Aug. 2, 2012 at 1:51 PM ET
Electronic Arts announced Thursday that, with the help of Visceral Games, it will launch a new installment in the "Army of Two" video game franchise — one that takes place amid the bloody drug war in Mexico.
According to EA, this third installment — called "Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel" — "re-sets the series" and will have a "more intense, mature, and grittier tone." The game will be a co-operative shooter like its predecessors and is scheduled to launch for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in March 2013.
"We wanted to refresh the 'Army of Two' franchise for a new generation of action gamers, and at the same time, stay true to the core concept that really made the first two games fan favorites,” Julian Beak, executive producer at Visceral Games, said in a statement.
The first games in the series were met with mediocre reviews. See In-Game editor Todd Kenreck's review of the second "Army of Two" game below.
But Steve Papoutsis, general manager of Visceral Games, said their goal is "to help improve a franchise we feel has always had a lot of potential."
Visceral Games is the development studio behind the popular "Dead Space" horror games and is currently working on "Dead Space 3." Beak said the "The Devil's Cartel" will feature "seamless co-op gameplay" as well as new tag-team features and a deeper, more advanced upgrade and customization system. It will be powered by the Frostbite 2 engine.
In "The Devil's Cartel," operatives Alpha and Bravo find themselves embroiled in the drug war in Mexico. And Beak said, "...gamers will have to work together tactically and strategically as they push through a city dominated by one of Mexico’s deadliest drug cartels."
This isn't the first time a video game has used the deadly drug war in real-world Mexico as a backdrop. When "Call of Juarez: The Cartel" was announced it was met with much criticism from people who felt a video game would make light of a bloody, horrific situation that has cost thousands of people their lives. The game was then accused of being reprehensible and racist when it launched last year.
But the developers at Visceral Games say they are approaching "The Devil's Cartel" with the seriousness the situation deserves.
"The cartel wars — the stuff that's going on in Mexico right now — is very topical and it's also a great opportunity to shift the tone of the series a bit and really take this situation seriously," they told Game Informer.
Game Informer has the first video peek at this forthcoming game. Take a look:
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.