Jagged Alliance 3

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Jagged Alliance 3


A comeback that is anything but Jagged

Driving fans crazy

For Jagged Alliance fans the past few years have not been without bumps. The first game dates back to 1994, and could be considered a sleeper hit. Sales started out slowly, but as its fame and brilliance spread through the ranks of Turn-based Strategy enthusiasts, the game quietly just kept selling… and selling. It took 5 years before Jagged Alliance 2 was released, but distribution of the game was so poor that it had no real opportunity to become the success it deserved to be. When ownership of the franchise fell into the hands of Strategy First, they found an excuse to redistribute the game by bundling it with an expansion pack.

In the meantime, Strategy First set out to develop a true sequel through Russian developer Game Factory. But when Game Factory elected to abandon the Turn-based concept and use a Real-time engine instead, the game began to go far astray. Strategy First rightfully got worried and pulled the plug on the project. Many fans, myself included, have never been sure whether to be more relieved or disappointed.

Time to get excited

But now things are looking up for the legions of Jagged Alliance’s deskbound mercenaries. Strategy First has gathered their courage once more and has joined forces with Akella and F3 Games to undertake the development of Jagged Alliance 3. Last week in Leipzig we had a chance to get a glimpse of the game in action. And everything we saw suggests that a genuine sequel is finally on the horizon. You may be skeptical and you have every right to be, but before you leap to any conclusions, let me explain exactly why I am so excited.

The premise of the game will be fairly familiar to those who have spent time in the Jagged Alliance universe. Severna, a small country located along the border of the Middle East and Africa, is being tyrannized by a corrupt government that rules with an iron fist. A small band of resistance fighters is trying to free the country of its oppressors; meanwhile, seeking to gain advantage from the turmoil, a neighboring country attempts to expand its own borders into Severna’s territory. Economy has also taken a hit, as a result of the government’s maneuvers to gain control over industry. A group of Severna’s industry leaders are fed up and are also making a grab for power. Your team of mercenaries stands to make a fortune in the midst of this chaos, by offering its services to the highest bidder.

Powering the game

Every game needs an engine and Jagged Alliance 3 is no exception. Game developers can choose either to create their own, or to shop around for an existing engine. And here, Akella made a very shrewd decision; rather than develop their own, they went knocking on the door of Nival Interactive and bought a license for the outstanding 3D engine that powered Silent Storm. While the graphics produced by this engine may not be groundbreaking new technology, it is a huge step up compared to previous games in the series, and more than adequate for what Akella is trying to achieve. There is more to a game than the engine base however, so don’t expect the game to be very similar to Silent Storm. The engine will be heavily modified to create a heady blend of Silent Storm’s strengths and the gameplay we know and love from the Jagged series.

A great example of how the new engine will be exploited is the ability to destroy virtually everything within the game. When you blow up a building, smoke and debris will fill the screen and when the dust settles nothing but rubble will remain. Cool! … This does of course have an impact on your strategy. You will no longer have to lay siege to a building’s single entree, you can just create yourself a second one. But it works both ways; hiding behind an object will no longer guarantee your safety. It can be blown to smithereens by an enemy shell or grenade, taking you right along with it. So be prepared to rethink some of your old strategies; when Jagged 3 comes out, they will no longer apply.

Another bonus of the new engine will be having full control over your camera. The engine will let you rotate and zoom freely. And even when zoomed in entirely, the graphics will not disappoint.