Jagged Alliance 3 is one of THQ Nordic’s many long-awaited sequels, but many don’t know how long strategy fans are waiting.
As part of its big 10th anniversary showcase this month, THQ Nordic unveiled several games with a long history behind them, including Jagged Alliance 3. Paria 2: a new beginning is a sequel that began development shortly after the 1999 original. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is the return of the yellow mascot to the platform after six years of absence. However, for all the nostalgic returns in THQ Nordic’s arsenal, perhaps none are as powerful as Jagged Alliance 3. The strategy series has undergone multiple ill-received re-imaginations and false starts, to the point that it seemed futile to hope for a suitable new entry. If THQ Nordic’s first decade proves anything, it’s that even the most specialized titles deserve another shot in the spotlight.
Despite years of new versions attempting to recover the Jagged Alliance magic, the continued love for the series among his die-hard fans emanates from the first two games. Released in 1995 and 1999, these strategy classics combined turn-based combat with elements of 4X and extensive character work. Jagged Alliance created a formula that still feels distinct from contemporaries like XCOM today, that’s why so many fans are still eager to create new experiences with its framework. Just like other PC classics like LOSS, a slew of mods and other fan updates keep coming out on a regular basis, proving that there is still a core audience hungry for another round of mercenaries and guerrilla tactics.
Unfortunately, while these first two games were well received, the developers and publishers behind the releases have continued to change. Whether it is through mergers, acquisitions or the complete shutdown of businesses, the franchise has changed hands many times, even in the beginning. Around the time of Jagged Alliance 2expansions of, the series landed in the hands of Canadian publisher Strategy First, known for taking everything out of the original Desperados Game to the notorious Bad rats. Thereafter, the quality of each new version began to decline. There was the snafu with the developer behind Jagged Alliance 2: Forest Fire, resulting in a wage dispute and an exit under another publisher. Graphic update assumed Jagged Alliance: Back in Action made major changes to the mechanics of the game and fell flat with fans. This all happened before the first time a publisher announced Jagged Alliance 3.
When was Jagged Alliance 3 first announced?
Originally presented as part of the E3 annual exhibition in 2007, Strategy First Jagged Alliance 3 was once part of a two-game deal with Russian developer MiST Land South. The game would have attempted to highlight the strategy mechanics of the original with 3D graphics in the same way as Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, while hopefully learning from the mistakes of this game. Several outlets had a hands-on demo of the game at the time, and the glimpses that ensued described the experience as difficult. History would prove that these opinions are correct, as Strategy First would end up removing the team’s license and doom the two. Jagged Alliance continuations to development hell.
It wasn’t the last attempt at a new sequel, either. Rumors about a new version of Jagged Alliance 3 erupted at publisher bitComposer Interactive around 2010, but the project has also remained silent after about a year of work. Nordic Games saw an opportunity in 2015 and reclaimed the rights to the series alongside several other bitComposer properties. At the time, the company described Jagged Alliance as the jewel of the case, claiming that the acquisition of the strategic series was “obvious” for the publisher. Six years later, the publisher now known as THQ Nordic is ready for its rebirth.
With Tropic 5 and Survive Mars developer Haemimont Games at the helm and THQ Nordic by providing the financial elements, things look promising again on the Jagged Alliance 3 front. Just like Desperados, Destroy all humans, Outcast 2, and others, THQ Nordic will hopefully provide fans with a true continuation of a series from another era. The publisher has a proven track record of picking the right team for the job, and the long wait between acquiring the IP and announcing the game shows the company isn’t rushing into anything. Hopefully the end result of this tactical approach to game development is worth the wait.
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