Jagged Alliance 3: The Long-Awaited Return of a Beloved Franchise
Jagged Alliance 3 marks the long-awaited return of a beloved franchise. Available today for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, it’s a game that lets you assemble your own unique mercenary team and offers you a realistic turn-based combat simulation, but without taking itself too seriously. Some of your characters are like those larger-than-life action movie heroes from the ’90s, while others are just quirky amateurs that you will love, despise or learn to respect. You’re about to lead them on a seemingly straightforward mission in the third world country of Grand Chien, and watch it turn into a cascade of memorable encounters.
Approaching a Story
Do not get me wrong though. The game won’t try to tell you the epic story of your journey where your mercs perform amazing feats of courage for the greater good. You will tell that story yourself through your team actions while trying to make the most of the situation at hand. The greater good is optional and it depends on you. As a narrative designer, what I can do for you is bring a bunch of stories to life and then let you drop into them – often with the grace of a heavy truck driving at full speed into a wildlife crossing. Watch out, there are some spoilers ahead.
The People You Meet Have Their Own Problems
The people of Grand Chien will rarely see you as a good guy. As much as your choices are concerned, they may even be right! You are not the hero this country wants, and who knows if you’re the hero it needs? Your mercs will be underqualified for the job, and yet they have their own opinion on everything. On the other hand, the locals will rarely expect you to solve their problems, and if you dabble in their affairs, there may be surprising consequences. For example, you could stumble upon the story of Smiley: young amateur merc who fell in love with Mollie, a prostitute from the local brothel. Depending whom you ask, you may be told that he kidnapped the girl, or that she shared his feelings and they ran away together in search for someone to get them married. If you’re curious enough, you may try to follow their trail – or just go on your business. You could meet Mollie later in your playthrough and find out that she fell in love once again with another person… That person happens to be the mob boss who pretty much owns the neighboring town, but love is blind, isn’t it? In the meantime, Smiley is in a pickle. The local gangs are hell bent on finding and killing him because he shot one of their own while protecting the love of his life… I don’t judge – that’s your job.
Doing the Right Thing
You may want to do the “right thing” (whatever that is), or take the easy road, or even both. Are you willing to confront the whole Mafia of Fleatown while defending the honor of your new friend? Or perhaps their leader Boss Blaubert isn’t to blame for what happened? You will be the judge of that. In any case, there will be long term repercussions of your choice and, just as in real life, you won’t know about them until they happen. For the next playthrough, you can try something else! I may have a personal preference on how the story ends, but you won’t guess what it is while playing. Whatever you decide to do, you will change the game world and bring different outcomes – and you will be rewarded for your involvement in different ways.
I want to immerse you into a country where pretty much everything went to hell too many times – so that now pretty much anything is possible. Armed gangs roam the streets and brandish AK-47s and the local voodoo priest trades diamonds in his church. A doctor infects her patients on purpose while trying to cure the disease she’s spreading herself. A ghost is setting up landmines, and at the same time longing to reunite with his long-lost employer. I know all this sounds crazy, but I promise that it makes sense. If you’re willing to trust me, all you need to do is assemble your team and land on the coast of Grand Chien. You might be just the one this country needs to bring back a sense of normalcy.