The original dudebro classic is returning as EA has finally announced the next installment in the Army of Two franchise. Absent at E3 this year, gamers wondered what would be next for the AoT franchise, especially in the wake of actor Joe Flanigan letting it slip that he would be voicing a character in the game. Rumors swirled that EA would be upping the ante ever so slightly by allowing four-player co-op, but the new Army of Two game seems to be keeping it old-school with two-player action set amidst a purported gritty backdrop.
Dubbed Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, the game will break from the established AoT mold by featuring new protagonists. Gone are Salem and Rios and in their place are Alpha and Bravo, both of whom haven’t been revealed at this point. Employed by Tactical Worldwide Operations (the PMC outfit founded by Salem & Rios), Alpha and Bravo will find themselves on a deadly mission set within Mexico – which if you haven’t been watching the news lately is almost a complete warzone ruled by the drug cartels.
AoT: The Devil’s Cartel will use the real world climate revolving around Mexico to fuel the narrative of the game which will involve a mission that doesn’t go as it was planned. The unique thing about the new AoT game is that it’s officially being helmed by Visceral Games, the studio best known for the Dead Space series. Now to be honest and perhaps set expectations on a realistic level, EA has since made Visceral Games into a brand name spanning several studios. So while Visceral Games General Manager and current Dead Space honcho Steve Papoutsis will be overseeing the new AoT game, it isn’t being made by the same exact team that gave us Dead Space.
Development team tidbit aside, it does seem like Visceral is keen on putting their stamp on the AoT franchise as Steve Papoutsis had this to say, “Our goal with Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel is to apply our key design principles – immersive, challenging gameplay, intense narrative and focus on quality – to help improve a franchise we feel has always had a lot of potential.”
The previous AoT games weren’t immediate masterpieces in the action genre, but I’m interested to see what Visceral will do to mix things up and just how far they’re willing to push the story. After playing Spec Ops: The Line I think the bar has been raised when it comes to dramatic tales in a modern warfare setting, but maybe Visceral Games will be able to deliver us a true triple-A experience. The one thing that is assured about the game at this point is that it'll look pretty as DICE's Frostbite 2.0 engine will be powering the game.
EA is keeping things light on the details department so there’s still quite a bit about The Devil’s Cartel that we don’t know about. Whether or not Salem & Rios will appear in the game is unknown but their omission from being the leads could be a small way to both reboot the series and in turn not directly follow up the ending of AoT: The 40th Day as it featured two unique and rather bleak endings.
The only gameplay details EA has decided to share with us now is that gamers will be able to customize both Alpha and Bravo – whether it’s their weapons or even their facemasks. I hope such a thing doesn’t mean both characters will be blank slates with no personality. Multiplayer details are still under wraps for now but it’s likely that the team at Visceral will deliver some basic action since it’s a requirement amongst gamers these days.
Most surprising of all is when Amy off Two: The Devil’s Cartel will be released. I don’t know if this can be considered a stealth release of sorts, but the game will be released in March 2013 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Additional platforms haven’t been announced but a Vita or Wii U entry could be possible as well. The Army of Two franchise has never truly resonated with gamers, at least in an overwhelmingly positive way, but I am optimistic about The Devil’s Cartel as it could prove to be fun if Visceral puts their unique stamp of approval on it.