Enhance! Jagged Alliance Flashback Diorama

By Craig Pearson on May 17th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.


CSI is a show that invents sexy technology to solve crimes (CSI means Cool Solvers International, madeupfact fans). I honestly don’t know how any crime gets done with the level of tech they have. Gary Sinese once solved a crime with a spoon and a cornea, which reads like something I’d make up for one of my silly story intros. Honestly, if your plot could be written by a man in his pants at a PC then you might want to think about a second-draft. What has that got to do with Jagged Alliance Flashback? The currently Kickstarting strategy game has just released a strange, cool interactive screenshot that’s like something out of David Caruso’s imaginary software emporium.

Flashback’s screenshot diorama is a frozen moment plucked from the game. You can spin around and slightly zoom into using the number keys, and space will select different parts of the scene. It’s sadly not as OTT as CSI, so there’s no cornea examining, but as we’ve yet to see a video of the game in action you might enjoy the strangeness of it. If screenshots are caterpillars and videos are butterflies, then this is the chrysalis.

The Kickstarter is looking perilous, with $228,660 pledged of their $350,000 goal and only six days to go. I’m not sure this is better than a video at this stage of the campaign. I mean it’s kind of cool, but going through the updates there’s been a pile of work put into this that might’ve been better spent making a game that people can see running.

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38 Comments »

  1. Ultra Superior says:

    I hope it gets backed. I’m a backer too, though I must admit their reward tiers are kind of unappealing.

    The game looks incredible otherwise.

    • Zorn says:

      This may be the first kickstarter that I’d like to not making it. There hasn’t been much more
      than talk at this point. The showing of some amateurish graphics. And the notion that they
      ‘want’ to make a truthful Jagged Alliance game. They’re not the first to ‘want’ this. Just
      throwing in turn-based isn’t enough. Not for Jagged Alliance. I’d rather see no sequel,
      prequel, than something that’s watered down, concentrating on things that aren’t at
      the core of what’s making Jagged Alliance standing out.

      With every update it feels like they’re improvising, showing that they not really have
      thought this all through. It would be easier without the fans of the former games.
      But then again, isn’t this the point it’s a recognized name at all? If you’re a
      company like Beteshda or EA of course, you can go on ignoring everything.
      But that’s not why projects go to kickstarter.

      Yeah, a Jagged Alliance game by Beteshda or EA. Just imagine the wonders!
      Well, in regards of depth of strategy, Firaxis wouldn’t be better too.

      • WrenBoy says:

        If you dont feel like backing thats fine, I dont back most projects either. I just dont get complaints like these though. knucklesamwichs rant below could have been written for you…

        I love how most of the supposed “JA Fans” are so fast to flame this project but you obviously are so misinformed that you have not even bothered to look into the project. Full Control has stated that they will try to make a game true to the spirit of the beloved JA 2. They have brought on board former JA2 team members and some of the the incredible 1.13 modding team. Before you morons shoot off your mouths why don’t you do your homework.

    • sirlach says:

      I personally can’t wait for JA:F for the following reasons.

      Sirlach’s Top Ten Reasons Why you Should Back Jagged Alliance Flashback.

      10. Blow SH&T up! – Fully destructible environment.
      9. Gun Pr0n – Pimp out your M16 & AK47!
      8. Multiplatform – Windows, Linux & MAc.
      7. Space Marines are badass! – The Developer is currently developing Space Hulk!
      6. We put the band back together for this one – Chris C “Original JA” coding Guru joins the team
      5. Ready-to-Mod ™ – Designed to be modded from the ground up!
      4. Pre Alpha Game concept material released.
      3, Obsidian have got our back.
      2. THE MOST BADA$$ community ever assembled! – Modders included in the Design Team.
      1. This game is going to to take all the greatness from JA2 and put it in a modern gaming engine (Unity 3D).

  2. JFS says:

    I’m also a backer and I would like them to succeed. I’m very skeptical, however that they’ll actually make it. I think they’re promising too much (JA2 + 1.13 + then some, and all of it squared), while their campaign is actually very unclear. They have nearly nothing to show, which in combination with their grandiose ideas makes the project seem half-baked.

