In early December 2018, the fourth part of the Just Cause series, named after the 1989 US invasion of Panama, was released. From the very beginning, Avalanche Studios managed to shield their offspring from the reputation of «another GTA clone» thanks to a clear understanding of what should be included in the Just Cause formula. According to the producer of the latest installment, Christopher Supino, the key components of the series are «explosive action, stunts, spectacular travel, humor and a huge beautiful world.»

Development history of Just Cause

Just Cause (2006)

After the studio first announced Just Cause, many people thought that they were waiting for another third-person shooter in the open world. However, Avalanche Studios was not going to compete with Rockstar Games, trying to create a city filled with life. From the very beginning, the studio offered the player something that he did not fully receive in other sandboxes — the creation of absolute chaos.

Development history of Just Cause

The player assumes the role of secret agent Rico Rodriguez, who specializes in overthrowing dictators. His first target will be Salvador Mendoza, who creates lawlessness on San Esperito, a fictional island in the Caribbean. Very soon, the Rioja drug cartel appears on the horizon, which has its own interests in this story.

Actually, the main goal of Rico in this and subsequent parts of the series is the gradual seizure of territory and reducing the influence of antagonists on the local world.

Development history of Just Cause

Rico can hardly be called an exemplary protagonist, given the amount of horror that he arranges for a kilometer of the map, but the developers assure that «he just does a good deed with his own methods.»

In fact, Avalanche Studios did not specifically focus on the development of the main character. The developers understood that the essence of their series was in the gameplay, and therefore did not pay too much attention to the scenario.

Development history of Just Cause

Already in the first part, the main elements of the foundation of the series were laid. One of them is free and fast movement on the map in all sorts of ways. To do this, Rico has a parachute in his inventory and, most importantly, a branded hook with which he can cling to almost anything. It is this tool that is the heart of Just Cause’s experiments with acrobatics and destruction. By the way, if the player went too far with the latter, the local police began to hunt him, as in the same GTA.

Development history of Just Cause

Of course, Rico could travel in sunny San Esperito in a more traditional way, namely with the help of various vehicles, among which one could find cars, motorcycles, airplanes and more. At any moment, the player had the opportunity, for example, to get out of the car and jump to the next one on the go.

It is worth noting that the developers from Avalanche Studios were not the first to offer a sandbox filled with destruction. In 2005, a similar concept was demonstrated by Pandemic Studios’ Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction.

Development history of Just Cause

Despite its fresh approach to open-world gameplay, the first Just Cause turned out to be quite raw and bug-filled to the brim, especially in the PS2 version. The setting of the game seemed empty and uninteresting. As a result, Just Cause received lukewarm reviews, which, however, did not prevent Avalanche Studios from selling a million copies by 2009.

Development history of Just Cause

Just Cause 2 (2010)

With the release of Just Cause, one part of Avalanche Studios was busy developing the hunter simulator theHunter, while the other part was focusing on creating a sequel. After the studio released a playable demo of Just Cause 2 in March 2010, it became clear that the series had moved into the rank of AAA titles, which the publisher of the game, Eidos Interactive, was incredibly happy about.

Development history of Just Cause

According to the plot, the dictator Pandak Panay gained power over the Republic of Panau, having dealt with his father, and then began to trade in oil, ignoring the starving population. He sent all those who disagreed to prison, periodically arranging purges in the form of the execution of all prisoners. Of course, the picture would not be complete without three warring criminal gangs.

Development history of Just Cause

“From the very beginning, we remained true to the sandbox and hoped that the players could create things in it that we never dreamed of. On Youtube, I regularly see tricks that no one has done in the studio,” said the director of the game, Magnus Nedfors.

These tricks were made possible by a new version of the hook, which now allowed multiple objects to be chained together. The more the player turned on the fantasy, the more interesting the sequence of events turned out. By increasing the destructibility of the environment, the developers offered the players a real canvas for experiments, often ending in the complete destruction of some military base.

One of the most significant achievements of the developers in the game was the fact that all the gameplay elements interacted perfectly with each other, allowing players to not interrupt the high pace of the game.

