There have been a few weird sequels this generation to games you wouldn’t have expected, either because of poor sales or low critical interest. In the case of the Army of Two games, it’s kind of a combination of both- it’s not that they sell that poorly or anything, but they certainly don’t do well enough for any of us to expect it to become a trilogy. Plus, the first two have just been so middling, and the idea of playing as mercenaries after Blackwater, and in middle eastern countries like that, felt a little exploitative. But I guess they did good enough, so prepare yourself for Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, set to release in March.
This new one, developed by Visceral Games Montreal, is very much trying to reset the series. They’re putting in new characters (named Alpha and Bravo instead of “Skull Mask” and “Other Dude”), relocating the game to Mexico in a fight against drug cartels, and will do away with even more of the bro-ness of the first two (which had already been more or less cut out from the second anyways). They’re focusing on being mature and realistic with this next one, and the shift to using Frostbite 2 definitely helps with that push.
It is a little weird to see the series try and make itself more serious because, at some point, the bro moments and the duo’s blase attitudes towards all the death they’re causing was something that made the games… different, if a little weird. We all remember the whole thing with the developers working with actual mercenaries, or putting in conversations about Wu Tang Clan members as they fight their way around, but no one remembers the actual shooting and characters. Maybe a shift to a new developer is exactly what they need to give the game that extra push to make it more fun and memorable, but really in a time when we’re still complaining about how many gritty, mature shooters taking place in a desert there are, just shifting it to a new desert and new developer might not be able to really put it on too many radars. We’ll hopefully see a little more at the summer showcase EA is putting on, but it’s also the cover of September’s Game Informer, so go use your printed media if you want to learn more about these masked mercenaries.