Space Hulk Studio To Make Turn-Based Jagged Alliance

By Adam Smith on April 11th, 2013 at 10:02 am.

JAGGED ALLIANCE! JAGGED ALLIANCE! JAGGED ALLIANCE! It’s no good. I just don’t have Alec’s endurance when it comes to repeating words for any length of time. I do have a remarkable degree of stamina when it comes to dancing though and I plan to spend the next five minutes doing the Snoopy dance in celebration of the fact that Full Control, who are currently working on a promising adaptation of Space Hulk, are moving on to a new turn-based Jagged Alliance game once Space Hulk has shipped. Hope springs eternal.

Thomas Hentschel Lund, the studio’s CEO, had this to say:

It is one of the 3 games besides X-Com and Fallout that really defined the entire genre and is part of our DNA…We are honored and excited to have been the confidence given by bitComposer to give the series a fresh new take whilst staying true to the core mechanics.

Perhaps we are related because it’s part of my DNA too. Let’s hope the next family reunion is full of jubilation rather than the usual recriminations and disapproval.

bitComposer, in handing over development responsibilities to Full Control, sent these words to the world’s press:

We have been keeping an eye on Full Control for the last couple of years and have been suitably impressed with their take on turn-based tactical gaming and in particular their awesome work in bringing the classic Space Hulk franchise back to life…We are excited to learn more about their plans for the franchise.

As are we all, I’m sure. It’s definitely going to be fully turn-based and the press release even includes a few words of regret concerning Back in Action:

Jagged Alliance was first released in 1994 and is still counted as one the best turn based strategy games of its time. After the release of Jagged Alliance 2 in 1999 the series slipped back into the cold war and received a reboot in 2010 with Jagged Alliance – Back in Action, which received mixed reactions from the community and press after its departure from turn-based action gameplay.

That’s as strong a statement of regret as a press release ever really contains. ‘Mixed reactions’ can describe even the greatest travesty, as long as the interface designer’s mum liked it. Back in Action wasn’t a travesty, but as an uncomfortable remix of the superb Jagged Alliance 2, it was something of a disappointment.

More on the new game when we know it.

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54 Comments »

  1. Tyrmot says:

    Could this be the best news ever?

    • Squirly says:

      It’s right up there with when I heard there was a TB Xcom going to be released. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this new JA is a result of XCOM EU being a success.

      This is the best news. JA2 is something I always have installed on my machine.

    • Drakale says:

      I want a new JA as much as the next guy, but I see nothing on Full Control portfolio that gives me any faith they can pull it off.

      • Tuco says:

        I’m going to agree with Drakale, so far.
        Even what I’ve seen so far about Space Hulk didn’t exactly make me scream in awe.

        Still, tentatively excited.

      • Arkh says:

        Can’t be worse tha JA:BIA. I mean, realtime could be good but they managed to screw every other aspect of the game.

    • Fatrat says:

      I don’t know about you, but i thought the same when i heard about JA:BIA. I didn’t like it personally, being a 15+ year JA fan. It shouldn’t have ever been branded as Jagged Alliance, considering how different the two games were (the latter point, to which the devs admitted). But most people who were in my shoes were just branded as fanboy trolls.

      I’ll wait and see how the actual games ends up before i get too excited this time around.

    • Banana_Republic says:

      It’s the best news I’ve heard in quite a while. JA:BIA *was* a travesty.

    • Decado says:

      How so? The developer (Full Control) has never made a decent turn-based game during its existence. JA2 is my favourite game of all time, so I’d love a sequel…but JA2 had an amazing developer behind it, and I think bitComposer’s “confidence” really translates into “we found a studio that will do it for cheap”.

      Also, WTF at bitComposer announcing the game before it is even in development :\

    • MeestaNob says:

      Best News Ever: CONFIRMED

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      caff says:

      Please make this game, and do it properly excellent and everything, with bells on.

  2. Spoon Of Doom says:

    “Turn-Based Jagged Alliance”

    I think that just made me pee my pants a bit. Where do I throw my money?

  3. tarasis says:

    Well Space Hulk is looking pretty amazing & faithful adaption, so thumbs up if they bring the same to JA (hopefully including a iPad version)

    • karry says:

      “Space Hulk is looking pretty amazing”

      Is it really ?

      • Nick says:

        Um, yes?

        • karry says:

          Well, okay, i agree that the footage we’ve seen so far looks amazing for an 5-8$ ipad indie game. If they sell it for 5$ on PC – it looks ok for that price.

