Jagged Alliance: Flashback Now Singing For Its Supper

By Alec Meer on April 23rd, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

As prophesied by the saintly words of the Very Reverend Adam Smith last week, Jagged Alliance is about to make its eighty millionth comeback, this time in the charge of Full Control, they of the new Space Hulk game, and via the medium of Crowdsourcing. I can only advise you to read that interview in the pursuit of fulsome details on the turn-based strategy remakequel, but today the actual Kickstarter goes live. This means more details, and also a video which affords me the opportunity to see the face of a man I have only ever spoken to on the phone before. It’s quite a nice face, really.

They’re after a fairly steep $350,000 for this, and are $6000 in at the time of writing. Their headline claim is that “Jagged Alliance: Flashback is our vision of returning a once critically acclaimed franchise back to its roots, it’s not a reboot, it’s a reset!” Handily, they’ve encapsulated their major planned features into one image, so Imma just gonna do this:

Far more on the KS page, naturally.

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73 Comments »

  1. webwielder says:

    I guess I’m a minority around these parts, but I’d love to see more turn-based tactics games with AAA production values like the recent XCOM reboot. I never play turn-based games, but the cinematic kill-cams and badass soldier chatter of XCOM is a big part of why I got hooked on it. These things help make the game exciting and fun for me, a mouth-breathing simpleton. Yes, ultimately it became about the tactics, but the window dressing drew me into the world, and made me care about what was happening in the game.

    • Continuity says:

      The problem with the high production value reboots is that they have to cut LOADS of features, XCOM is an excellent example, they gouged out countless features and its simply a worse game because of it. XCOM isn’t terrible by any means but if they’d of kept the features from the original and shed some production values to balance the books it would have been a much better game.

      • Gwyddelig says:

        I can’t agree with that. Much of the original XCOM games was cumbersome and fiddly. Firaxis have done a great deal to make the whole XCOM experience less about fighting the UI/silly quirks and more about playing the game.

        I’d absolutely agree that it isn’t as “deep” as the originals but I do not think it suffers unduly for it. My only gripes really (and this is probably feature creep nonsense) were the lack of base attacks, or the sense of your base being a place that is vulnerable and the relative paucity of maps.

  2. ChainSOV says:

    Give me the option to play on the USSR side and I am sold. Driving the capitalist pigs with their pretentious democracy lies away with Ivan’s and Igor’s commentaries would certainly be fun.

    • Vraptor117 says:

      I missed your comment the first time around, but I completely agree. That would be a nice subversion of how JA games usually go. Perhaps an idea for a stretch goal?

      • ChainSOV says:

        I just can’t stand the thought of playing against Ivan and Igor :(
        Also, I would mourn every russian casualty thinking that this poor chap probably has a wife and kids waiting for him, and he just had the bad luck to be stationed here, because his government wants to protect this country from the U.S. installing their dictator like in Chile and Guatemala.

    • felis says:

      USSR side and mercenaries. I see some problems with that.

    • Phendron says:

      I’d like to see a Jagged Alliance/Tropico mashup where you get to play as Deidranna and do genocide and collect too many taxes and such.

    • ThomasLund says:

      Generally I think there is some misunderstanding and miscommunication. So we will clarify the story a bit more in a future update.

      We are setting the stage for how AIM was founded and why. And that takes root in a fictionary “second cuban crisis” in the late 80′ies where US and USSR clash for one last time.

      So you will actually experience why the I-team defected and became mercs. Amongst others.

      Watch the Kickstarter page for more info soon

  3. BobbyDylan says:

    Take my money!

  4. killias2 says:

    Can anyone tell me something interesting about the developers? I’d like to see a new good JA game, but I’m not going to Kickstart all willy-nilly just because the JA name is being thrown around.

  5. briangw says:

    I wish they had an early backer tier since $25 is a little steep compared to other turn-based games that are being/were funded.

    • S Jay says:

      Fully agreed.

    • abandonhope says:

      Indeed. When you’ve got hundreds of dollars floating out there on various Kickstarters, adding to that pile in chunks of 25 becomes increasingly difficult. I passed on Divinity so I could back two other games for the same price. There’s always another project around the corner, so I will probably do the same for Flashback.

  6. Fumarole says:

    I’m certainly looking forward to the cheesy hoomer.

  7. Vraptor117 says:

    So wait, is this at all related to Back in Action? Because that game was a mess.

  8. S Jay says:

    25 bucks? No thanks, I think Kickstarter success caused a bit of an inflation in the “digital pre-order” tier (yes, yes, I know it is not “pre-order”).

