Jagged Alliance BIA Finally Gets Trailer

By John Walker on December 8th, 2011 at 4:41 pm.

Is this the Sims?

Now I’m in charge things are going to change around here. On this planet. The first thing is: ALL sequels must have the subtitle, “Back In Action”. I don’t care if it’s your fifth game/film in a row with the same subtitle, that’s how it is, and you’ve no choice. So it is that Kalypso have named the return of the RTS series, Jagged Alliance: Back In Action. They have complied. All will. And they’ve finally stopped piddling around with teasers and put out a proper trailer for the game.

Apparently people who care about RTS games care that this third in the series will not be turn-based. NOT TURN-BASED?! OH NO! I’m so upset I’ve killed all my children! Is that right? I don’t know. You strategy people are your ways – look at the lot of you.

Don’t forget you can now look forward to GTA V: Back In Action, Thief 4: Back In Action, and M.I.A: Missing In Action: Back In Action.

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88 Comments »

  1. fiddlesticks says:

    Looney Tunes: Back in Action!

  2. Tuco says:

    Still not turn based, still disappointing.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Your real-time life must be depressing. Also, that’s not Tuco on your avatar picture. Ominous.

    • Nick says:

      games and life.. not the same thing.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      There is hardly any difference these days though.

    • Blackcompany says:

      So Nick, you haven’t played Skyrim then?
      .
      Just kidding. But sometimes it seems the lines do get blurry.

    • Tuco says:

      @Squirrelfanatic: My real life hasn’t a past of turn-based excellency.

      Also, I’m well aware about who’s in my avatar and who inspired my nickname instead, but thanks for the pointless head up, anway.

    • negativedge says:

      did you really just try to say that Skyrim is “like real life?”

    • theleif says:

      Well, to be fair, many people spend most of their life waiting for their turn.
      Live can be extremely unoptimized in some systems, and the economic system is basically broken.
      Don’t forget the gender based perks, they are very unbalanced.

    • UmmonTL says:

      @Tuco: First imagine it as a turn-based game, pretty much a clone of JA2 with better graphics. Then think about how you would improve the game to make it a true sequel.
      The first thing that comes to mind is better AI which we can’t really see in that Trailer.
      Next is getting rid of the grid movement since the 3D environments of today make free movement very simple. They’ve done that as you can see but it will have little effect on the core gameplay.
      So what about having all characters move simultaneously, it gives the game more realism and forces the player to use more advanced tactics. But now there are new problems, for example after one guy gets shot the others happily follow him into the line of fire.
      Now you can either program in logical reactions to every possible situation that might occur during a turn or see the player get frustrated because his mercenaries are completely braindead. Or you could give the player the option to interrupt the turn, maybe even auto-interrupt it in case a shot is fired. But then why would you still need to auto-pause every few seconds, why not get rid of the turns altogether?

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      @Tuco: Looking back, sometimes I certainly think mine does. Concerning the name: Admit it, you just can’t face the fact that I got you. Take it easy, bra.

    • Tuco says:

      @Squirrelfanatic: I’m italian, not knowing who’s who in a Sergio Leone’s movie would be like not knowing who’s John Wayne for an american citizen.
      Beside, Eli Wallach is my favorite actor in the movie.

      Also, I’m not using the Clint Eatwood/Blondie avatar everywhere: http://forum.everyeye.it/invision/index.php?/topic/518644-batman-arkham-city/page__view__findpost__p__4611686018438805796
      (despise using it a lot).

    • Tuco says:

      @UmmonTL: I really can’t find any use for your tired attempt to razionalize it.
      I don’t care how hard do you try to explan it, I’m not against real time itself and I enjoyed a lot of action games and RTS.
      That doesn’t change the fact that I can’t stand to see the very pinnacle of turn based strategy games shifting in real time (and losing everything makes it unique in the process) just cause those clueless morons think that this could make the game more “modern, young and cool”.