    • svr says:

      Full Control’s Space Hulk is not faithful at all, they are making huge rule changes, e.g. flamer and movement and who knows what else. These two things alone change the game balance so much that the old missions just don’t work anymore.

      They sure have a lot of work ahead of them to top v1.13.

      • Squirly says:

        I wonder if they’re even going to try and top 1.13. I know it’s a mod but they’ve had a decade and a half to work on it and tweak it and add to it. Hoping for a reboot (which this MIGHT turn out to be) to actually take that into account is hoping for a lot, I think.

        With a bit of luck they’ll make modding easy at which point we can just pick up where JA2 1.13 left off…

      • Nick says:

        I don’t think a 1:1 conversion would be all that great as a PC game personally, but it would be nice if they had a 1:1 option for multiplay at least.

      • mouton says:

        While I love the Immortal Emperor with all my being, I have nothing against some changes as long as they keep with the spirit of the game. They could be actually beneficial, it’s not like the original game was given to us by a divine being or something.

  4. Gwyddelig says:

    Good news indeed. The oft-overlooked turn-based afficianado is being showered with attention like the protagonist of some shlocky teen movie who FINALLY gets to go to the prom and reveal their “inner beauty”….

    I couldn’t give a toss if this is because of mobile gaming. It’s ace.

    • belgand says:

      I’ve rarely heard someone make “inner beauty” sound so thoroughly sexual. Good show!

    • Themadcow says:

      Turn based gaming will probably always be Molly Ringwald in Pretty In Pink in terms of appeal to a specific demographic though. Those James Spader-like COD types want it, but just don’t like to admit it in public.

  5. Jorum says:

    WHOOHOOO I could not be more excited about a game right now (unless someone is about to announce Necromunda on PC in which case I will collapse).

    • JimboDeany says:

      This is the single reason why I don’t dare check RPS on my phone when waiting for the tube…

    • Phendron says:

      That’s a strange way to spell ‘Mordheim’.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Klingsor says:

    Ohh please don’t let them screw it up. I want a real adaption of Jagged Alliance and not that mess of JA: Back in Action.

  7. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    I’m curious about game.

  8. Meat Circus says:

    TURN BASED SEX WEE KLAXON.

  9. Premium User Badge

    maped says:

    “Lovely! Just, freaking lovely!”

    This seems pretty promising, at least they’ve got the basics right. They do, however, have a metric crap-ton of work to to get it anywhere near the amount of intricacy and sheer amount of quality content the Jagged Alliance 2 has with 1.13 mod and all the other user created content the community keeps churning out. I just played through the campaign with all the latest bells and whistles and while it retains the basics and charm of the original game, there is just so much new and improved stuff that it elevates the whole game to a new level.

    But still, I am very happy with the news and wish them the best of luck, and if the end result is anything other than utter garbage, I will buy it. And even if it sucks, I can always play more JA2, so it’s almost a win-win -situation.

  10. Sassenach says:

    What sort of things are we looking for from an update to Jagged Alliance? Naturally improving the graphics is usually a given, but that comes with the drawback of making everything else harder to do; destructible terrain is a frequent casualty, for example, in the war to improve graphics. Similarly adding depth to characters means you can afford to make fewer of them, and losing the breadth of characters available to use/interact with would diminish the charm.

    I think possibly the route to success is to faithfully emulate 2 and focus on improving the same areas that the 1.13 chaps do. Although possibly that would only give you JA2 1.13, which naturally already exists at a more competitive price.

    I think that maximizing resource breadth over depth would also let you build expansive worlds worth exploring. Creating a decent new world, rich with narratives, to explore (violently) with the Jagged Alliance mechanics might also be a good way to go about the project.

    • Prime says:

      destructible terrain is a frequent casualty, for example, in the war to improve graphics.

      This is why i experience the urge to horribly scar people who dismiss any backwards glance at PC games as “nostalgia”. PC gaming is littered with examples where great ideas like destructible terrain haven’t been built upon, or receive only scant attention form one plucky developer a year. This is 2013. We should be overflowing with destructible terrain in games by now but the emphasis is always on working within the limits of what developers’ apparent obsession with hardware-accelerated polygons allows us. That’s why after 20 years we’re not one step closer to the city-shattering combat experience I used to imagine whilst playing Mechwarrior 2 or Terminator: Future Shock but we can now proudly boast largely realistic skin texture and facial animations – whoopee!