    • Grey Poupon says:

      I feel like in plenty of projects the “it’s a preorder” is a healthy attitude. A TBS game might not be the best example of this, but there’s plenty of games that seem to be on kickstarter just so they’d get money before the actual sales start. It’s a business for, why shouldn’t it be one for me.

      The obvious exception being games that we’d never see otherwise.

    • lomaxgnome says:

      I agree, and I think Steam sales have shown that you price yourself out of way more dollars with prices in that range. $10 or maybe $15 will generate impulse “buys” and donations, $25 won’t. The indie PC market does not support $25 games. I’ll be surprised to see this reach even half of the goal.

  9. BigKid66 says:

    I’d feel better about backing this if I had a look at Space Hulk first. If they deliver on that I’d be IN but since I have no reference to their talent, I’m OUT (for now).

    Maybe they should have waited on this until Space Hulk was out.

    • killias2 says:

      100% agreed

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Same reason InXile didn’t. They need to keep their teams busy on something.

      • killias2 says:

        The difference there is that, while inXile doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation, many of the individuals they’re getting to work on these games have absolutely glowing resumes. Just to focus on Torment, you have Colin McComb, Chris Avellone, Monte Cook, Brian Mitsoda, George Ziets, and Kevin Saunders (not to mention Patrick Rothfuss).

        JAF has.. umm..?

        Edit: That’s not to say that they still don’t need to games in developmental stages in order to make full use of their team. I’m looking at it from the angle of a potential backer. As a potential backer, I backed Torment because I knew it had solid talent behind it. I just don’t have the same knowledge about these developers.

        • BobbyDylan says:

          Well, judging from the KS page, the team has enough experiance to ge the job done. And while I understand the cautiion about “unknows”, not having a reputation doesn’t mean that the realities of developement costs go away. And from what I’ve seen of SpaceHulk, it looks like they’re producing a great game. If for nothing else, i think they derve the benifit of the doubt.

          In this day and age, I can get games for free if I wanted. But I dont, cos I fancy myself a paitron of Games, rather than a consumer. This is why I’ll throw $100 at a kickstarter game with an ambitition, but no buy Simcity for $60

  10. Spoon Of Doom says:

    I’m at work so I don’t have sound in the video, so excuse me if that was said there. But will there be destructable environments?

    Back when I played Silent Storm, I loved that you could destroy walls to gain line of sight, or shoot through walls at a point where you suspected an enemy to be. Or that you could destroy entire buildings by destroying all the walls, killing all enemies in the collapsing building. Also, finding a new, big rifle and then watching as it took out a big chunk of the wall after piercing through the enemy was a good way to show how powerful it was.

    Seriously, I loved tearing down houses in the game and the fact that it was even possible with small rifles if you just keep shooting long enough, and I’d love to see something like that return.

    • Grey Poupon says:

      Silent Storm was pretty much perfect when it came to TBS shooty combat. At least untill it went all scifi on your ass. I think I too will be a bit disappointed in every isometric shooter that lacks the things Silent Storm offered.

      That said, I really doubt we’ll see that level of environmental dynamism in this game, the environment seemed to be 2d. The artist guy drew some stuff in the video.

      • Spoon Of Doom says:

        I know what you mean. To this day, I refuse to accept any kind of sci-fi happened in that game, and those overpowered mech suits didn’t exist. But up until then, I loved it, and always wondered why nobody ever made another game in the same vein, except maybe with a coherent setting.

        A shame we won’t wee stuff like that in the new JA, but still… A turn based Jagged Alliance, yay!

  11. Vraptor117 says:

    “Under secret orders from the CIA it is now up to you to assemble a team of capable mercenaries, restore the democratic government on San Christobal and drive out the U.S.S.R. presence, by any means necessary.”

    It might just be me, but I think having you as the KGB fighting against the CIA to establish the USSR presence would make for a more interesting game. The premise of the game is really played out at this point.

    • Sarissofoi says:

      Working for CIA?
      No thanks.

      • Gwyddelig says:

        Yeah, the whole “restore democracy” has pretty much been revealed for the hollow nonsense that it is. Socialist coups don’t tend to just happen “because”. I’m not a huge fan of Castro but he got to where he is because Batista wasn’t exactly a nice chap. Of course, the US couldn’t recognise his régime quick enough.

        In a Latin Amercian/Caribbean context the notion that either Soviet or US hegemony could be a good thing for any country is risible from the evidence of history. I think I’d find it hard to be the avatar of that process.

    • Sassenach says:

      “restore the democratic government”

      Wink wink, nudge nudge, if you know what I mean.

  12. Core says:

    Jagged Alliance 2 is one of my all time favourite games. So I will back this, even though I don’t really have faith in them to deliver something that can even stand close to the original JA games.