      And I couldn’t care less of John Walker’s attempts to mock his very readers implying they are just crybabies, neither.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      My favourite actor in ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’ was Lee van Cleef, but Tuco was my favourite character. :)

    • Nick says:

      Uh, JA2 didn’t have grid movement. Also the 3D environments of today make free movement easy? Cause it was so hard for non grid based movement before the wonders of modern gaming? I mean its not like some of the first games ever were real time or anything.

      But I’ve had this discussion before and its tiresome, to sum up: Turn based isn’t less realistic, old fashioned, outdated or a hangover from when computers were shit. Its a mechanical/gameplay style choice, just like making your game a platformer or an FPS. Get over it.

    • UmmonTL says:

      @Nick: JA2 DOES have grid movement, I just recently re-installed it with the 1.13 fanmade patch. Its environment is an isometric layered grid and your movement is limited to that grid. You are not able to move to a point that is halfway through an open door.
      Though I must concede your point about free movement, a gridbased environment naturally supports gridbased movement but of course free movement was possible and common back then.

      As for the turn-based games and realism, don’t get me wrong I love turn based games. The point I was trying to make is that I see the pause-and-plan style of gaming as the natural evolution of those and I would not call it real-time. Commandos was real-time, and it was only playable because you had a small team and all you did was stealthkill. Trigger a general alarm and you usually had no chance, the game was okay but not my cup of tea.
      With pause-and-plan you still have full control over where your people go and when they do it even if you control 10 or 20 people at once. As long as you can plan your movement as well as you could in JA2 the real difference is not turn-based vs. pause-and-plan, it’s the simultaneous movement. It’s the fact that you can’t wait to see if one of your guys manages to finish of the three enemies before you decide if you want the others to shoot too or move them. You can’t wait with moving a guy to flank the enemy in case you need him to run back and give first aid to someone.
      And in that regard, yes, simultaneous movement is more realistic than having people move one after the other. Whether it makes the game better remains to be seen but since you basically do a little time-travel every time you move one guy before the other it is inherently unrealistic. I’m fully prepared for the game to suck big time but I say give them a chance to have the game evolve.

    • lurkalisk says:

      @Tuco

      I can’t say with any certainty, but it sure seems to me most Americans are MUCH more likely to know something about Sergio Leone’s films than anything about John Wayne (unless you’re asking some rather old people). As far as today’s Americans are concerned, it seems Clint is the western star of choice, by far.

    • Nick says:

      You are correct ad I apologize , it does have a grid, I cant even begin to imagine what I was thinking of when I typed that, I can only blame the horrific flu. Probably something like ToEE or Fallout.

      I would say that if there was any evolution of turn based it would be something like Frozen Synapse, but I’d also argue that it doesn’t need to evolve or it changes the way it plays. Stuff like reaction fire and overwatch/interrupts could be improved, there are lots of tabletop/P&P RPG based systems that flow well and are tactically rich that could be robbed for ideas.

      And no, its not more realistic, its just as unrealistic but in different ways.

      Quite apart from all that, this game looks fucking awful.

  3. coldvvvave says:

    Jagged Alliance 2 storyline now kinda rubs me the wrong way after the whole Arab Spring and stuff.

    • sinister agent says:

      reply fail, sorry!

    • Ruminator says:

      I’m scratching my head here. What is the link between JA2′s plot and the Arab Spring? The only moral conundrum I had while playing JA2 was the swaths of dead soldiers I left in my tracks on my way to remove a horrid despot.

  4. S Jay says:

    It is “back in ACTION”, not “back to RTS”…

  5. Zoonp says:

    Those character heads look ugly as hell.

  6. djim says:

    Kalypso is a good company. I also think not being turn based is disappointing and i am somewhat encouraged as the gameplay footage shown seems to have potential.

  7. oldkc says:

    Soooo….. essentially they are making a new Commandos: Behind enemy lines? That’s essentially what it is if it’s not turn based. Also- i loved the level editor on the first one.

    Make a level editor….. and tell them Magic sent you.

  8. vitalyb says:

    This animation made me laugh:

  9. Squirrelfanatic says:

    I might be wrong on this, but isn’t this game going to feature a ‘pause at will – give orders – unpause’ mode, like Baldur’s Gate did?

