Call of Juarez

Key events

29th June 2007

Call of Juarez

18th September 2006

Call of Juarez

Techland insists Hellraid isn't cancelled

Techland insists Hellraid isn't cancelled

Dying Light passes 4.5m players, and Call of Juarez could return.

Dying Light developer Techland has assured me dark fantasy action game Hellraid has not been cancelled. Development has been "frozen" but may be thawed as soon as third quarter this calendar year.

CEO Pawel Marchewka also told me Dying Light has 4.5 million unique users, the last count being 3.2 million mid-March. That doesn't strictly equal sales, but more on that and Dying Light - and the future Call of Juarez - later.

Hellraid first. "No no no," Marchewka responded at Polish games conference Digital Dragons when I asked if the game had been cancelled - it had been ominously announced as "on hold" only hours before.

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Call of Juarez

Call of Juarez

Wicky wicky or wah wah?

Games often do things in the pursuit of reality that make absolutely no sense, so it's always nice to come across one that's doing something in the pursuit of fun that makes absolutely no sense in reality. Basically, when you're in the middle of a gunfight in Call of Juarez, the chances are that the thing you'll most want to do is put your guns away.

This is because, after a couple of seconds, you can answer the gunfire by pulling one of the triggers and going into "concentration" mode. Slow-motion, in other words, but bear with it. This brings up two aiming reticules at either side of the screen to represent where your guns are pointing as you draw them from their holsters. By pulling on the analogue sticks (left for left, right for right) you can drag them slowly onto target as you bring your guns up in front, delivering six rounds from each into any flesh you cover, before normal time resumes, you get back your normal manoeuvring controls, and the dead fall down.

Drawing and firing in a burst of ridiculous accuracy is, of course, what people who love Western gunfights love about Western gunfights. By capturing it so well in Juarez, it's easy to surmise that Techland did it deliberately because they understand how we think.

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Call of Juarez routed to 360

Not 'ringing in' many changes.

Techland's West is Wild. So Wild, in fact, that it bucks more conventions than a forgetful bronco during conference season. Inevitably, very few people gave it the time of day when it formed the basis of an impressive new stealth-and-shooters game last autumn.

Call of Juarez

Call of Juarez

The Call of the Wild West.

Call of Juarez makes an inspired design decision, which impacts on the game in such a hugely positive way that I can't work out whether its creators are actually geniuses in terms of understanding gaming psychology or just got incredibly lucky. The case for the former is, pretty much, how good it is and how it makes the game better in just about every way. The case for the latter is how rough and awkward many other sections can be. I suspect it may be a little of both - Call of Juarez is a maximalist game which lobs pretty much every idea it can think of at the wall and sees what works. That it's not incoherent in the slightest is one of its greatest assets and a direct consequence of its Inspired Design Decision.

Call of Juarez is a first-person action game with a western setting, from Techland who you'll probably know - for better or for worse - from great-white-hope/great-white-elephant Chrome. And its inspired design decision is to have two characters with hugely different abilities, then alternate levels between controlling one and controlling the other.

Doesn't sound like much. In fact, it sounds like the sort of thing we've seen in games forever.

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New Call of Juarez demo

It's a multiplayer one this time.

Following the release of the single player demo last month, Ubisoft is now giving you the chance to try out the multiplayer mode in PC shooter Call of Juarez.

New Call of Juarez demo

Now available for download.

A new English language demo for Wild West FPS Call of Juarez is now available for download via 3D Gamers.