Electronic Arts is hosting its Summer Showcase this evening where it’ll highlight and present several of its upcoming core franchise games including Mass Effect (where there will be a new announcement), Battlefield 3: Armored Kill, Medal of Honor Warfighter, FIFA 13, Madden NFL 13, The Sims 3, and as we know now, the new Army of Two game, Army of TWO: The Devil’s Cartel.
Rumors from late last year pointed towards Electronic Arts utilizing DICE’s Frostbite 2 engine to develop a third franchise installment titled Army of Four, with the obvious idea of expanding the series’ trademark co-op experience to four players. Unfortunately, that’s not happening, but two-player co-op is returning.
If you’ve played both Army of Two (released in 2008 and 2010) games to completion, you may be wondering how Visceral plans to continue the story of its protagonists Elliot Salem and Tyson Rios. Well, they (mostly) aren’t. Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel is a reboot of the franchise and players will take on the roles of the unnamed “Alpha” and “Bravo” who are operatives employed by Tactical Worldwide Operations (T.W.O.). Get it? TWO. They’re throw into a drug war in Mexico and hilarity ensues. The neat part of the game will be how it ties into the previous games and players learn more about what happened to Salem and Rios.
Julian Beak, Executive Producer, Visceral Games, explains the goal of the new game:
“We wanted to refresh the Army of TWO franchise for a new generation of action gamers, and at the same time, stay true to the core concept that really made the first two games fan favorites. With meaningful, seamless co-op gameplay at its core and explosive new tag-team features, gamers will have to work together tactically and strategically as they push through a city dominated by one of Mexico’s deadliest drug cartels.”
Steve Papoutsis, General Manager of Visceral Games, rehashes Beak’s sentiment, remaining vague on the details:
“Our goal with Army of TWO The Devil’s Cartel is to apply our key design principles – immersive, challenging gameplay, intense narrative and focus on quality – to help improve a franchise we feel has always had a lot of potential.”
Both Army of TWO titles successfully implemented fun co-op and splitscreen play but left players demanding far more from the characters, story and customization options. With Visceral learning from both of those games and from the Dead Space series (which is also adding co-op with Dead Space 3) we can only hope that they flesh out the better parts. It’s a shame they didn’t take notes from what players wanted from Call of Duty and Battlefield and what players loved from other popular third-person shooters Gears of War and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier in expanding the game to allow for four-player co-op. According to EA’s press release however, the game does aim to include a deeper customization system and the return of the iconic masks the characters wear so expect to find out soon since the game is coming early next year.
Army of TWO: The Devil’s Cartel releases March 2013 for PS3 and Xbox 360.
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Sources: EA, Game Informer