    • sneetch says:

      It’s apparently “innovative” somehow but that’s pretty much the way it works.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      I think I remember Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel doing the same thing?

    • oldkc says:

      Fallout tactics had a real-time option,and a turn based option. For all the disappointment of not being a true Fallout game etc etc, at least they had the initiative to include both.

    • Aedrill says:

      It’s Baldur’s Gate + Frozen Synapse, which is great. I really don’t understand where is all this moaning coming from. It’s turn based but with active pause which means you have a choice. Which is better than not having choice, isn’t it?

    • Jason Moyer says:

      If it works like the Infinity Engine or Freedom Force I’m sold. I’ve gradually discovered I prefer the real-time with pause approach if it’s handled well.

    • Jad says:

      However, I preferred the strict turn-based combat of Jagged Alliance more than the pause-and-play of Baldur’s Gate and Freedom Force.

      Which is fine, we’re allowed to have different preferences. But here’s the thing: we’re talking about a sequel to Jagged Alliance, not Freedom Force. If a sequel for Freedom Force was planned, but switched to strict turn-based combat I would very much understand why you would not be happy with that choice, and I would argue against them changing the gameplay that radically even though I might personally prefer that gameplay style.

    • Bret says:

      Having played it recently, I really like the Fallout Tactics system. Lot of other problems with the game, but that bit is clever.

      At any point you can tap enter to switch between continuous turn based and regular turn based. No pause to issue commands.

      Real time, you can set stances and aggression thresholds, but attacking takes action points. Agility determines the regeneration rate and number of AP, moving doesn’t cost AP.

      Turn based is, well, Fallout turn based. Switching leaves AP where they were when you switched, overwatch is available.

      Fairly nice.

  10. Vexing Vision says:

    It’s not the graphics.

    It’s not even the semi-RTS (a la Baldur’s Gate or Neverwinter Nights).

    It’s the gameplay. It’s the AI. It’s… oh well. Play it for yourself. Good luck.

    I’ll be over here, weeping.

  11. sinister agent says:

    Why does Enrico look like the creepy nazi guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark?

    Fast cuts really don’t work well for strategy game trailers. Games in general suffer from them (and I’d personally argue that abuse of fast cuts has rendered 90% of film trailers shite as well), but a game like this really doesn’t benefit from that style of presentation.

    Still, I’m somewhat confident this will be a fun time when it comes out.

  12. lamurt says:

    /me is off to puke…

  13. Duckee says:

    This looks like a trailer for a Men of War game… Well, apart from all the strategic planning elements I suppose..

  14. JackDandy says:

    I’ll be coming to this with a blank slate, since I didn’t play the previous games.

    Cautiously optimistic, I guess?

  15. dingbat91 says:

    hmmm? why did the blow up the tank? aren’t nearly all the vehicles in JA static (or at least they were in tactical) is this being fixed for JA2…cause I’d easily reclaim the country with a TANK!

  16. TheGameSquid says:

    “…the return of the RTS series…”

    The fuck…?

  17. UmmonTL says:

    The difference to Commandos is that you didn’t have the option to plan movement in advance while paused (unless they changed that in later installments). You had to control all your guys in real time which got in the way of any really complex strategic plans.

  18. Blackseraph says:

    You should try fps game where you are not allowed to shoot people. Would be almost same as jagged alliance without turns.

    I would prolly like that game though, not sure many else would.

    Well I’ll still give this game a change.

  19. aircool says:

    Is there a UFO mod?

  20. Gira says:

    Why is Walker referring to the JA series as “RTS”? Quite apart from the fact that they’re obviously turn-based, they’re not even really strategy games, unless you focus all your genre bias on the meta-strategic element. They’re RPGs.

    Has he seriously not played one of the most revered and unashamedly PC-gaming franchises ever? Perhaps he should tear himself away from his LARP simulators and linear-narratives-with-puzzle-sections and give them a whirl before mocking his readers again. For historical purposes if nothing else.

    For the record, to put it in terms Walkerites will understand, making Jagged Alliance real-time – well, RtwP, which is not the same as turn-based no matter how you slice it – is akin to, I don’t know, making you play a single predefined character in an Elder Scrolls game, and changing the openworld template to a series of nonlinear hubs à la the Infinity Engine games. To an outsider it looks like much ado about nothing – it’s still a fantasy RPG with dragons and killing and swords and spells! – but these details change the nature of the game dramatically.

    It’s really not a trivial concern, especially when it’s about a series so respected and widely-appreciated as JA. Not sure why it’s being treated as such.

    • Toberoth says:

      Not sure what a LARP simulator is, but it sounds pretty wonderful. As for JA – be thankful it’s not an FPS.

      Also, your Elder Scrolls comparison is way off the mark. A better one would be: it’s like making an Elder Scrolls game where the game automatically pauses every minute or so while you give out orders, which you then watch being carried out without being able to directly intervene. A no-less fundamental change, sure, but let’s try not to be too reactionary in our comparisons.

    • Gira says:

      LARP simulator – RPG wherein the world doesn’t actually react to minute character peculiarities, and due to its streamlined/”accessible” character system, effectively caters solely to the “meta-character” rather than specific builds, requiring players to essentially “imagine” or “LARP” their characters rather than have their character build choices reflected in the gameplay. For examples, see every Elder Scrolls game after Daggerfall. Thought it was fairly common parlance ’round these parts.

      And no, I don’t think the comparison is off the mark at all. Making JA real-time is absolutely fundamentally irrevocably changing the game itself. It still kind of looks the same – as would an Elder Scrolls game with the changes I mentioned – but it plays completely differently. Your example would certainly make an Elder Scrolls game more annoying, but the underlying game remains unchanged.

      Whereas here, the underlying combat and tactical and meta-strategic systems have to be completely overhauled and redesigned to facilitate real-time gameplay. It’s just a completely different thing. I’m not sure at what point it became en vogue in games commentary to start denigrating turn-based games as being out of touch or just poor man’s versions of real-time games, but doing so is fundamentally missing the point. JA didn’t arrive at a time where real-time was hard to do or technologically infeasible. It was like that for a reason.

      EDIT: On rereading your post I missed the bit in your comparison about being able to “directly intervene”. That certainly would change the way Elder Scrolls games work, I agree, but I still think my comparison remains apt, in that this game and JA2 (quite seriously one of the greatest games ever) are not the same thing. The only thing they share is aesthetics.

    • Toberoth says:

      Hmmm your sweet words have moved me Gira. Plus I went back through RPS to find more coverage of Jagged Alliance 1 and 2 (which I haven’t played since they came out, and therefore have only the foggiest memory of, as I was pretty young at the time), and having seen how fundamental the AP system is in discussions of how the game works, I’m inclined to agree with you. So would you say that what this new game is doing is the equivalent of making XCOM as an FPS, hence your bafflement at why it’s being let off so lightly? Because I can totally get behind that.

      Thanks for defining LARP simulator for me – I hadn’t heard of the concept before, despite spending far too much time on RPS. Could you expand a bit on what you mean by character peculiarities? Are you defining that as something built into the stat sheet, or rather the actions taken by the player?

    • Gira says:

      I give up. Every time I try to comment, it eats my post. Every time I try to edit one of my posts to fit my old post in, it deletes it and says I’m a spammer.

      Maybe if someone replies after me I can repost it.

    • sneetch says:

      Does this post help? Sometimes the posts just show up an hour or two later.

    • Gira says:

      Nope. Ate it again. I’ll try posting half the post, and the rest later.

      It’s pretty much the same principle as turning X-COM into Mass Effect: Black Ops, yeah, although from what I’ve seen RPS seem inclined to dismiss player outrage over that, too, albeit not quite as readily as Walker has here. It’s even more confusing because it’s not like this “sequel” is being made by a big publisher which basically needs to churn out franchise shooters in order to support its enormous marketing outflow.

