Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
There Have Been few games in recent years that have divided opinion so decisively as the original Call of Juarez. One thing all who played it agreed on was that the decision to include a Bible-wielding, dual pistols-sporting religious zealot with a righteous cause was inspired. And so Techland put him, Ray McCall, in the prequel, Bound in Blood. Sadly without a Bible this time.
But McCall's lack of religiosity didn't matter that much, as the game turned out to be excellent, sanding down some of the rough edges and doing away with irritating young adults, long-winded mountain climbing sequences and box puzzles.
We spoke to Pawel Kopinski about how brothers Ray and Thomas McCall and their friends and enemies all came to be born.
"Each brother posed an entirely different sort of challenge. Ray was an established and fully developed character in the original game and we had to show the way which led him there. Thomas, on the other hand, was an entirely new factor, as his role in the first Call of Juarez was r revealed through Ray's tale about his brother. "In Bound in Blood we needed to make him a credible catalyst for important events in the storyline, and an enjoyable yet entirely different companion for Ray.
"While being uncompromising gunslingers, both characters play differently and narrate their story from slightly varying points of view, which was our goal from the beginning. Some people prefer Ray's toughness and explosive temper while others see the appeal of Thomas and his indirect approach. Giving players this choice was as important as making the McCall duo feel right from the storyline perspective."
"We consider Bound in Blood to be an improvement in every respect over its predecessor. It's bigger, much more advanced from a technical point of view and runs great on all three platforms. Maps are larger and more diverse, with more varied gameplay. There are also many additions we're very happy with: the new gun duels, control schemes and the cover system contribute to the mood, feel and pace of the game.
"All that doesn't make us any less proud of the original Call of Juarez, though. We managed to create one of the more memorable protagonists in FPS games in Brother Ray, and we got excellent marks for graphics, voice acting and story.
"We definitely learned a lot during its development, and will always remember it as our first foray into the world of multi-platforni production."
"There are all sorts of things which pop up during brainstorming sessions and design discussions. This usually happens early on but new features and functionality can be added at any stage. The cover system is an example of something which was implemented late in the development process. We toyed with an idea of using the lasso as a weapon, capturing enemies and dragging them behind a horse Thrown tomahawks were also brought up as an idea.
"The truth is that looking through the finished product, some of the early suggestions look a bit embarrassing. While they're an essential part of the creative process, developers don't necessarily want to talk about them in detail."
Knowing the story of the original Call of Juarez, anyone could have predicted at least a part of Bound in Bloods ending. Indeed, it was always the way our writers plan, and many of the little clues in the first COJ are proof of that. We weren't planning for a prequel outright but the story of the important characters was designed back in 2006.
"Of course there was still a lot of work to do for Bound in Blood, we had to fill in the details, choose specific locations, dialogue and design new characters but the key events were already there. This is our approach to story in games: the characters have to make sense when they first appear on screen. Their motivations and background must 'click' with the idea for the game."
"It was a tough decision not to include campaign co-op, primarily influenced by a couple of important factors. First of all, we knew from the beginning that the McCall brothers would gradually turn against each other. This growing conflict, not a cheerful camaraderie, is really the focus of the story.
"Secondly, the production schedule was very tight. We might have set some records for a project of this level of quality and scope. Some features were just too resource-intensive to fit in. It's always difficult to pick one thing over the other, but the positive critical reception and feedback from the community prove that Bound in Blood is a game well worth the gamers' time."
Bows And Arrows
"Compare Call of Duty to Call of Juarez? That's utterly ridiculous! We may have bows but we don't have nightvision or Middle Eastern dictators! Every game represents a chapter in the history of videogames and the Call of Duty series is one of the more important ones. We never endeavoured to mimic it, but seeing Call of Juarez in such company is a compliment. Bound in Blood has enough character and unique mood and feel that it can be defined without resorting to other games.
"By the way, bows are certainly fun to use in single and multiplayer, but there's a ton of other cool Western weapons in the game, including hybrid revolvers and Gatling guns."
At the start of the development process we gathered all the feedback we could find regarding the first COJ. From the top of the list of things players liked the most we had to pick a finite number of features to leave us room for new ones. Mountain climbing just didn't make it. After all, there's a ton of other fun things to do in Bound in Blood. Just no mountain climbing. Or Billy.
"We never really considered making the whole thing free-roaming like Oblivion or that sort of thing. We had a great story to tell and we wanted to focus on it. More control over the player's path also means a more controlled pace (which is a fancy way of saying 'non-stop action').
"To offset this a bit, our maps are much more open-ended and spacious than in other linear first-person shooters, giving players some breathing room and the opportunity to admire all the natural environments where our Chrome Engine 4 can really shine."
Download Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP