Jagged Alliance 3marks the long-awaited return of a beloved franchise. Available today for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, it’s a game that lets you assemble your own unique mercenary team and offers you a realistic turn-based combat simulation, but without taking itself too seriously.
Some of your characters are like those larger-than-life action movie heroes from the ’90s, while others are just quirky amateurs that you will love, despise or learn to respect. You’re about to lead them on a seemingly straightforward mission in the third world country of Grand Chien, and watch it turn into a cascade of memorable encounters.
Approaching a story
Do not get me wrong though. The game won’t try to tell you the epic story of your journey where your mercs perform amazing feats of courage for the greater good. You will tell that story yourself through your team actions while trying to make the most of the situation at hand. The greater good is optional and it depends on you.
As a narrative designer, what I can do for you is bring a bunch of stories to life and then let you drop into them – often with the grace of a heavy truck driving at full speed into a wildlife crossing.
Watch out, there are some spoilers ahead.
The people you meet have their own problems
The people of Grand Chien will rarely see you as a good guy. As much as your choices are concerned, they may even be right! You are not the hero this country wants, and who knows if you’re the hero it needs?
Your mercs will be underqualified for the job, and yet they have their own opinion on everything. On the other hand, the locals will rarely expect you to solve their problems, and if you dabble in their affairs, there may be surprising consequences.
For example, you could stumble upon the story of Smiley: young amateur merc who fell in love with Mollie, a prostitute from the local brothel. Depending whom you ask, you may be told that he kidnapped the girl, or…
“The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of like is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give.” —William Arthur Ward