Saboteur Now on Steam

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We completley forgot this game evben existed if we are being honest so it is nice to revisit Saboteur Now on Steam.

The Saboteur's Steam Release Reminds Us of Pandemic's Forgotten Gem

Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction

With the release of Saboteur Now on Steam, many gamers have rediscovered Pandemic Studios' open-world action title set in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II. However, Pandemic's true masterpiece was their earlier work, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction.

Originally released in 2005, Mercenaries was set in a fictional post-war North Korea and featured destructible environments, a variety of military vehicles and weapons, and free-roaming gameplay. Players took on the role of one of three mercenaries - Jennifer Mui, Mattias Nilsson, or Chris Jacobs - and were tasked with hunting high-value targets in the North Korean military.

The expansive open world allowed players to approach objectives however they chose. Tanks, helicopters, boats, and transport trucks were all available to aid players in their missions. The destructible environments also added an additional layer of realism and strategy as buildings and infrastructure could be demolished.

With an intricate faction system, players had to carefully navigate relationships with North and South Korea, China, the Russian Mafia, and the Allied Nations. Your actions had consequences as completing missions for one faction could anger another. Mercenaries was a truly innovative title that provided an unparalleled open-world experience at the time of its release. Unfortunately, the studio was shut down by EA before they could develop a proper sequel, making Mercenaries a forgotten gem in gaming history. With the recent revival of interest in Pandemic's library, Mercenaries deserves a second look and a chance at a comeback.

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Why Mercenaries Was a Revolutionary Open World Game for Its Time

Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction was a pioneering open world action-adventure game developed by Pandemic Studios. Released in 2005, it featured a massive map set in a war-torn North Korea. As a mercenary, players had an unprecedented level of freedom to approach objectives and explore the world.

Massive, open world map

The map spanned over 150 square miles of diverse terrain, including forests, cities, military complexes and even a full-scale replica of Pyongyang. At the time, this was one of the largest open world environments ever seen in a video game. Players could traverse the map by land, sea and air using a variety of vehicles.

Destructible environments

Players could demolish buildings and other structures using heavy weapons and explosives. This level of environmental destruction was unparalleled and shaped how players approached objectives and tackled enemies.

Faction-based gameplay

Players could choose to ally with one of three factions: South Korea, China or Russia. Allying with a faction provided access to safehouses, vehicles, and side missions. However, it also made the other factions hostile. Players had to choose allies carefully to gain advantages while avoiding making too many enemies.

Memorable characters and voice acting

Colorful characters and stellar voice acting brought the world to life. Notable performances include Jennifer Hale as a Russian mafia boss and Phil LaMarr as an arms dealer.

With groundbreaking features for its time, Mercenaries set the standard for open world action games and shaped how modern franchises approached design. It demonstrated what could be achieved with the power of seventh generation consoles.

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How a New Mercenaries Could Improve on the Original Formula

Expand the Map and Mission Scope

The original Mercenaries featured vast maps set in North Korea, but modern hardware could accommodate much larger play spaces with greater detail. A new Mercenaries should span entire countries or regions, with cities, military bases, and infrastructure modeled to scale. Missions could involve disrupting supply lines, extracting VIPs from urban centers, or battling rival mercenaries for control of resources.

Refine the Bounty Hunting Mechanic

The bounty hunting system, where players hunt down high-value targets for money and prestige, was a highlight of the original. A sequel could expand on this by generating an endless array of procedural generated targets, each with unique backstories, locations, security details, and challenges to overcome. Eliminating bigger targets and completing higher-difficulty bounties would yield greater rewards and unlock improved equipment.

Introduce Strategic Base-Building

Players could commandeer buildings and structures in the open world to establish their own mercenary outposts. These bases could then be upgraded over time to unlock vehicle drops, black market merchants, helicopter pads, and passive income generation. Rival mercenaries may launch attacks on your bases, requiring you to defend them or launch preemptive strikes against their operations. Base-building would provide an ongoing objective and encourage players to carve out and dominate their own territory.

Revamp the Destruction

The original Mercenaries featured unparalleled environmental destruction for its time, allowing players to decimate buildings and structures. A modern-day sequel built on current technology could push destruction to new heights, with buildings that fully collapse under explosions and wildfires that organically spread to surrounding areas. Players could leverage massive, cascading destruction during missions to cause chaos and gain a tactical advantage over enemies. Total devastation of environments would significantly impact gameplay and provide a level of mayhem not seen in most open-world action games.

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