It's interesting to look at these glimpses of the speculation about the game design before publication. I find it sad that the transcripts of the "chats" seem to have been lost.
There seems to have been an almost frantic desire (need?) for Secret Police to act as Death Squads
and for C&C ability to direct the Army on Search & Destroy
missions. Folks should have been able to figure out that the NPCs would have no ability to plan ahead; a verisimilitude of thinking is not actual thinking. They also should have had a glimmer of the quantity of code needed for a Rebel C&C system. It just couldn't happen.
It's somewhat surprising that these two topics lived on and on while other gameplay features lay unrecognized and unused.
In all the comments about Secret Police, I have not read one which systematically described what was expected of such a feature if it were to be added. The nebulous ideas seemed to include:
- Disguised Assassinations. Unrealistic as a simulation since 'disappearances' or faked accidents are only slightly less disruptive than the open operation of 'death squads.'
- Torture. Used to gain knowledge of planned activity. Impossible since the NPCs don't think.
- Internal Spying. The game provides extensive individual and collective information, including personal thoughts.
- Certain possibly desireable statistical summaries are not provided.
- Infiltration of the Rebels. There is no continuing organization to infiltrate.
The complaints about not having NPCs to "do" these tasks never took into consideration that they didn't need doing, couldn't be done or were otherwise available to the player.
I conclude that players just wanted another whistle to blow. Those who wanted "search and destroy" were looking for another 'full service' war game and couldn't settle for less.