Jagged Alliance Reboot Not Turn-Based

By Adam Smith on October 31st, 2011 at 5:11 pm.

Plan & go on vacation

Since we first heard about Jagged Alliance: Back In Action, one very important thing hasn’t been entirely clear. As soon as I see evidence of a new tactical game, particularly if it’s based on one I’ve previously attempted to legally wed, I have one question: are you turn-based, my darling? Back In Action has been coyly avoiding the answer to that question, claiming to be turn-curious but with a strong tendency toward real-time. Well now, it seems, the truth is out with this word from the developers:

The Plan & Go system could be described as an extended “real time with pauses” system. Back in Action essentially runs in real time, but the game can be paused at any time. The player maintains control of the game events even during the pause, and can input more entries which can only be implemented when the pause is removed.

Oh, baby, why can’t we take things slow and make our moves alternately in a well-paced fashion?

None of this means that I hate the game already, but it’s a shame that there won’t be a fully turn-based option as had previously been hinted. More details on how exactly Plan & Go will work below but first a teaser trailer, which as far as I can see we haven’t shown you before.

Did I see Agent 47 wearing a hat in there?

This will already be familiar from other games, e.g. tactical RPGs such as Baldur’s Gate or Dragon Age: Origins. But what is new in Back in Action is the action timeline, whereby all the commands issued by the player while the game is paused are retained and listed. While in Baldur’s Gate players generally pause the game to issue an order, i.e. for the mage to make a fireball incant magic, and then continue the game only to pause it again several seconds later and issue a command to a fighter, in Back in Action you can issue a sequence of orders to several mercs to devise complex plans, so we like to refer to pause mode as planning mode.

The knack with the planning mode is that you can now synchronize your actions: for example, you can order Shadow to sneak around the enemy base to launch an ambush and attack a guard there, as meanwhile you bring Igor out from behind cover to take aim at an enemy. If you now want to stop Igor opening fire immediately, thereby raising the alarm among all the enemies before Shadow can get half-way to his target, you can simply link the two attack commands. This means that one of the mercs will automatically wait for the other, and will only carry out his action when his team mate is ready to start the linked action.

Admittedly, the idea of synchronising the squad in this way opens up some interesting possibilities, but Jagged Alliance was one of the most turn-based things ever and I can’t help but feel this makes it a different game altogether. And maybe it should be but that won’t stop me from wanting a modern, turn-based update to the series. Nothing will. Except, perhaps, a modern, turn-based update to the series. Until then, I’ll occasionally whine about it.

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132 Comments »

  1. povu says:

    I’m fairly sure they explained this quite some time ago already. Like, many months. :P

    But yeah it still kinda sucks.

    • Adam Smith says:

      It’s possible – my memory and what jogging I’ve been able to give it before posting this lead me to think it’s the first time there’s been confirmation that this is the only control method, and the first time we’ve had this much detail on it.

    • Kelron says:

      Yes, we’ve known it won’t be turn based for a while. Some people got annoyed at me in the last comments thread because I’m looking forward to it. We don’t get enough real time tactical games.

    • Tuco says:

      @Kelron: they were right. You’re annoying.

    • Kelron says:

      Kind of you to say so.

    • enobayram says:

      Please give me a single reason why this is worse than turn based… I mean, yes I occasionally prefer turn based to pure real time, but real time with pause and plan (especially detailed plan!) seems to me simply superior in every point of view. I didn’t understand back then, when people whined about X-COM: Apocalype, and I don’t understand now. Don’t you feel like those guys who say that the games have been sucking since the end of text based adventures?

    • DrSlek says:

      At least it’s not an FPS…..?

    • Ian says:

      That’s because you’re not allowed to look forward to games. Poor, naive Kelron.

  2. promenad says:

    That’s another game I wont be playing then.

    • Wizardry says:

      Did you play the Gold Box and Dark Sun games before Baldur’s Gate?

      I’m not fine with this.

    • Bhazor says:

      @ Wizardy

      Have you liked any game made after the fall of the Berlin Wall?

    • JoeyJungle says:

      It’s pretty much the same system that Baldur’s Gate, Freedom Force, Icewind Dale, and all those games used. There was an excellent podcast of Three Moves Ahead a while back where they talked about Freedom Force with Ken Levine, and he basically said that he always thought of it as a TBS.

    • codename_bloodfist says:

      @Bhazor

      It all went a little downhill after Go. Chess was okay, but I think they placed too much focus on graphics.

    • Tuco says:

      @JoeyJungle: Yeah, and even if quite decent, none of these games was even close to jagged Alliance 2 when it comes to combat depth.

    • Starky says:

      Go? bah you’re such a newbie – made for kids who didn’t understand proper games.
      Senet is the original and still the best.

    • Turin Turambar says:

      “Yeah, and even if quite decent, none of these games was even close to jagged Alliance 2 when it comes to combat depth.”

      @Tuco.
      Sorry to burst your bubble, but the russian Brigade E5 and 7.62mm hada much deeper, detailed and realistic combat system, and they used SPM (smart pause mode, more or less the same system than this).

    • theleif says:

      I’d say it seems it has more in common with the UFO Afterlight/shock/math(?). These games have pausable real time, and you can cue up a lot of orders and synchronise your soldiers moves. The ability to cue orders changes a lot. The combat system works pretty well in them, i’d say, so i’ll wait and see.
      Not that i’d complain if it had been turn based.

      Edit: At least i hope it has.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      @Turin Turambar there’s what a six-seven year gap between JA2 and Brigade E5? It would be a pretty sorry game that didn’t improve on it’s predecessors. Make a decent new turn based game that utilized all the developments in computing and AI over the last decade and it would blow all the real time and pause games out of the water.

    • Nick says:

      Did you played Jagged Alliance 2? I’m not fine with this or the shitty way they made the mercs look and no doubt all sound. Looks like utter rubbish.

    • Tuco says:

      @Turin Turambar: No, they really, really, REALLY didn’t.

  3. Vexing Vision says:

    Also, there will be no real specialists anymore. Sure, some of them can do explosives or locks a bit better than others, but the primary function of all your guys will be to shoot. Or, as the developers I talked with at GamesCom put it: “Noone liked carrying dead meat with them in the original Jagged Alliance. Making all your squadmembers very capable fighters will be a lot more fun.”

    After which I just shook my head and walked away, never to look back.

    • atticus says:

      Sigh.

      “Noone like firing inaccurate pistols in the original Jagged Alliance, so this time around the only weapon in the game will be scoped M16′s. And noone like to die in the original Jagged Alliance, so we’ve made every squadmember invincible.”

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Sigh indeed.

      I wonder when game developers will learn that complexity is crucial in many types of games, that oversimplification is bad. You can look at any individual element under a microscope and maybe rightly call it “not fun”, but that’s missing the bigger picture. Because making strategic decisions is sorta the point of a strategy game, and cutting out complexity makes those decisions less interesting and less fun.

    • Jools says:

      One of the more annoying trends I’ve been noticing with reboots, remakes, and sequels lately (or maybe always, my memory doesn’t necessarily go back more than a few years) is the tendency of developers to tell me what I enjoyed about older games. If you’re fundamentally changing the core gameplay of a series, then at least respect the people who are buying your game enough to give a proper justification. “This [core element] of [widely regarded game] just wasn’t fun” is a surprisingly insulting statement, and means absolutely nothing substantial to boot.

    • atticus says:

      Aiming for the old fans with the name, and the new crowd with the game. The old mechanics we loved isn’t actiony enough for the kids I guess.

      Don’t care for this trend at all. If it has become a different game, then have the decency to call it something else. Don’t try to cash in on our broken dreams from low-res complicated wonders of the 90′s.

      Yes, Syndicate, we’re looking at you too.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I did not know that one. The shift to ATB didn’t really bother me because it wouldn’t take me so long to faceroll easy encounters and someone will mod turnbased back in. The lack of noncombat classes is a much bigger problem.

    • Discopanda says:

      So… no dead weight? Does that mean they removed all the MERC merccenaries? They were my favorite, useless, but hilarious. I wonder if the development team looked at 1.13 and saw the amazing things that they did to Jagged Alliance 2. You know that added a working multiplayer component to Jagged Alliance 2? It’s buggy, but as a proof of concept, WOW. It looks like I was right to hold off on the pre-order, and if this game turns out poorly, I’ll be the first to vent my frustrations on the developers’ forums.

    • atticus says:

      Some of the MERCs were pretty useless yes, but they had their strengths and weaknesses, and was part of what made the game so brilliant. It was a good setup for a interesting narrative, and also meant that playthroughs could be different.

      Ah… playing JA1, stomping through the jungle with a bunch of communists, alcoholics, gangsters and nerds. Some of them could barely hold a gun, and others could barely open a door. Some would get lost in the undergrowth, and some couldn’t cope with the heat and pass out from exhaustion. It was challenging and somewhat tiresome at times yes, but it was excellent fun!

  4. kristian says:

    Well there’s a reason why they have not released any in-game gameplay footage. It just can’t feel like a Jagged Alliance game, unless all you cared about in JA was the setting and graphics.

    The game most likely is so horrible that there’s no way anyone would buy it after realising what they have done with the franchise.

    • The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

      The corollary of that is that it would probably be very difficult for them to show any trailers if it was turn-based. It would be a marketer’s nightmare.

  5. ulix says:

    Why the hell not? It is more realistic (ergo: at least in some way realistic, at all), after all.

    The problem will be if they can pull it of, and maintain the feel of the JA games, which might become difficult. And I don’t think they will be able to do, but hey, let’s be suprised.

    • suibhne says:

      No, it’s not more “realistic”. What passes for “real-time” combat is just as abstracted as turn-based combat, but in very different ways. They’re both totally “unrealistic”.

    • wodin says:

      ^well said. If AI’s where as good as a human then fair enough you can hav efaith in realtime the squad member will do the right things whilst your dealing with another. Howeve this is not the case. Thereby all realtime does is make it faster with less brains behind it.

    • UmmonTL says:

      I agree with ulix here, it is more realistic and this is actually exactly the way I would make a new Jagged Alliance game. And remember, it’s not really real time. You don’t have to frantically switch characters and order them in the heat of battle. With the ability to pause anytime, assess the situation and give orders it will still be every bit as tactical as when it was turn based only now you can have enemies moving at the same time as you.
      You could also say it’s still turn based but each turn is just infinitely small. Dragon Age Origins used this kind of combat and it was great. There is also a game that actually was made in the spirit of JA had combat like this, it was called 7.62mm I think and apart from being made on the cheap it wasn’t half bad.

    • Nick says:

      Whats realistic about it?

    • Josh W says:

      Well one of it’s strengths over certain kinds of turn based games is that you can’t just string together all your actions like so to kill the other player before their turn:

      Everyone sets up in front of the door, lying down, kneeling, standing, in an arc spreading slightly on either side of the door
      Closest man, opens door, fires on person on the other side, snap shot, has a few action points left
      Those behind him shoots full auto inside until they are out of actions
      Person at the back, chucks a grenade in.
      Closest man uses his remaining action points to close the door.

      Now you can have a game with responce fire, or other methods of acting on the other player’s turn, but as you start to layer these up, you can start to create what is basically a simultanious turn structure.

      Then you realise that you can actually have variable length turns, and that that might actually make sense with the action point system, allowing characters to do actions that take more action points than are available on a single turn. Then you realise that you could let players run the turn for as long as they want, with the ability to set up emergency pauses when certain things happen.
      Then you have a (good) pause based system.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Josh W: But your example is flawed because you can have a turn-based system where characters on the same team don’t necessarily get their turns one after the other.

  6. Wizardry says:

    This will already be familiar from other games, e.g. tactical RPGs such as [...] Dragon Age: Origins.

    This confirms how clueless the developers are.

    • Carra says:

      Reading it made me think of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Replic: pause, give in some orders and see how it goes. So they’re not far off.

    • Starky says:

      Dragon age (1) was a tactical RPG – it wasn’t a very good tactical RPG (it was a great world and system but the combat was lacking) – but it was one – at least on the PC with the top down view, and issuing commands while paused.
      Only if played on very hard with the AI turned off though.

      But not that I’d expect you to agree wizard, your opinion of what makes an RPG, tactical or otherwise, is stuck so far in the past most people who read this blog were probably not even born.

    • Wizardry says:

      It’s not a tactical RPG if all you do in a combat encounter is repeat the exact same steps you did in the previous one.

    • Starky says:

      Again, it isn’t a very good one (though there are a few difficulty mods, and rebalance mods which make it really rather good tactically), but it is still a tactical RPG – or at least an attempt at one.

    • Bhazor says:

      @ Wizardy

      How is that any different to the turnbased RPGs of yore.

      “Warrior attacks goblin for 6 points
      Warrior attacks goblin for 6 points
      Warrior misses
      Warrior attacks goblin for 6 points”

      In that respect Dragon Age had far more going on. Choosing stances, timing combat abilities, combining combat abilities, a much higher focus on AOE spells etc. You seem to have a very rose coloured view of the old turnbased RPGs and are holding modern “Real time with a pause” to these imaginary standards.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Bhazor: What? It is no different from a lot of old turn-based RPGs. I never said otherwise. Turn-based does not equal tactical.

      Also, your example stinks because it implies you are only controlling one character.

  7. Gregg B says:

    So a bit like Frozen Synapse then? That sounds pretty good to me. Not sure how synchronising complex maneuvers will pan out without some sort of simulation/test run of your orders but it seems a lot more interesting than going all out real-time and twitchy.

    • PodX140 says:

      I don’t think this will be anything like frozen synapse, I think they mean just real-time with pausing. The thing that made frozen synapse was that it was turn based and that you could simulate turns. The odds of that happening in this game are frankly 0.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      I think the definition of turn-based is you take turns. Therefore Frozen Synapse is (even in singleplayer you take 5 second turns), and this isn’t

    • Horza says:

      Just posting to say that every tactics game should’ve copied the WEGO system from Combat Mission.

      Instead of no-one except Frozen Synapse.

    • Wizardry says:

      Frozen Synapse is phase-based and not turn-based.

    • mike2R says:

      Horza, with you on that! WEGO is just one of those things that work really well.

      That said, the system sounds basically like that in the UFO After* series; as used in XCOM – Apocalypse, so it isn’t like it is some dreadful invention of the console kids. As long as the system is well designed, and : “If you now want to stop Igor opening fire immediately, thereby raising the alarm among all the enemies before Shadow can get half-way to his target, you can simply link the two attack commands. ” hints that it might be, I don’t see a problem.

      There isn’t anything holy about giving orders to every character every turn – a system that lets you give orders which last across multiple turns, while alerting you at any point that those orders may need adjustment, is easier to use certainly. That doesn’t have to mean it is inferior.

    • tnankie says:

      Damnit! I’m supposed to be working! just wanted to +1 the WEGO. I prefer it in the laser squad nemesis/frozen synapse format with the simulation of your side of the turn, but the combat mission type is also good.

      Also if it turns out to be like the afterlight/math/shock then that is not such a bad thing either (I am talking about the systems here not the actual game play).

      In short I don’t think this news is the death of the game.

      However I’ve been fairly burned by games recently so I don’t have a whole lot of hope.

      Rage, Heroes of M&M VI, Stronghold 3, Sots II, elemental WOM…

    • Josh W says:

      Yes! Always played x-com apocolypse that way, found it much more satisfying, and it felt better to be able to do something when one of those beasts came round the corner, even if it wasn’t very much.

    • Reefpirate says:

      I’m not familiar with this WEGO… But I always get aggravated when people talk about Frozen Synapse like they’re the first ones to do the simultaneous turns things. The first time I saw it was in Laser Squad Nemesis… I don’t mean to anger anybody, but I do believe LSN was a seriously seriously overlooked squad-tactics game that died a slow slow death…

    • Wizardry says:

      First time I saw “WEGO” (I call if phase-based) was in Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord from 1981.

    • Gregg B says:

      No, I’m aware that they said it won’t be turn-based, I just mean with regards to planning every moment out when it’s paused.

    • Brahms says:

      I liked Frynapse, but I’ve never played any other games like it. Would I enjoy Jagged Alliance 1/2?

  8. MythArcana says:

    Toss it on the pile of watered-down console ports – we’ve seen it all before.

    • lurkalisk says:

      That might make sense if this were a port, or on any consoles in the first place.

  9. caddyB says:

    Is it a fps though?

  10. skyturnedred says:

    I hope you can issue more complex commands than the most basic move/wait & shoot. Something similar to old Rainbow Six games’ planning phase could be quite nice in a real-time-with-pause game if done properly. We’ll just have to wait and see how it actually plays.

  11. something says:

    These game reboots are purely about giving the press a reason to talk about your game. This game would not be getting any coverage but for the words Jagged Alliance in the title. So you’ve really only got yourselves to blame.

  12. BrendanJB says:

    So it’s not so much a turn-based game as it is a game with a pause button.

    Good stuff.

    • DK says:

      If it’s like UFO Aftermath they’ve already nailed it. That implementation of real-time turn-based is the best on the market, and pretty much any game that does turn-based but who’s publishers say that doesn’t sell should go with it.

      Because it’s Turn Based that’s disguised as real time instead of the other way round.

  13. Fumarole says:

    Boo hiss.

  14. the_r says:

    Man. ANOTHER classic tactical RPG ruined. Are tactical turn-based RPGs really dead?
    At least it isn’t an FPS…

    • Wizardry says:

      They largely died out after 1993.

    • the_r says:

      It makes me very sad. Luckily there are some for handhelds, but it’s not the same. Shame. Damn shame.

