. High rates of fire were achieved in infantry squads by the use of .30 caliber light machine guns instead, carried at the squad level in place of the BAR. Despite being 2/3 the size of the standard infantry battalion, the parachute infantry battalion had a TO&E of seven times the number of light machine guns (44 to 6) as its "straight leg" counterpart. However, the developer attempted to address this inaccuracies by explaining that the BAR in the game was scavenged from the battlefield, not a part of the standard parachute infantry equipment.
The cover shows Sgt. Baker holding the dead body of Pfc. Leggett while covering himself at the same time. This is probably after the battle of Hill 30, when the squad make their way back to Carentan Cathedral.
- Brothers in Arms official website
- 'Brothers in Arms - Gearboxed' - community of fans with current news and forums
- Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 at MobyGames
- FilesNetwork launches a network fansite for 'Brothers in Arms'
- An Original Playthrough of the Game on Brighthub.com