Here's a sequel I didn't expect to happen. Shellshock: Nam 67 was what Guerilla Games got up to before making those Killzone games on Playstation 2/3. An underwhelming fps-but-with-more-shoulder, it turned up in the midst of the brief Vietnam obsession that hit the PC in the mid-2000s. It was also a straight down the line war is hell jobbie. Which makes its having a sequel even odder, because Shellshock 2 is about mutants and experimental toxins and stuff. Someone's been reading their Agent Orange conspiracy theories, clearly.
But it's still in Vietnam, Eidos still owns the Shellshock name and horror-shooters are very much in vogue at the moment, so really it all makes sense in the end. What is odd is that there's actually a 2 in the name, given that Eidos tends to slice numerals out of its sequels (see recent Hitmen and Tomb Raiders), and I somehow doubt there's a horde of rabid Shellshock fans hanging on desperately for this. Perhaps it's Fallout 3 thinking - even if the original game isn't familiar to most of the intended audience, the suggestion of heritage and success that a 2 or 3 gives can make a game seem a bigger deal to newcomers.
Interestingly, a sequel was first announced in 2004, the year the original was released, but presumably that collapsed when Guerilla was bought up by Sony. So this new one, Blood Trails, is being handled by Rebellion, they of Aliens vs Predator (woo!), Dredd vs Death (noo!) and Rogue Trooper (smaller woo!). Who, coincidentally, today were named the 83rd fastest-growing private technology, telecoms or digital media company in Britain by the Sunday Times, and the fastest-growing games developer in that list.
There was no recent mention of Shellshock 2 until this August, which no-one particularly seemed to pick up on at the time. Today, though, we get the first screenshots and video, plus the promise of a Christmasish release date. Which seems incredibly soon for a game that's pretty much only just been announced.
And look how seriously it's taking the Vietnam war:
Here's the Skynyrd-soundtracked trailer, which may be hinting that the infection thing is one big metaphor for the horror/madness/futility of the Vietnam war, or is just being hugely crass:
Tuesday 30th September/... Eidos Interactive, creator of some of the world’s leading videogame properties, today announces a return to the war-torn jungles of Vietnam in Shellshock 2: Blood Trails, a brutal and twisted psychological first person shooter, coming to disturb your Christmas.
At the height of the Vietnam War, a covert ops cargo plane carrying a top-secret consignment known only as ‘Whiteknight’ is lost over the deepest, uncharted jungles. Special Ops soldiers are immediately dispatched to the scene to retrieve the top secret shipment and one-by-one they disappear without a trace… until one month later, one of them suddenly walks out of the jungle.
Crazed and deranged, something in the jungle had ripped out his humanity, poisoning his soul. Something in the darkness had driven him mad….and followed him out.
Taking the first-person war game and turning it on its head, Shellshock 2: Blood Trails places you in a war where fear takes on a whole new meaning.
“Shellshock 2 is very different to any first person shooter you’ve seen before; at times it feels more like you’re in a horror movie than a game,” said Lee Singleton, General Manager of Eidos Game Studios. “Survival takes on a new meaning as you fight against all sides of the conflict: your enemy, your allies and the victims… the casualties of Whiteknight, an enemy that ultimately has no side.”
Shellshock 2: Blood Trails will be released for Christmas 2008 on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft®, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Games for Windows®.