    • Wizardry says:

      Yeah. Sir-Tech was the last of the big names to make turn-based RPGs here in the west. The likes of New World Computing, Origin Systems, Black Isle and Interplay had moved on by the time Jagged Alliance 2 and Wizardry 8 came out, while SSI were all but dead. In fact, staying turn-based was probably what killed Sir-Tech in the end. A shame really.

    • FCA says:

      Troika did some turn based, but they also weren’t successful. Face it, turn-based kills companies, no wonder they’re staying away from it.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Troika went under because of the turn-based games, not because they developed an FPS using an unfinished engine, or because their games were buggy or whatever else. Turn-based games it is. Yeah, face it.

    • Vinraith says:

      Turn based tactical RPG’s have almost completely retreated to consoles, unfortunately, and it’s a damned shame. You still see plenty of turn based wargames on PC, of course, and some turn based grand strategy, but the small scale stuff is few and far between.

    • iucounu says:

      Valkyria Chronicles on the PS3 was great. If they remade JA2 in something like the VC engine, it would be awesome.

    • Nick says:

      “Face it, turn-based kills companies”

      That wasn’t what killed Troika at all.

      Also pretty sure Civ and Advance Wars, not to mention the countless other turn based series on consoles sell/sold rather well in recent times.

  15. Lars Westergren says:

    > turn-curious but with a strong tendency toward real-time

    So, a four on the Kinsey scale?

  16. Xercies says:

    Actually, and this might be controversial among you RPSers, i think pause based/what this game is going through is the superior method of control and I hope turn based games die in a fire. Basically turn based is good at the start and at the end of the game, in the middle your just spent playing some long assed game of ending turns because you can’t really do anything at the moment. Plus i think I’ll be a lot more tactical seeing the battlefield move a little bit and then doing my orders. Basically we have the technology to get rid of turn based and we should and resserect the new game genre I like to call Pause Based.

    • PodX140 says:

      Frozen synapse was garbage? News to me.

      Also: May I just add. Pause based is superior? Let me know how dragon age played out, I couldn’t get past the first mission with that god awful system, I’ll stick with my NWN thank you (Same system, yes, but implemented completely differently.)

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      #1 troll post. Always comes up when talking about turn-based games. Always.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      Real time and pause is okay for games that give you control of only one character and have semi decent AI for any npcs but it’s absolutely useless for squad based games. If you are lucky a RT&P game will have the option to turn off squad AI in which case you have to micromanage everything which leads to start stopping the game far more times than pure turn based. Or if you are unlucky and can’t turn off the AI then you spend more time trying to keep your characters from committing suicide or dealing with the consequences of their dumb actions.

      You might prefer real time and pause but no matter how advanced computers get Turn based will always be superior, if you’ve got 20 characters on screen moving at the same time the computer has to divide it’s resources between each of them, if you’ve only got one character the computer can concentrate all it’s power on that character.

      Just compare JA2 to most recent squad games, in JA2 you could control up to eighteen squad members, most modern games like Dragon Age you’d be lucky to control four.

    • Gooring says:

      Sure you could only control 6 mercs in 7.62 High Calibre, but the “smart pause system ” used in the game made it really easy to control all of those guys and I don’t think it’d be much harder to control 18 of them. That game has other problems though (like crashing constantly), but those still don’t take away from that the tactical combat is absolutely brilliant even if it’s not turn based.

    • Eolirin says:

      @Strontium Mike, Processing power on any modern computer is not an issue even for several hundred AI characters. Enemy and Squad AI are limited by how much time the developers spend making sure the AI doesn’t suck rather than any sort of hardware limit. What’s being modeled is not particularly complex; any moderately complex physics based particle system will use a TON more computational resources than what’d be necessary for rather massive scale AI controlled combat behaviors.

      And the issue isn’t whether it’s turn based or real time + pause, but whether the turns are synchronous or asynchronous. Real time + pause is functionally identical to a synchronous turn based system, that has a short turn length (longer turn lengths look like Frozen Synapse, and that’s a legitimately different beast, but it’s for a different reason than the difference between synchronous and asynchronous in a game like JA), except you have flexibility on when you pause. That is, the synchronous turn based system is a less flexible more cumbersome way of implementing EXACTLY the same mechanic, especially if you *have* to pause to issue commands. And asynchronous turn based games generate rather abuse-able tactical loopholes. You can work around those issues to varying degrees of success, but going synchronous leads to a broader range of tactical options with fewer unintended side effects. Real time + pause gives you just about *every* benefit of a turn based system while removing most of the draw backs inherent in those systems.

  17. wodin says:

    Wego was the way to go.

    Realtime as I said means a game is faster with less brain behind it.
    As you can’t really plan or your fighting the camera controls etc etc. Dear god.