Development history of Just Cause

Development history of Just Cause

“In the first part, we definitely succeeded in the hook, so we decided to give it enough attention in the second. However, last time we were unable to connect the main story with side missions. When creating Just Cause 2, we made sure that everything the player does is connected,” Nedfors added.

Interestingly, many players did not like this relationship. As a result, the dynamic pace of single-player missions seriously ruined the side quests, which were required to progress through the story, but eventually turned into a routine.

Development history of Just Cause

The public was pleased to note the serious progress between the two parts, which led to the status of the best-selling game in England in 2010. Avalanche Studios opened a new branch in New York and began developing the third part.

Development history of Just Cause

Just Cause 3 (2015)

During the development of Just Cause 3, Avalanche Studios decided to pay attention to the mods created by the gaming community for the second part. As a result, the company even recruited the designer of one of the most successful multiplayer modifications. However, the cooperative mode in the game did not appear.

“We wanted to give players an unforgettable experience of playing within the framework of a single-player sandbox. It was very important to prioritize and focus on what matters most,” explains game director Roland Lesterlin.

In order to deal once and for all with the inconvenient control of cars and other equipment, the company hired developers who were involved in the creation of the Burnout racing series.

Development history of Just Cause

Development history of Just Cause

This time, the studio decided to pay more attention to Rico himself and develop him as a character.

“Riko can become the very personification of evil, or he can look like a completely nice guy. The choice is up to the player,” said one of the founders of Avalanche Studios, Christopher Sandberg.

Despite the humor remaining in the game, the developers added drama to the plot by talking about Rico’s past. Rodriguez returns to his native Medici island, which General Sebastiano Di Ravello managed to subdue. As a result, Rico decides to help his old friend Mario Frigo lead the resistance against the despot.

Development history of Just Cause

As for the gameplay, here the developers adhered to the same course as before. Rico’s armory was replenished with a special wingsuit suit, which significantly increased the speed of movement across a territory of 1000 square kilometers, which has more than a hundred structures for capturing research. The hook now allowed up to six objects to be hooked at a time with the required level of tension. Also, in Rico’s backpack, you could now find endless supplies of C4, and after receiving a certain upgrade, plant up to three bombs at the same time.

Development history of Just Cause

Development history of Just Cause

Just Cause 3 was criticized for its visuals, which were not far from the second part and could not compete with other releases of 2015. In addition, the game turned out to be not the most optimized Avalanche Games title, frustrating players with long downloads after each death.

Development history of Just Cause

Just Cause 4 (2018)

The fourth part and the fourth battle of Rico Rodriguez with the next version of the dictator. This time, the main antagonist was Gabriella Morales, the head of the Black Hand organization, which at one time helped Salvador Mendoza and Sebastiano Di Ravello come to power, and now keeps the fictional country of Solis at bay.

Development history of Just Cause

In addition to the next inventory upgrades and a new level of graphics, Just Cause 4 stood out from the previous parts by introducing such cataclysms as hurricanes, snowstorms and sandstorms into the open world. And, of course, this is not about simple changes in the weather to create an additional atmosphere, but about huge tornadoes tearing out bridges and sucking in everything that comes across, or about ruthless thunderstorms that ignite buildings with endless lightning strikes. All this perfectly complements the gameplay and offers players something new, although, judging by the reviews, not to the extent that we would like.

Development history of Just Cause

Development history of Just Cause

“We like what other studios are doing in open world games, but personally we want to give the player the opportunity to interact with the environment on their own schedule. We don’t want to force it to do anything in particular, much less in a particular order. If we create a high-quality sandbox with a few tips, the player will figure it out on his own,” Supino said.

Development history of Just Cause

Development history of Just Cause

***

Just Cause 4 did not demonstrate the leap forward that, for example, the second part could boast. However, one can hardly blame Avalanche Studios for not realizing the potential of the series, quite the contrary.

According to the developers, before releasing Just Cause 4, the studio was already involved in five more projects. Two of them are Rage 2 and Generation Zero, first-person shooters in a post-apocalyptic setting. It seems that the next Just Cause turn will not come soon.

Development history of Just Cause

Оставьте комментарий

Ваш адрес email не будет опубликован. Обязательные поля помечены *