“So it turns out Jagged Alliance: Rage is not-terrible,” our Alec declared in his cheery way after playing the latest revival of the venerated real-time tactical combat series. It was surprising, seeing as many other attempts have ended up bleh, but even more surprising is that it was due to launch barely six weeks after being announced. Well, that part at least was too good to be true. Having previously planned to launch it tomorrow, September 27th, publishers THQ Nordic today announced Jagged Alliance: Rage is now due December 6th. I’ve asked, and they say the delay is for “Balancing and fine-tuning.” To tide folks over, they have blorped a new trailer.
We’ve waited ages for a decent new Jagged Alliance anyway so ten weeks isn’t that much longer to wait, and it sounds like Rage might benefit from more time in the oven. As our Alec said after playing a preview version in mid-August:
“Polish, polish, polish. That’s what Jagged Alliance needs most of all. Not more finnickity options, not the wholesale removal of the against-tradition, titular ‘Rage’ super-abilities (earned by dealing or taking sufficient damage), not anything that would make it more like 1999. We’ll see what the final version and long-term play bring, but Rage, for all its low-budget shonk, does feel so far as though it’s laid real groundwork for a modern Jagged Alliance rethink, after all those earlier mis-steps.”
But if that laff riot is enthusiastic about it, I’m interested too. Alec said:
“Rage is recognisably Jagged Alliance, which is to say you exact turn-based control of a squad of grumbling but blood-steeped mercs sent to deal with warlords and drug-runners in an exotic locale, but with two major changes. The first is a certain degree of streamlining. There is a ruder way of saying the same thing, which I expect is being employed with grim regularity in Jagged Alliance communities right now.
“In any case, Rage is clearly striving to be XCOM to the 90s JAs’ X-COM – focusing on the core loops of combat and strategy, discarding some of the nuances of micro-management in favour of a tight focus on moment-to-moment decisions. Me? I’ve always taken the view that XCOM doesn’t replace X-COM: I dig both. I feel the same way here, in that we’ve still got JA2 and all its marvellous mods – this is exploring something different. Narrowing the field of possibility to move/shoot/sneak/use might amputate complexity, but it increases intensity.”
December 6th it is, I guess. Jagged Alliance: Rage is made by Cliffhanger Productions and published by HandyGames, who are a new publishing label of THQ Nordic, who are not actually THQ, who… look this could go on all day. In short, old things now new.