    The only way it could be saved if is you have plenty of options when you want the game to auto pause. That would be a saving grace. Not perfect but better.

  18. Craig Stern says:

    I find this irritating. On the other hand, I can’t complain too much: this sort of prevalent, ignorant attitude toward turn-based tactics is what affords me my niche as a small developer.

    • PedroBraz says:

      I find this whole “turn based lolz dost sell rolf” attitude pretty hilarious. Pretty much why Paradox have the entire market share in turn-based games for THEMSELVES. Oh yeah except for that other game that supposedly dosnt sell anything. What was its name, Civilization?

    • wodin says:

      ^Your forgetting Slitherine, Matrix games,Shrapnel and of course HPS. Infact Paraodx flagship engine which they like to issue as a new game once or twice a year but really it’s pretty much EU in a different era is realtime. Which is really odd at the scale those games cover.

      So no Paradox has hardly any turn based games and doesn’t hold the market for them either.

  19. jeep says:

    You know who else had a plan-and-go system? Fallout Tactics. That is not the kind of game you want yours to emulate.

    • TheGameSquid says:

      Fallout Tactics was ALSO turn-based. And it was actually a LOT better than people give it credit for. Most of those who complain about it didn’t open the settings. Which, I’m sorry to say, is what you sort of sound like, no offense.

  20. Kaira- says:

    What a shame.

  21. buzzmong says:

    If it plays a bit like KotoR did with its real-time-but-can-pause gameplay, it might turn out alright.

    Sure it’s not turn based like a JA game should be but it could still be a very good isometric tactical game.

    I’d rather welcome some more games in that vein, than the FPS fest we’re currently experiencing.

  22. jonfitt says:

    You’re all missing the real problem with this news!
    There is a shooter-man in it who (presumably un-ironically) calls himself “Shadow”.
    .
    What the hell people? I thought we had moved beyond such cringe inducing camp.
    .
    Or perhaps his back story is that he was laughed out of the proper army and now has to make his way as a soldier of fortune?

    • TheGameSquid says:

      You do realize Shadow was an awesome character from the original JA2, right?

    • Strontium Mike says:

      JA2 was always about camp, it’s setting/plot is pretty much just a generic 80′s action movie. That’s why it seems so silly they would remake it and ditch the one thing it’s praised for.

    • TheGameSquid says:

      I never saw the Camp in JA2 as a negative. I think Sir-Tech were pretty much the only ones that did it well (for me at least). I suppose no one else thought the voice-acting in JA2 and Wizardry 8 was phenomenal?

    • cjlr says:

      Well of COURSE the voice acting in those was phenomenal. My uncle was in both.

    • Wizardry says:

      @cjlr: What voice did he do in Wizardry 8?

    • cjlr says:

      @Wizardry: Alas, I’ve long since forgotten…
      A quick run through of the PC voices (on youtube) suggests he was the 1st Chaotic voice. I’d have to play through again to get a better idea.

      I was going to extract and root through game files but that’s far too much work.

    • Wizardry says:

      @cjlr: Thanks! I tend to use chaotic voice 2 instead, though. No offence!

  23. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    Here’s a newer preview video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZkkIW9rKrM

    It’s German, again. Of course.

    The journalist is asking the developer why they made the switch from turn-based. The answer can be best summarized with “herp derp”, in case you were wondering.

    Also the release date was pushed back to Q1 2012.

  24. Srethron says:

    Well, I just went from interested to not. The burden of proof is now on Back in Action as to why I should care about their game. If they are not selling Jagged Alliance, what are they selling?

  25. zacharai says:

    I must be the only old-school Jagged Alliance fan that isn’t bothered by this.

    I was also the only Fallout 1 & 2 fan that was looking forward to, and enjoyed, Fallout 3. I guess I’m just wired differently.

    • Starky says:

      I’m not bothered either – games, and games mechanics move on – no need to be stuck in the past replaying the same game over and over – JA2 1.13 covers that urge.

      I am looking forward to the remake of X-com (not the fps) if only for the better visuals, JA2 still looks pretty good.

      Besides I happen to think that tactical pausing is the superior system for single player games (so long as you can issue and cue commands while paused) – turn based can be great, but reached it’s peak mechanically years ago.

      Hell I’d be much more interested in a dynamic time system “turn” system – say where time slows right down (but does not stop) you issue commands, then time returns to normal briefly, then slows for your opponent (if multiplayer – maybe even singleplayer to allow the AI time to compute) – returns to normal briefly, then slows for you again.

      So you take turns issuing commands but the game is never actually paused.

      It would give a game a kind of speed chess flavour – turn based issuing of commands, but with added time pressure.

    • wodin says:

      ^^no thanks. I don’t want to be “under pressure” when laying tactical game slike this. I want to be able to think and tka emy time without the need to rush.

      Not sure why everything needs to be quick these days. I think the world population is suffering ADHD.

  26. feda6 says:

    Too bad, I won’t be purchasing this game then. I’ll try the free full version demo just to see what it’s like, but I probably won’t like it.

  27. kert says:

    X-COM: Apocalypse was “pause-based”. It wasn’t “Terror from the Deep” but it was half-decent.

    I’ll buy it if there is an authentic Chuck Norris cameo somewhere, and Ivan will still work for me, prokliatyj kapitalist !

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      The Full Spectrum Warrior games are rather good examples of enjoyable “pause-based” games too

    • Srethron says:

      Apocalypse had a turn-based mode. You could toggle between them at will. But the real-time + pause mode in that game was decent fun.

    • sinister agent says:

      Agreed. I played Apoc exclusively in real-time with pause. It was handled well, very frantic if you let it roll, but there was nothing stopping you from carefully measuring every step and shot. It was certainly preferable to losing soldiers because you were tired of trudging incrementally around a level for an hour looking for the last alien.

  28. Gaytard Fondue says:

    The enemy not being able to shoot because it’s your turn is a lot less realistic and extremely prone to exploitation.

    • Wizardry says:

      Realistic in terms of the animation maybe. It’s just as unrealistic as turn-based when you look at an entire combat encounter/battle as a whole.

    • Lykurgos says:

      So, over-watch mode then?

  29. TheGameSquid says:

    While I’m irritated by the decline of Turn-based games, I can’t say I’m disappointed by this. Why?

    1. Well, JA2 was awesome. It’s still awesome. It pretty much holds up like no other game from that year. There is simply no way in hell that these developers would be able to create a better turn-based game than Sir-Tech did. I’m willing to bet a LOT of money on that.

    2. Since it holds up to well, I see absolutely no reason to remake it. Better graphics? I love the graphics! New content? It’s going to deteriorate the game. Finetune mechanics? What’s there to fine-tune that the modders didn’t already do? A remake would be pointless.

    Keeping that in mind, it’s probably better to try making “another take” instead of a “remake”, in my opinion.

    I’m not denying that it’s probably going to suck, but so what? We’ll still have JA2.

    • Khemm says:

      People are mad because if that company creates JA3, it won’t be TB for sure.

  30. SmartestDerp says:

    Brigade E5 had smart-pause and it was pretty good tactical game. I hope they doing something similar here.

  31. sinister agent says:

    Doesn’t bother me. Real time with pause can work perfectly well, and be functionally no different. The synchronising feature is a good idea, I’d like to see how well it works.

  32. Dreamhacker says:

    What a shame.

  33. Beelzebud says:

    First they came for Fallout, but I said nothing because I did not play Fallout.

  34. Gus_Tarball says:

    Call me if you need me, Woody. Anyone seen that crazy lady Meltdown recently? She’s a hoot!

  35. Khemm says:

    I so would have bought this if it was turn based. Non-TB Jagged Alliance = kiss me where the sun doesn’t shine, no sale.

  36. Tuco says:

    @Tuein Turambar: No, they really, really didn’t.

  37. JackShandy says:

    I would be totally into simultaneous turns, Frozen Synapse style. This, I’m not sure about.

    • sneetch says:

      Surely you can replicate that control mechanism? By pausing issuing commands, unpause it let the clock run for a few seconds then pause it, issue new commands and so on and so forth.

  38. onodera says:

    I see no problems with SPM. Turn-based games, even with overwatch, degenerate into people walking round the corner, shooting someone and walking back out of sight. WEGO is for people who can predict enemy movement well and are therefore good at chess. I’m not, and Frozen Synapse is not a game I can enjoy (games degenerate into me screaming at my soldiers when they do something stupid, i.e. follow my orders). Brigade E5 had a brilliant combat system. Everything else was terrible: the engine, the plot, everything, but robbing the bank with a Stechkin in the demo was one of the most enjoyable combat encounters I’ve ever had.

  39. Fadobo says:

    Just for the record: The browser-based Jagged Alliance Online will still be turn-based.

