Darkest Hour: Europe '44-'45 is a free modification for the multiplayer first-person shooter video game Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45, developed by Darklight Games. It is based on the Western Front during World War II between 1944 and 1945, depicting the conflict between Allied and German forces. Several large scale battles are covered including the Normandy landings, the Ardennes, Battle of the Bulge and Operation Market Garden.
Darkest HourTemplate:'s gameplay style is similar to its parent game, Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45, although with many expansive changes especially to the armor system have been put in place in an effort to improve realism. Players assume the role of an individual infantryman or tank crew from either the Allied or Axis forces in an online multiplayer environment. Each team then attempts to accomplish objectives varying by the historical battle the game map is based upon. The main type of play consists of an Attack and Defend style, whereby one team has to take objective areas from the opposing team in order to claim victory.
The game features a complete change of content from its parent in the form of entirely new battlegrounds, vehicles, weapons and uniforms. The Allied team players get the chance to play the role of an American, British or Canadian soldier, while the Axis team play as a soldier from the Waffen SS, Fallschirmjäger and other German divisions. Over 20 WWII era firearms can be used including the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, .30-cal, Bren LMG, FG 42, Thompson, Lee Enfield, American Bazooka, British PIAT and German Panzerschreck. Crewable vehicles include the King Tiger, Jagdpanther, Sherman, Cromwell, M10 Wolverine and Kübelwagen. Other new improvements have been made to improve gameplay realism, such as bullet suppression, supersonic cracks, shell shock, player/vehicle damage and a playable radioman class required for calling in artillery strikes.
The following maps were available in the latest official release:
- Juno Beach – Canadians storming the beach in D-Day-style action.
- Carentan – The US 101st Airborne assaults the town shortly after D-Day.
- Brecourt – 101st Airborne attempt to put a key German artillery battery out of commission behind the beaches.
- Vieux – Vast sweeping armored combat as the British attempt to break out during Operation Goodwood in Normandy.
- Ginkel Heath (near Ede, Netherlands) – British paratroopers drop into a hotly contested landing zone at the start of Operation Market-Garden.
- Wacht-am-Rhein – Sweeping tank combat during the Battle of the Bulge.
- Stoumont – American infantry and armor try to hold back the SS PanzerGrenadiers in the streets of the Ardennes town.
- Bois Jacques – Americans in trench-style defense against the combined German tank and infantry forces.
- Foy – German forces defend against attacking American airborne troopers.
- Noville -
- DogGreen - D-Day 0600hrs -Omaha Beach: Dog Green Sector
- La Monderie - This is a fictional battle taking place in the Summer of 1944.
- Freyneux and Lamormenil - This map closely models the actual terrain of the Freyneux-Lamormenil area of Belgium in December of 1944.
- La Chapelle - In this scenario, US infantry forces supported by a section of tanks must seize the village from a Germany Infantry force.
- Hurtgenwald - While the Hurtgen Forest attracts tourists today because of its forested hills, lakes and us rivers, in 1944 and 1955 i was the site of the longest battles in the history of the U.S. Army.
Many other unofficial player-made maps are widely hosted on multiplayer servers. The development team has stated that they will continue to work on new content for future releases as well as producing additional maps which will be released periodically.
Development on the game started in November 2006 and was first publicly released on June 6, 2008 (to coincide with the anniversary of D-Day). During its lengthy production the game amassed many contributors following its first release. For the subsequent second and third releases the entire team was downsized to "provide an efficient core team of multi skill leads with a network of contributors who help whenever they can".
Darkest Hour made it into ModDB's top 100 unreleased mods of 2007. Egames.de, a prominent German gaming website, featured the game upon its release.
"The Darkest Hour" is a phrase coined by British prime minister Winston Churchill to describe the period of World War II between the fall of France in 1940 and the German invasion of Russia in 1941, when the British Commonwealth stood alone against Germany and the Axis Powers in Europe.
- Darkest Hour: Europe '44-'45 Official Website
- Darkest Hour: Europe '44-'45 at Steam
- Darkest Hour: Europe '44-'45 at Facebook
- Darkest Hour: Europe '44-'45 at YouTube
- Darkest hour ModDB pageTemplate:Online-game-stub