The buddy-based core gameplay of Electronic Arts Montreal's Army of Two
was one of its greatest strengths -- it "resonated with people," says executive producer Reid Schneider.
But examining the reaction to the title, Schneider says he realizes where it fell short: "What didn't work was really the tone," he says, speaking as part of an in-depth Gamasutra feature interview
on the game. Many reviewers perceived the characters' brotherly good cheer as inappropriate alongside the game's wartime violence -- an installment of the popular Penny Arcade webcomic
was just one successful illustration of this criticism.
"If you think about it on a scale, that's a good problem to have -- tone is more easily fixable than having people say, 'You know what? I don't even like the core fantasy or the core gameplay that you're doing,'" says Schneider.
EA Montreal hopes that with the upcoming sequel, they'll be able to "just build upon all the features, fix the stuff that didn't work, fix the tone, and make it the experience we wanted."
Gamasutra also spoke to creative director Alex Hutchinson, who says he played the game from a consumer perspective before coming in to work on the sequel and found the reaction to Army of Two
's tone "fascinating for a couple reasons."
"One is that people seemed to feel that the game was celebrating bad behavior," says Hutchinson. "Actually, if you play it, I think it's amoral. It has no opinion. That's really interesting to me from a development perspective, because what it means is the press wants you to punish the bad guys. They don't want you to have no opinion about the bad guys. They want to say, 'No, but they're evil! They need to lose!' And I think that's kind of sad."
"Isn't it more interesting to say to the player, 'What should you do? What do you do? And what is your reaction?'"
However, says Hutchinson: "I agree that the tone that we're going for in the new one is more appropriate and will hit a wider audience."
You can now read the full feature
on the Army of Two
franchise at Gamasutra (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).