Strategy games have a unique place in a gamer’s heart. The aspect of decision-making, underlying risks, and thoughtful endeavors ensure constant player engagement. If you played such games at the turn of the century, chances of you encountering Commandos is high. Its unique gameplay, which incorporated stealth into strategy amid a World War II (WWII) setting, captured the hearts of players, making it a fan-favorite. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, worry not, as Commandos is set to make a comeback soon.
The Commandos series was largely responsible for defining the genre of ‘stealth-orientated real-time tactics’ in video games. The brainchild of the Spanish game development company, Pyro Studios; the game cemented itself as the pinnacle of war based strategy games among aficionados. The first game, Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, was released solely on Windows operating platform in 1998. Since then, three more games with similar gameplay and one with a mixed gameplay has been released on Xbox and PlayStation platforms in the market.
Each game is loosely based on a historical event during WWII. The game follows the adventures of a fictional British commandos unit, consisting of seven highly-trained personnel, in their covert mission to defeat the Axis powers during the onset of the war. The entire unit is controlled by a single-player, who could switch between them as per the requirements of the mission. The gameplay comprised of assigning tasks to each member of the unit based on their special ability. The successful completion of each task carried on the plot, with the overall objective being to finish all the missions in order to gain victory. The tricky part of the gameplay – if any person of the commando unit is compromised at any time, the mission would be over. So essentially, the commando unit completes their mission without the enemy having any knowledge of their presence. This constitutes an essential part of the gameplay that made it difficult for players to complete missions, enhancing Commandos’ reputation as a ‘pivotal’ stealth game in the process.
The unique gameplay of Commandos series ensured global success, generating $41 million in revenue from over 3 million sold copies. The first four games focused on different aspects of WWII, dictating different storylines in the process. However, the last release in 2006, Commandos: Strike Force, deviated from the usual gameplay by incorporating a ‘first-person’ perspective. Fans of the series labeled the change as a ‘sell-out strategy’ due to the massive influx of first-person shooter games in the market at the time. Strike Force received overwhelmingly negative reviews from fans and critics alike and was largely responsible for Pyro Studio’s halt in the development of further games.
Since 2013, Pyro Studios was on the lookout for suitable game developing platforms to continue their existing brand and subsequent products. The search ended on 14th June, 2018, when Kalypso Media group acquired rights to Pyro Group’s franchises and intellectual properties. Kalypso, a German video game developer and publisher, is most famously known for its Tropico series. The CEO of Pyro Studios, Ignacio Perez, showed his delight by stating that, ”Kalypso has great expertise and experience with rebooting well-known titles, and we are delighted to have our intellectual property in such good hands.” Simon Hellwig, the founder of Kalypso, also promised, “the development of completely new games for all platforms,” as well as “an extensive adaptation of the existing titles for contemporary technologies and platforms.” This could translate not only to the resurgence of new Commandos games but also remasters of the old ones.
Around the globe, fans are jubilant at the prospect of new games in the Commandos series. They hope that Kalypso’s primary focus on rebooting the game should be to bring back the ‘strategy’ element while discarding the ‘first-person’ perspective that caused the downfall of the series last time.