      I mean, bitComposer isn’t tiny, but one does wonder what the motivation behind doing this actually was – it’s pretty obvious they’re used to catering to niche audiences. I refuse to believe the change was made for artistic reasons or anything particularly high-minded, because anyone who’s played JA2 extensively knows just how important the turn-based system is to that game. It’s especially frustrating because JA2′s combat/tactics/RPG system in particular was so good. Not all turn-based systems are – some of them are downright tedious. But JA2′s was just sublime. The only thing that’s come close is Silent Storm. Why would you want to abandon that? Imagine if they refined that system instead of abandoning it. You’d probably end up with a game that outclassed the originals.

  21. Discopanda says:

    Those character portraits look god-awful, if the only way to tell my mercs apart is by sunglasses or moustaches… ugh, then they’re missing the whole point of why Jagged Alliance is still so well-remembered today. I pray that the voice acting is good!

  22. Hensler says:

    I think I’m one of the few fans of JA2 that is still looking forward to this. As long as I can pause it, and it’s half as good as that game was, I’ll be happy. But I’m also one of the loonies who is still playing Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge.

  23. namad says:

    jagged alliance isn’t an RTS series, jagged alliance back in action doesn’t seem like a jagged alliance game at all.

    then again maybe even if it is rts/pause/n/play there’ll be some sort of option like “pause at the end of every round” or “pause every X seconds” which I believe some prior pause and play games have included which allowed them to feel very turn based….

    *fingers crossed*

  24. Billy_B says:

    Make haste!

  25. TwwIX says:

    This looks like another half assed attempt to revive the series. It’s not even turn based. Do yourself a favor and get the Silent Storm games instead.

  26. Matzerath says:

    This confused and crappy-looking revamp will be as forgotten as this post a week after its release; it’s irrelevant to compare it to anything with any actual longevity.

  27. Eclipse says:

    “So it is that Kalypso have named the return of the RTS series”

    I see what you did…

  28. Davie says:

    Actually, this doesn’t look too bad. Turn-based strategy was never my thing (I know, I know, just execute me now) but this looks like it has a sort of Men of War thing going for it, and Men of War is, of course, lovely. I’m reasonably excited now.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      While I did love TB games in the 90′s to me the most realistic combat simulators are the Close Combat games (which are RT)

      Edit: One thing that always bothered me in games like JA or Fallout is the fact that you can beat 20 enemies with one guy by luring them around a corner, exploiting the TB system.

  29. PoLLeNSKi says:

    I’m so amazed at how many people cling to the turn based aspect of JA like it was THAT which defined it. For me it was the squad management/development and conquering of the map one section at a time that made it amazing. (The RPG-ish elements) – and of course the 80′s action movie shtick.

    I can’t stand RTS since I need time to think and then to actually order my troops about with my 1 apm mouse speed but regular, alternate turns feels so false in comparison to simultaneous turns, which in turn (sorry) felt false again after playing Frozen Synapse.

    Although the strategy is still interesting in JA, especially with the extras in 1.13, there can be an exact version of each mechanic in a P(ausing)RTS like this and without the falseness/time bending that’s inferred by moving one character at a time.

    I think the general naysayers are those who’ve perfected their tactics at killing the enemy one at a time as they stroll into their overwatch for the past 10 years and are now worried as to how bad their tactics will be when a whole pack of troops stampedes towards them at once (like it would be IRL)

    The way I see this is as a single player FS with realism-based, 3D visuals AND the RPG parts from the original games… that spells epic win to me.

    • sinister agent says:

      Weeell, in real life it would be “one or two soldiers blunder into a firing squad. Then everything goes quiet for a minute. Then the mortar shells obliterated the firing squad.”

      But yeah, I agree with you. I love Jagged Alliance 2 and am playing a campaign this week. But the idea that changing it slightly will DESTROY ITS VERY SOUL AUIEEE is the usual tedious chicken little nonsense.

  30. Johnny Go-Time says:

    Sweet jeebus, this looks like the most underrated game of all time, Shadow Company: Left for Dead!!
    I played JA and love turn-based strategy games — but if a game could bring the Shadow Company experience to the masses, then I’m all for it!