Call of Juarez: The Cartel was “a mistake”

3 min read


Techland is a developer that’s always had great ideas, but has rarely had the budget to make its ideas match the execution. It’s something you can easily see, looking at the difference in quality between Dead Island and the much grander, pretty darn good, Dying Light. In the past, its games haven’t always been winners, and in 2011, it released one of its worst: Call of Juarez: The Cartel. The game was a “mistake,” but don’t take our word for it. That choice quote comes directly from Techland.

In an Interview with Eurogamer on the fate of the not-so-cancelled­ Hellraid, Techlands CEO Pawel Marchewka calls the game a “mistake,” adding that it “wasn’t a bad game, but it wasn’t finished when we released it.”

I posit that it was actually a pretty bad game, and that yes, it was unfinished. In our appraisal of the game all those years ago, we said:

“At first glance, COJ has a lot going for it. The idea of branching storylines, a more modern day setting and the idea of playing as a less than honest cop sound like blockbuster entertainment. Unfortunately, COJ just never manages to capitalize on these ideas, presenting a mix of features that never truly gel together, and that relies on too many familiar stereotypes to hide its weaknesses.”

Here, with the benefit of hindsight, is our current appraisal of the game:

It very much tarnished the Call of Juarez brand, which is one that the studio co-owns with Ubisoft. Thankfully, they made up for it with the next one, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. A return to the old west with a simpler, more focused outlook, it was a far better game – and if yes – that’s a big if – the company does return to Juarez, the next game will be made closer to Gunslinger’s template.

“We co-own the IP with Ubisoft, so we are joined together,” Marchewka told Eurogamer. “We have to decide together when will be the best time to maybe produce another version of Gunslinger. Probably we will stay with the style of the last one. Gunslinger shows that Call of Juarez could be a great game, but I can’t say when we will come back to this. We definitely know the genre, we love the genre, we’d love to come back, it’s just that at the moment there are more important topics to deal with.”

And with the experience they gained making Dying Light, I’d frankly love for them to apply what they’ve learned to a brand new game set in the Old West.

Last Updated: June 2, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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