    Also, I’m of the opinion that 25 $ as the lowest tier where you get the game is way too high. Past gaming Kickstarters put that tier at 10 to 15 $, with a trend for high-class projects to aim for 20 $. Those 20 bucks are already pushing it, but 25 is too much – especially for a studio with no great record and a shaky concept.

    • Squirly says:

      The fact that they’re promising JA2 +1.13 gets me all moist, though.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      That’s very true all you said there.

    • RobertJSullivan says:

      I really want them to succeed, but honestly there is a huge part of me that is quite skeptical about that whole thing.
      I really believe that something on par with JA2 1.13 can be made but not without a great budget and a really talented team. JA2 vanilla already has a ton of content with the voice acting, quests, weapons and if you add 1.13 content it must be pretty overwhelming.
      I hope that they will at least get the mercs personalities and cheesy one liners right, imho it ain’t Jagged Alliance without the 90′s B movie feel and that’s just a personal opinion, I know there some people that wish JA2 was a serious guerilla warfare sim (well obviously it can be with 1.13 gameplay wise but I’m talking about the general mood of the game).
      Anyway, I wish these guys good luck.

      P.S. : Any JA2 fan can say who’s Robert James Sullivan ? I love that guy, hence the nickname :p.

    • S Jay says:

      Agreed, I stopped backing this kind of “oh cool” projects based on the simple fact that upon release, probably the game would be cheaper (if released at all, mind you) – if not cheaper, it would be in a couple of months.

      If I can wait 2 years for a game, I can wait 2 years and 2 months to buy it for half price.

    • arkona says:

      Totally agree, if I wasn’t the stupid Ja fan I am, I would never have backed a project with such a high entry price.

    • belgand says:

      That was my biggest problem with Original Sin as well. They put the tier for a copy of the game at the rather high $25 point. When you start going that high as much as I want to play this game I’m not quite sold enough to kick in the cash upfront without seeing anything more to go on.

      I think a large part of this is also because these have quickly become viewed as a form of pre-order. Even with stretch goals it doesn’t seem odd to think “Eh… I’ll wait until it comes out and the reviews are in”. The problem being that we can’t count on the game meeting it’s funding or reaching those desired stretch goals if you don’t take a chance to begin with.

      In this case they asked gamers to take slightly more of a chance than seemed feasible and it looks like the project might not coalesce as a result. We’re really both to blame.

  3. 7Seas says:

    Game looks good, and I do love JA2, but where is the RPS outrage over the misogyny of tiers like “10,000+ Become the Top Pimp (Story NPC) of the island and run your very own brothel (ONLY THIS TIER)” ?

    Is that qualitatively different from the torso?

    • Burzmali says:

      To be fair, “pimp” is about the most gender neutral name for “one who is in charge of prostitutes” that I can think of, a male madame would just be silly.

      Also, given that titillation won’t likely be at the top of the list of reason for having a brothel (srsly, look at the size of those models) so I would be willing to wager that it will be an equal opportunity employer.

  4. Gurrah says:

    That Diorama is a nice idea and actually a step in the right direction, if you can’t show videos or actual screenshots I think that’s the next best thing. However I just can’t stand all of my classic turn-based games being turned into cartoons, Firaxis did the same with XCOM and while the gameplay is ok the visuals they’ve gone for are just ridiculous, sadly the same seems to be the case with JA. Thanks for trying nice Danish people but no, sorry.

    • Bfox says:

      Agreed, it’s nice being able to see the game elements really quick and clearly but this just seems like too many games are jumping on the cartoon bandwagon after TF2 : (

  5. Premium User Badge

    Morlock says:

    The Diorama looks very unappealing to me and leaves me less convinced of the project than I was before. I know this is a very early sketch of what they want the game to look like, but with the terrible textures and very basic 3D models the only information I get out of it is that it is 3D, and I knew that before.

    • catmorbid says:

      Yeah. Looks ugly as hell. Why change the art style to something completely different, I don’t get it. Or is it all placeholders? In that case, fucking pointless endeavour.

      • WrenBoy says:

        JA2s art style seems pretty cartoonish to me as did the games atmosphere in general.

        I was pleasantly surprised by the diarama. The screenshots look ugly as hell but when you load it up in Unity it looks very nice for a quick indication of the style of the game, which I liked. The game is supposed to be tough as nails but the mood is light hearted and cheesy.