  40. harmlos says:

    Have none of you (except SmartestDerp) played Brigade E5 ? That also runs in “pausable realtime” – and has the best tactical combat of any squad based game ever made (it’s a shame the game has so many other problems that where never fixed). It is also the only squad based tactical game I have ever played where it actually makes sense to carry a pistol as a backup weapon even after you have a decent assault rifle as a primary – because you can turn, aim and shoot faster with the pistol, which is invaluable when you’re clearing a building.

  41. AdrianWerner says:

    Devs made me a presentation at gamescom. The system is actually quite nifty, it’s well thought-out and very intuitive, while also maitaiing ton of depth.
    The problem is: it’s completely useless. You can pause whenever you want, which means there’s zero reason to create elaborate plans. If they would set it up like in Frozen Synapse (pause, plan and then for few seconds you have no control) it would be great, but as it is all the potential this system has is completely useless.

  42. wodin says:

    yeah I played Brigade E5. I quite liked that system. It was a great system that was turnbasedyrealtimey.

    Not sure if this is using that mechanic though. I think this is bog standard RTS and pause when you want. E5 was nothing like that.

    • harmlos says:

      After watching the video Malawi Frontier Guard linked to (I skipped the interview part and just looked at the gameplay at the end), I’m cautiously optimistic – while it doesn’t seem to have quite the same depth as Brigade E5, it doesn’t seem to be bog standard RTS with pause either. This is probably not going to be the best squad-based tactical game ever, but it might actually be halfway decent.

  43. drewski says:

    Oh well.

    It’s not a Jagged Alliance game, but hopefully it’ll still be good.

  44. Eolirin says:

    I find posts and comment threads like these more than a little frustrating.

    Low level game mechanics do not matter. High level gameplay dynamics matter. Low level game mechanics are ways to implement the deired high level dynamics; that is the *only* purpose they serve, they are tools and implementation details and that’s it. So when discussing changes to mechanics you have to ask yourself: does the mechanical change in any way negatively impact what the game was actually about? Because Jagged Alliance was *never* about being a turn based game. No game defines itself in that way, at least no properly designed game does; ‘turn based’ *is not gameplay* it is a tool used to *create* gameplay, and only one of many. As a tool, it is very useful at creating a specific type of gameplay, but like everything else, it does so with drawbacks.

    In JA’s case, the core gameplay is built around the tactical depth, not the specific method in which that tactical depth was achieved. But if tactical depth is what’s trying to be achieved, then asynchronous turns *cause problems*. There are degenerate strategies that manipulate the round robin nature of an asynchronous turn system; they’re very powerful and somewhat hard to work around, so you end up with a *less tactical game* if you go that way. While there are various different ways to try to resolve that particular issue, but just about everything other than synchronous turns is a bit of a kludge; you end up with other issues from pretty much every solution I’ve seen attempted.

    So there’s a strong reason to go for synchronous turns. But once you do that, unless you set the turn length really long and that has it’s own issues, you’re *already at a real time with pausing system*; the game just decides when to pause for you and forces you to break up your actions into very small chunks instead of focusing on the bigger picture while still being able to adjust. Short duration synchronous turns are mechanically equivalent to real time plus pausing, except that it’s less flexible and more cumbersome. So doing *exactly* what they did makes an incredible amount of sense given the design goals for a Jagged Alliance game. Not making mechanical changes that *better serve the high level design goals* makes no sense. Games need to evolve and change and adapt over time; the whole point of design as a discipline is to find better solutions to the difficult problem of implementing high level design goals and if you’re not doing that you’ve stagnated and may as well be doing nothing. (You can also view design as a quest to find better high level design goals too, but that means you’re not making more JA games in the first place)

  45. TheGreatSashimi says:

    While the more militant bits of my sense of nostalgia always get a nasty twinge when a reboot/remake of my favorite franchises dares to deviate from the original mechanics, I think experimenting with different-but-stylistically-similar mechanics is preferable to just putting out another JA2 but with fancy 3D.

    I think JA2 with the 1.13 patch/mod has about as perfect turn-based strategy combat as is possible and since I have it permanently installed on my PC, I really don’t think buying another, prettier one will do anything for my gaming-experience that JA2 can’t.

    I don’t think we’re truly standing by our desire to see games evolve and avoid stagnation if we rightly condemn game studios for releasing sequels to modern games that are identical save for shinier graphics, then grumble when a reboot of an old franchise we’re personally connected to is revealed to be anything but.

    If the game is good (I’m kinda hoping this plays like for a squaddier, shootier Commandos) then the brand will have moved in a new and interesting direction (not necessarily better o’course, but I think good-and-different is as solid a direction as better-and-the-same). If it sucks, we’ll always have JA2, and so will GOG.