      Excuse me while I go cry in a corner somewhere.

      • Azdeus says:

        I feel with you.

        There’s plenty of times when I’ve felt that the worlds themselves are lacking greatly in interactivity and I’m pulled out of my immersion. It’s a typical one step forwards, two step back.
        What is even more annoying is that companies can get away with such innovations as destructible environment, something we’ve had over a decade ago as “innovashun!”.

        I’ve got plenty of fond memories of “creative” thinking from JA2. I sadly leave Arulco as a smoldering ruin when Deidranna finally lies before my feet.

        • Geen says:

          I know that feel.
          Ah, I fondly remember using way too many explosives for way too small situations. I couldn’t help it, I had a surplus of grenades and rockets!

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        Llewyn says:

        working within the limits of what developers’ apparent obsession with hardware-accelerated polygons allows us

        I think rather that it’s the mainstream buyer’s, and hence the marketing department’s, obsession. Let’s be honest, not even necessarily mainstream – I wouldn’t have to look too hard on RPS to find disparaging comments from readers about upcoming games which lack sufficient shinies.

        It’s the sad truth that shiny screenshots sell games better than any deeper and more satisfying qualities.

      • Kamos says:

        I’m yet another person who hopes they’ll take a good long look at 1.13 and then come up with a good plan of how they can make that better.

        Reply fail. Also: If you told my 1998 younger self that interactivity and simulation would take a back seat, He’d have cried a bit.

    • Nick says:

      There are so many great little touches in JA2 that I hope they have similar sortof reactivity. Like using the website to send flowers to the queen for example.

    • Frank says:

      @Sassenach: That’s a very high-level, abstract plan you’re discussing there. I’m going to add some little things that I don’t like about JA2 that would be easy to fix:

      High resolution, allowing me to see more of the map on my screen (not less, which some devs seem to move towards to show off their shiny new avatars and sh**).

      More thoughtful character development! In JA2, you’ve got to learn which abilities go up through the course of play, which can be grinded up and which (almost?) cannot be. Even if they had a Jagged-o-pedia to explain this side of things, I still think it needs a do-over.

      By the way, I’m not a casual gamer (as the second point might suggest), but I’ve never really liked it when TBT games ask me to RTFM and learn little intricacies of their tacked-on RPG mechanics. Keep it simple, stupid. Oh, and I love JA2 notwithstanding these minor criticisms.

      • Sassenach says:

        I never felt that JA2 was particularly unintuitive, but then I started playing it when it impressed me and thus I had a lot of patience for it and could happily blunder my way incompetently through the game, so YMMV. Incidentally that also describes my experience with Crusader Kings 2 (GOTY 2012).

    • Arkh says:

      The Silent Storm series did a lovely job on destructible terrain and decent graphics, I fail to see why it wouldn’t be in the new JA.
      But actually answering your question:

      I would like them to continue on the 3D path rather than the isometric one, but if we fall on isometric again, it’s not a big deal. I would really like to see them basically get the original v1.13, then don’t remove anything, and build upon it. Would be artillery support, vehicles maybe (not just a helicopter and some tanks), bigger map and a decent mod support. Then a new setting (I love Arulco, but come on). Maybe a procedurally generated sandbox map thing to play with – you can’t have a story, but random cities and all would be great and add a lot of replayability.

  11. G says:

    The main thing I look for from an update is an improved UI. I find clunky and unclear interfaces a much bigger barrier to playing old games than the graphics

    • Nick says:

      JA2s interface isn’t particularly clunky really, in fact given the number of options its quite clean imo.

      But then, for an example of what I actually consider clunky see System Shock 1, so YMMV.

  12. Nick says:

    I hope they have the budget for voice actors – they don’t need to be terribly good ones, but they DO need to have character. Other than that, yay more turn based games, an improved cover and bullet penetration system would be tops, as would a less hacked together supression system (this is improvements over 1.13 which is marvellous of course).

    Other than that, a new but familiar sort of setting and story and my wish fullfillment will be completed.

    oh and NECROMUNDA PLS.

  13. Nick says:

    “Back in Action wasn’t a travesty”

    I respectfully disagree.

  14. Cold Steel says:

    Please don’t simplify gameplay mechanics to cater for new markets, thanks.

    • Fatrat says:

      This x Infinity (and beyond).

      This could apply to a hell of a lot of games these days. :(

  15. Michael Fogg says:

    Grooving!