The Rise and Fall of Army of Two

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Military shooters have come and gone in droves over the last two decades, the genre long proving a tough area of the market to crack and even tougher to maintain a semblance of success in. Thus, developers and publishers looking to make an impact typically push gimmicks the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty can’t offer, be it Haze’s Nectar enhancements, the Time Manipulation Device in Singularity, or the Hollywood-inspired firefights of Black. For EA Montréal’s Army of Two, the fresh, new gimmick relied on something players were already well-versed in—cooperative gameplay.

But where most shooters featuring co-op embedded two-player options on top of their single-player campaigns, Electronic Arts’ Montréal team built Army of Two from the ground-up with cooperative play in mind. This core design decision facilitated strategic, two-person gameplay that forced duos to always think and act as such, regardless of the extraneous circumstances. The resulting experience came in the form of a refreshing third-person shooter, its rough-around-the-edges qualities counterbalanced by a world of great potential, which fueled EA Montréal’s development of the 2010 sequel, The 40th Day.

Two competent installments saddled with middling reviews and appreciable sales figures could not save Army of Two from corporate interference, though. And once the much-despised third entry, The Devil's Cartel, bombed critically and commercially in 2013, EA saw no reason to further invest in the struggling IP whose few redeeming qualities fell by the wayside amid a forced identity crisis.

This is the rise and fall of Army of Two.

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