"Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood" was an awfully entertaining summer 2009 release from developer Techland. The Wild West setting looks just right and the game's Chrome Engine 4 gives your guns and the bullets they fire a real sense of heft and power. Today Ubisoft revealed the next chapter in the "Juarez" series, "Call of Juarez: The Cartel," which moves from the previous two games' Wild West setting to the streets of present-day Los Angeles.
The fun only starts in Los Angeles of course. Ubi's none-too-revealing press release does state that the action eventually moves to Juarez, Mexico. Given the way the last game ended (spoiler alert), I think it's reasonable to expect some sort of treasure-hunting adventure from "The Cartel," though that title certainly indicates that the South and Central American drug trade could also play a part.
Ubisoft director of marketing Adam Novickas writes in the press release, "'Call of Juarez: The Cartel' is an action-packed shooter game with a strong story, interesting characters and a wide variety of gameplay options. The game will bring the best elements of the Wild West into modern times with a very gritty and relevant plot." Which of course tells us nothing really, other than the importance Techland is placing on recapturing the spirit of the previous games in this more modern setting.
What more can you ask for at this point? I question the need to shift to a modern setting, as "Juarez" and "Red Dead Redemption" have certainly proven that Wild West fantasies are still alive and well in the hearts of gamers. I just wonder what Novickas means when he talks about bringing "the best elements" of the period into modern times. "Bound in Blood" was a better-than-decent game however, and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what Techland cooks up next. Look for more details soon in the coming March issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly.