Update: Techland has offered Eurogamer a statement about the Ubisoft survey.
"This is an alleged leak from Ubisoft. They're our business partners and a publicly traded company. Techland is in no position to comment on such rumours. There are no new games we'd like to announce at this time but obviously Techland is working on a number of projects."
Original story: Ubisoft is allegedly researching a new Call of Juarez game that appears to favour the Wild West setting of old.
A survey sent by Ubisoft to owners of Call of Juarez: The Cartel asked what gameplay set-pieces people would like to see in an "as yet unannounced game", according to The Gaming Liberty.
That list of set-pieces gives the impression of an old Wild West setting:
- Hunting an outlaw in the rocky mountains
- Defending a ranch attacked by Mexican pistolleros
- Preventing a bank robbery
- Rescuing an innocent man about to be hanged up
- Taking part in a shooting contest
- A gun duel in the empty main street of a town against your worst enemy
- Guarding a fort against a group of outlaws
- Helping a man to escape from the sheriff's office
- Defending a train attacked by Native Americans on horses
- A gunfight in a saloon after a poker game
- Preventing outlaws from pillaging a gold mine
- A fusillade between lawmen and outlaws
The Call of Juarez series, made by Polish Dead Island developer Techland, consists of three games: Call of Juarez, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood and this year's Call of Juarez: The Cartel.
The first two were set in the spaghetti western Wild West. The Cartel, however, was set in the modern day Wild West of Los Angeles and Mexico.
The Cartel was critically the weakest of the bunch, which may explain Ubisoft's decision to return to vintage cowboy times.
The publisher may also be attempting, however, to piggy-back the runaway success of Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption. If Call of Juarez 4 could be released a year or more before the next Red Dead game, Ubisoft would undoubtedly cash in. But doing so would risk Techland rushing development - a prospect fans who remember the buggy release of Dead Island won't delight at, to say the least.
Call of Juarez was released as a PC exclusive in 2006, published by Focus Home. The game had dual lead characters: a stealthy rogue called Billy, who was a bit boring, and a brilliantly brutal religious man called Reverend Ray. Eurogamer's Call of Juarez review awarded 8/10.
"Of all the cowboy games in the last few years, Call of Juarez is the one which most feels like it has a soul," concluded reviewer Kieron Gillen. "Impassioned and imaginative, its velocity of invention can make you smile through any flaws. It's a game which you feel someone actually cared about making."
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood was a Ubisoft game, released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2009. Bound in Blood ditched Billy and focused on Reverend Ray's past, introducing his brother Thomas along the way. Eurogamer's Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood review awarded 7/10.
"It's a little rough and old-school in some places," wrote reviewer Oli Welsh, "but that suits its cantankerous, revisionist mood and down-and-dirty subject matter. But above all, it's a proper western, set in a tangibly real Wild West, with proper, honest-to-goodness cowboys, Indians and bandits in it."
Call of Juarez: The Cartel, also a multi-platform game, was the weakest of the bunch. This revolved around a modern day Wild West and the notorious drug cartels in Mexico, and their impact Los Angeles and southern California. Eurogamer's Call of Juarez: The Cartel review awarded 6/10.
"It's a workmanlike experience, then, but not without its charm," decided reviewer Dan Whitehead. "The Call of Juarez series remains hard to pin down, both in intent and appeal, but that's not to say there's nothing to enjoy in this latest effort."