        If I wasnt rooting for the game I probably wouldnt have bothered downloading it though, which is a shame as its actually a nice idea. I hope they will continue to release progress updates like this even after the kickstarter is finished.

  6. Tanner says:

    There is no way i am going to back a Jagged Alliance game where the devs don’t acknowledge the great work that has been done by the community around JA 2.13 before they start to brag about their game dev prowess.

    • arabes says:

      They do acknowledge it the work done in 1.13, I’m sure I read it somewhere on the kickstarter site. They talk about how they want to include some of the systems brought in by 1.13.

      I’d love if they made this game, a new JA in the style of the originals would make me so happy :D This is the only kickstarter I’ve ever given money to (I missed the shadow run one :( )

    • fedso says:

      You must be talking about a different game because not only they acknowledge the work around 1.13 but they got the whole Bear Pit supporting and promoting the game. They even got some of the modders to work for them!
      edit: and it’s “JA2 v1.13″, not “JA 2.13″

  7. briangw says:

    They should have offered a $15 tier. While other TBS games did and were funded, they could have been further along.

  8. TwwIX says:

    I am sorry but this isn’t Jagged Alliance. This is Frontline Tactics with some new textures and models. Even the level design looks just as simplistic and ridiculously confined as it does in that shitty game. Ugh.

    I’d rather see this franchise be put to dead than have another hack studio exploit its legacy. Oh well, there always be enough gullible idiots out there to support obvious cash ins such as this one. I sure as fuck won’t be partaking in it.

    • fedso says:

      I would withdraw your statement, you are insulting the developers of the original JA who are supporting this project.

  9. knucklesamwich says:

    I love how most of the supposed “JA Fans” are so fast to flame this project but you obviously are so misinformed that you have not even bothered to look into the project. Full Control has stated that they will try to make a game true to the spirit of the beloved JA 2. They have brought on board former JA2 team members and some of the the incredible 1.13 modding team. Before you morons shoot off your mouths why don’t you do your homework. I also don’t get the gripes about graphic style of the diorama. You guys don’t seem like those of us who have played 1.13 for more then a decade and know that graphics are so far down on the list of what makes a great game it’s laughable. Go back to the next Call of Duty/crisis/far cry if that is all you care about. (and yes I do play Call of Duty, but it pales to insignificance compared to a classic like the JA franchise.)

  10. khomotso says:

    I’m a backer, but I don’t think this one’s going to pull through, and I would hope that the studio could take a lot of the criticism to heart and reboot the funding campaign.

    If they’re prepared to come back with some real prototyped work, rejigger the contribution tiers, and maybe lead off with stronger concept work from the 1.13 modders that they brought on board halfway through, I think it would do a lot to boost confidence. I might even back a round 2 at a higher level.

    If they can’t learn from this first attempt, or aren’t committed enough to want to do that, then it’s probably just as well if this one doesn’t go forward.

    • knucklesamwich says:

      I doubt that the Obsidian guys would have given FC an endorsement in their own kickstarter campaign update if they didn’t think this had some merit. But I guess you guys have more industry experience.

      • khomotso says:

        Didn’t parse all that above, but got the sense you’re a backer, just as I am, so I’m going to guess that whatever you said it was meant to be a high five. Cool bro!

        • knucklesamwich says:

          Of course! If not for Sid Meier’s turn based would be dead years ago. I am just glad that kickstarter is there to bring out some games that could be future classics. Call of Duty sadly has destroyed the industry with everyone trying to beat it. I like a good FPS as much as anyone but I like variety too and games like this ARE wanted. See, im not mad best buddy!

    • Rumpel says:

      i seem to recall having read somewhere that when this kickstarter fails, they probably wont do another. of course that couldve been pr speak.

  11. Audiocide says:

    Ha! That was so cool!

    It really isn’t doing well on KS though. My guess would be that most potential backers are in the same situation as me – their KS moneydollars all spent on the recent flood of uber-RPGs.

  12. unguided says:

    I think they are sincere about trying to make this as much like JA2 as possible. They’re just unfortunate that JA fans have been burned quite often recently .

    I’m a backer by the way.