Rebellion’s Strange Brigade is a pulpy co-op shooter

Rebellion, the studio behind the Sniper Elite and Nazi Zombie Army games, have announced a new class-based shooter for 1-4 players with all the sights, fights, and colonial stereotypes of 1930s pulp adventures. Strange Brigade [official site] is its name, and shooting monsters is its game. As adventurers with different abilities, players will kick in the doors to “forgotten civilisations” and “treacherous tombs” to fight undead nasties, anthropomorphic animal monsters, and maybe even Anubis (or one of his bros). Here, have a look in the announcement trailer:

Rebellion say they’ll show more during E3 next week. For now, their marketing blurb:

“There are remote corners of the British Empire where the supernatural lurks and the shadows linger, where few dare go and fewer return. In Strange Brigade you’ll encounter fantastic and forgotten civilizations shrouded in mystery, uncover treacherous tombs and test your wits against unfathomable foes…

“You’ll explore the ancient world as one of four dashing explorers, each blessed with their own weapons, tactics, and special superhuman powers…

“You’ll fight back-to-back against a terrifying army of mythological menaces, unleashed by no less than a resurrected Egyptian witch queen!”

It’s a difficult tone to strike, innit? Obviously the talk of “burden of empire” and stereotypical African warrior and whatnot are very much the material of old adventure magazines, serials, and movies, but beyond adding female heroes I don’t know how much Rebellion are interrogating wacky old colonial ideas versus reproducing them. I wouldn’t expect something as smart as 80 Days from the makers of Nazi Zombie Army but, y’know, I am curious.

No firm word yet on when Strange Brigade will launch. “Coming soon”, Rebellion say.

31 Comments

  1. Dorga says:

    I sense great potential, for racism, in this one.

    • ChefSquid says:

      What? Just… I… How is there always some jackass who manages to turn everything into a racism thing?! Please don’t start this nonsense here, this is one of the few gaming sites that hasn’t devolved into stupidity just yet.

      • TaylanK says:

        If by “stupidity” you mean critical analysis of tropes and stereotypes in entertainment, RPS has been always been exactly that. Besides, he said “potential”. Please don’t be a jackass who gets his undies in a twist every time someone fails to take entertainment at face value like you do.

      • Dorga says:

        3 white men and a black woman in her best explorer-cooking dress run around the British Empire, aka places that are in ruins because the inhabitants are just a bunch of simpletons, to plunder its riches.
        I’m not saying that the developers have come up with all this crap or that they are definitely going to be insensitive about it, just that what we’ve seen isn’t too promising. It’s not enough to have a commentator do the funny 1930 voice to make something an effective satire.
        Especially now that talk of Empire is coming back all dressed up in nostalgia.

        • weedrk says:

          Insensitive? Come away from that. For the entertainment industry… A studio, director and all the actors, portrayed most of my ancestors as vampires and demon spawn in Lincoln, Vampire Hunter in a movie released in 2012. Who stood up and cried, “RACISM”! No one, because it isn’t white knight and the PC thing.
          Folks are only picking the “high and right”, safe topics to be upset about. Many, many people stopped listening to the eternal screeching of “racism” when they realized it was only being used as a card to be played, FTW. Just like it was “okay” to be racist towards certain groups during the Pulp years in the early parts of the last century, now it’s “okay” to be racist to certain groups, for “entertainment”.

          • weedrk says:

            Yeah, I realize it’s not the popular opinion, but I feel like the internet is getting this sort “official/unofficial” opinion, which I feel is one sided. Not slinging mud around, just thoughts.

          • MysticalEric says:

            The difference between this game and that vampire movie, is that “your ancestors” have had no shortage of positive depiction in films/games/TV shows etc.

          • weedrk says:

            So, that’s the answer? Over do it with “super positive” for either side? That’ll make it all better?

          • theblazeuk says:

            what a load of rubbish, getting weepy over slavers being portrayed as vampires.

        • Skyblade says:

          There’s only 2 guys btw

      • stonetoes says:

        One of the reasons I come to RPS is exactly because they are willing to interrogate these issues. If that’s not what you’re interested in then there’s a whole internet out there that hasn’t “devolved into stupidity” as you put it.

  2. UncleLou says:

    “with all the sights, fights, and colonial stereotypes of 1930s pulp adventures”

    That was the obvious inspiration for the Uncharted series as well, which is why I never quite got the complaints about the … super-natural elements.

    Anyway, this looks quite interesting.

  3. cpt_freakout says:

    It’s just a reveal trailer, so hopefully they’ll be smart about the terrible racist and colonialist undertones, but at the same time the trailer just played it straight, even if the black woman appears front and center (she does fulfill a stereotype). I guess we’ll see when they release more material.

  4. weedrk says:

    A white knight just has to be a white knight. Protect and Serve on the internet and all… Either way, I’d love to see a good game in the spirit of Indiana Jones and Allan Quatermain. Fun fantasy a lot of us grew up with, just not politically correct at all nowadays.

  5. CheeseFarts says:

    But the real question is, who will be triggered first by black chick?
    The “stereotype jungle girl is racist” crowd or the “black jungle girl running with heroic explorers is unrealistic ” brigade?

    • weedrk says:

      Funny thing is: I don’t care what either camp thinks. If the Devs and Producer make a good game like that, I’ll pay for it and enjoy it. Or maybe, I could be completely wrong on the idea that if a product isn’t for me and I disagree with it, then I should not bother buying it, end of story. The product didn’t sell and they know it wasn’t a good investment of time and money. However, I don’t see any actual need for a huge protest and outburst over entertainment I don’t like.

      • CheeseFarts says:

        Actually I want to know if its damnable p2p like Zombie Army or worth buying.

    • CMaster says:

      Whether or not it’s realistic, it is dead on for the genre. Africans were always important parts of Quartermain’s teams for example, and having a semi-native guide to explain the local flora and fauna is pretty staple.

  6. gi_ty says:

    This looks fantastic! I might be insensitive but I love the tropes of 1930’s pulp. It’s akin to reading Lovecraft. Cringe worthy but also revealing. Like seeing into a mind of the past, and being able to revel in the stupidity of their concept of the world.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Yeah, they had me at ’30’s pulp. Especially with extra magic added.

      Reminded me of Aaron Allston’s Doc Sidhe and Sidhe Devil alternate world pulps. I mean, who doesn’t like a faerie, noirish, steampunky pulp adventure set at the 1936 Olympic games!?

      Hope these folks can deliver just the right type of mashup, with just the right spice.

  7. Archangel says:

    Love the narration. Extra ten points for pronouncing it “eve-y-il”.

  8. Garuda says:

    Civilization
    You should proofread before posting your article

    • April March says:

      This is the burden of the empire!

    • SaunteringLion says:

      “Civilisation” is the correct British spelling, and RPS is a British site. “Civilization” is the American spelling.

  9. April March says:

    Pulp can work very well with modern sensibilities. Though I agree that I wouldn’t think the people responsible for Shoot Hitler’s One Testicle Simulator to be the ones to make it work. But the trailer, at least, seem to have the perfect amount of necessary tongue in cheek. And I can forgive a lot in the name of pulp. I just love it so much, you guys.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Well, that’s pretty much exactly what the Nazi Zombie Army games are: Pulp from a modern sensibility. They were silly and over the top and a hell of a lot of pulpy fun (and as a bonus managed to get some game elitists tripping over each other to sniff down their noses at such lowbrow content). So Rebellion might have just the right kind of outlook for it.

  10. mooz says:

    As long as there’s still sniping to be had, this looks like an awesome cross between their stuff and Tomb Raider/Deadfall Adventures/etc. Cool!