  13. deaomen says:

    I’m not sure about this. It could be a great game, but it also could be like Jagged Alliance: Back in Action. Also lack of different kind of tiers is weird… only $5, $25, $50 etc. And no early birds.

  14. Zorn says:

    Well, I fell in love with turn based strategy since the days of Battle Isle and History Line.
    Alas, the new X-Com was a disappointment for me. It’s the 3d-shooter of turn based games.
    It may be well made, sold well, may be liked by many. But it’s not why I love turn based games.
    I remain highly sceptical. I’d love to see a game in the vein of JA2. But I don’t want a game that
    is weighted to accessibility, whatever that is. JA2 is perfectly fine in that department, there have
    been quiet the rougher games in that regard.

    • Arkh says:

      You sir, I agree with you to the last letter. But a man can hope, I’m still on the fence about backing this. They promised base features. What I want confirmed is destructible environments. If they have that, I will back it.

  15. khomotso says:

    I’m in purely for nostalgia’s sake, and OK with that, though this is probably the last one I’ll kickstart just on that basis. I’m interested in signalling fan demand for this kind of game as much as the output for this particular project..

  16. Anarkopsykotik says:

    Jagged Alliance 2 is a very deep and complex game and that was it’s main interest. They should communicate more about the depth they intend to reach and the mechanics that will be in the game. Destructible environment, 1.13 style inventory and things like that are things i want to be sure of before I pledge to this.

  17. Continuity says:

    I’m thinking of maybe just having my salary paid straight to kickstarter, it would be simpler that way and there would be the same result.

  18. Ruminator says:

    Hmm. I’m worried about this. Near as I can tell from watching the video and reading the summary, it looks like we’re going to lose out on JA2′s strategic level (as in, free access to the entire country). Of all the great things that I liked about JA2, it was the ability to go anywhere in a fully realized country that really did it for me.

    The way these guys are talking, it looks like all you do is manage one little base between ‘missions.’ The idea of ‘missions’ in a game like JA2 is disturbing to me; *I* make the missions! *I* decide what needs doing! Bah!

    –Insert unfounded, speculative criticism here–

    • ThomasLund says:

      Please read our just released update to clarify the strategic layer. We want to actually expand on the options there, as we think there is room for improvement and new features that make sense (instead of cutting). Much less room on tactical layer as its pretty darn good already.

  19. PopeRatzo says:

    RPS has become the premier indie game fundraising site on the Internet. Best articles about games that don’t exist, and may never exist, ever.

  20. Tomhai says:

    From the KS page regarding comparison with JA2 and 1.13:
    “…Our aim is to get as many features in as possible but we simply cannot produce the same amount of content with the current budget.”

    This sounds very much like harebrained-schemes comment on why they dont have “normal” saving system or looting in Shadowrun REturns. Just not enough resources to implement… If it takes so much resources to implement basic stuff then what can we expect from complex things that JA2 has.

    God knows I would like to have a new JA game, but I’m just getting the feeling that the kickestarter funded games dont turn out the way you’d HOPE from the sales pitch.

    My first question would be… does it have action points? I would never have even thought about asking this a year ago, but XCOM and Shadorwun online have made it clear that AP-s are not the standard anymore for TBS.

    • squareking says:

      I dropped them a message about destructible environments — they said it’s to be a stretch goal. I can sort of understand that point. It does take money to get those things working the way you’d want.

      And regarding AP:

      We’re not a 100% on that point yet. The new XCOM EU approach is cool but too simple…Our base is the classic JA2 system. It will either be a mix of the two or an improved version of the JA2. As usual many people like one thing and others like the other. we definitely won’t be dumbing anything down…if anything we’re just aiming to make it clearer what’s what. e.g. visually display cover much better ect.

      I can get behind this in theory.

      • caff says:

        I also contacted them about destructible environments and got the same response about it being a stretch goal. A shame, in my view, because grabbing an M72 LAW and blowing a hole in the side of a building, then picking off the troops inside was one of the things that made JA2 so awesome.

        But on the flipside I can totally appreciate how complex developing a destructible 3D tile-based world could be, having dabbled with that sort of stuff.

        All we can do is hope they see this as a key demand for the title and hopefully they’ll get the funding they need.

        The stuff on action points is good news though!

  21. The Random One says:

    I like how he mentions the ‘awesome team’ just as they are shown pretending to be holding guns.

    I know it’s perfectly normal in context, but I am a gigantic baby and am amused by such things.

    • ThomasLund says:

      My team IS awesome :-D And we had great fun filming the video and trying to catch people in those situations! I’m not sure they totally agree – but hey! HAHA

  22. akbarovich says:

    LOVED Jagged Alliance 2, haven’t found a game nearly as satisfying since then. Mainly because no game since then has had so many bizarre personalities. I need the zany broken English of Igor and Ivan! Or the town where you encounter this black dude who speaks in broken English (ostensibly because he is Arulcoan), but is voiced by what sounds like a black American native English speaker speaking in his normal voice. In fact I mainly just need broken English in lots of accents. I didn’t pick up XCOM because I was disappointed at how generic all the mercs sounded despite being an international team.

    And all the merc feuds… Polish guy leaving because he couldn’t stand Ivan’s Russian oppression… etc…

    But otherwise I just loved the late 1990′s quirkiness…that your GUI was this stupid laptop thing … you had to go on this Geocities-esque website to order your guns and ammo…I hope all of this is faithfully recreated

  23. Potocobe says:

    When I finish this comment I will return to my Nth game of JA2.

    Full Control has not been clear about their base management plans. They make it sound like you won’t be running all over the countryside while dodging patrols, going where you want/need to when you feel like it. They make it sound like you will be dispatching your squads from home base and engaging in the tactical combat when you get to where the level is. They have said that they want to keep as close to JA2 as possible but then they throw a curve ball and say you will have a base to manage/train your mercs in between missions….And I’m not sure what they mean by this. JAOnline has the same thing. A home base to manage by spending money that you get for completing missons on upgrades/equipment. No actual strategic layer with real time troop movements and healing and repairs to deal with. This is what I fear Full Control means when they mention a home base. It worked in XCOM because that is XCOM. No one runs anywhere in XCOM they get a ride in a dropship.

    When I think of how I play JA2, I like to have a couple of my free mercs holding down the fort at the hospital in Cambria churning out militia and tending the wounded. All kinds of equipment ends up there and I can keep the heli a few squares over at the fuel depot. This is essentially my home base and I manage my troops from there. But they go where I tell them too. Sometimes they run into enemy patrols while on their way to retake a SAM site and I get to go and deal with that awesome combat and then maybe I decide that I want them to pounce on another patrol I see in a swamp which will be easy kills for my snipers. I can forget about the SAM mission for as long as I see fit. It was my mission. So I can absolutely get behind the idea of a HQ and I like the idea of being able to upgrade it with more support equipment like radar and such so long as the real time running around on the map remains. The emergent gameplay you get from the strategic layer is a large part of what the Jagged Alliance series has always been about. Without that element of play you will end up with World War 2: XCOM. And that’s silly.

    Can anyone confirm what they are planning for the in between missions stuff?

    Some clarity on what exactly they intend to do with all of the game mechanics is needed before I part with any money. Well, that’s not true. I believe I will give them some money regardless of whether I play the game or not. At this point the successful development of a good JA2 successor is a numbers game. The more studios try it the better our chances of getting a great game. Still, I will pledge enough for a copy if they can sell me on the strategy side of the game.

    • tur1n says:

      You might want to read the interview linked in the article.

      “Yeah, we are going to bring back the strategic side. I think we’re going to run with something in terms of base-building and an open world is something we want to have as well. We’ll have movement in realtime until people hit a combat situation and then it’ll become turn-based again, in a direct copy of JA2’s mechanic. We’re keeping the combat absolutely turn-based but the real-time setting will be open world, with the strategic setting utilising base-building and transportation, those kind of things.”

      Obviously, they have yet to start preproduction, so the design isn’t exactly fully fleshed out at this time.

    • khomotso says:

      They posted an update today that says a bit more about the strategic layer and destructible environments:

      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2079547763/jagged-alliance-flashback/posts

      • WrenBoy says:

        you wont be able to have buildings collapse by blowing holes into all walls

        How good was was Silent Storms engine?
        *Shakes head in nostalgic admiration*

  24. WrenBoy says:

    The shenanigans with Kerbal Space Program and Harebrained Schemes outright lies have me questioning basic english.

    When Full Control say the basic game and updates will be DRM free does that also include future DLC?

    • ThomasLund says:

      Yes – we will not only run DRM free – also give the option of Steam (if they accept the game). But the DRM free option is also given for future updates and extensions.

      As written in our FAQ somewhere we want to go GOG, but they are at the moment lacking a Linux option. Either they add that before JAF is done or we find some other way to get the Linux guys their copy if they dont want to do Steam.

      • WrenBoy says:

        Sweet, you sold me.

        Hope you get enough dough to put plenty of polish on the atmosphere. Good as the mechanics were on the original game what I really loved were all the nice cosmetic touches, from the laptop interface to the music.

        Best of luck.

  25. Rumpel says:

    i was very excited for this at first, but then i noticed they keep talking about “missions”. i hope to god its just objectives you can complete to advance story or get bonus moneys and such while campaigning through a world map you take sector for sector. i really really do.

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