It's becoming difficult to keep up with the proliferation of the Jagged Alliance games. There's the original and its expansion, Deadly Games. There's the sequel, the Unfinished Business expansion, the Wildfire expansion and the Gold Pack re-release. There's Jagged Alliance: Back in Action and Jagged Alliance: Crossfire. A Jagged Alliance game was released on the Nintendo DS several years ago. And let's not forget about the unfinished nightmare that was Jagged Alliance: Flashback.
If that wasn't enough already, there's one more to add to the list. And according to the developers, it was going to be riddled with "free-to-play crap and mindless grind".
That was Jagged Alliance Online, an MMO take on the Jagged Alliance universe that was designed to be playable in a browser. It was announced five years ago at Gamescom by bitComposer Games — perhaps best known for Disciples 3: Reincarnation — and gamigo AG, a German-based online publisher.
In 2013 the game was released online as free-to-play, but not to the satisfaction of its developers Cliffhanger Productions. "The game was originally controlled by an online publisher and not licensed to be released as pay to play title," Cliffhanger, which published Shadowrun Chronicles — Boston Lockdown earlier this year, wrote.
"We did not have full control over it, so we weren't allowed to make it the way we wanted to. Now we finally got the rights to it and get rid of all the free-to-play crap and mindless grind. It is a better game for it." They stress that it's not a remake of Jagged Alliance 2, which is probably a good thing considering there are enough fan remakes and mods available already.
Those who acquired the campaign pack for the free-to-play title earlier will get Jagged Alliance Online: Reloaded for free, with your previous data having already been migrated to the new servers. For everyone else, Cliffhanger is hoping that the prospect of 60+ hours of content, along with a Warzone and PvP modes will convince players to jump in. Exactly how much it will cost to jump in is unknown, but that will all be revealed tomorrow.
If you're just after the JA2 experience, however, Cliffhanger suggests hitting up the original. It's available on Good Old Games for just under $15 and is perfectly compatible with the 1.13 user remake, although for first-timers the body politic recommends experiencing the vanilla offering first.