In 1991, Capcom gave action fans a treat by releasing a sequel to its arcade and NES hit Commando. Featuring simultaneous play for up to three characters and copious amounts of firepower and explosions, MERCS was a major success, and it was eventually ported to the Genesis. Though it lost a player along the way, Capcom made up for it by adding an excellent original mode that extended the game’s longevity and made it a solid entry in the Genesis’ run-‘n-gun library.
Now, the company is revisiting the franchise on Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network. As we detailed in our preview, Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 throws players into the fray once more, offering co-op play for three players either online or locally. Interested in seeing how the latest sequel in the franchise holds up against its classic predecessors and eager for some more Commando action, we tracked down the game’s associate producer, Rey Jimenez, for some Q&A.
Sega-16: How did the decision come about to revisit the Commando franchise?
Rey Jimenez: We were looking for a series to update that really fit nicely into what was being released on XBLA and PSN. Having recently completed the Capcom Classics Collection series, we had Commando and Mercs freshly in our minds. After seeing how popular shooters like Geometry Wars were, we felt that the Commando series would be a perfect game to work with.
Sega-16: Where’s Super Joe? Does he make an appearance in the game?
Rey Jimenez: Super Joe, unfortunately, does not make an appearance in the game.
Sega-16: One of the main characters is wearing the same uniform and gear as the MERCS. How much did Backbone draw from that classic for Wolf of the Battlefield?
Rey Jimenez: As a sequel in the series, much of the design was inspired by the original games. From levels, vehicles, character, weapons, to power up icons. We needed to make sure that while the game felt fresh and new, while still paying homage to the original stuff to make this game workable in the Commando series.
Sega-16: Did Backbone ever use the Genesis version of MERCS for ideas, or did they stick to the arcade version only?
Rey Jimenez: Backbone was very familiar with the arcade version of the game having used the old Mercs arcade boards to make our compilations so any reference from Mercs was done from the arcade version.
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Sega-16: Are we going to see any character-building elements, like in the original mode of the Genesis version of MECS or side objectives, like saving the hidden POWs in the NES version of Commando?
Rey Jimenez: Commando 3 will contain all of the classic elements that made the series. There will be hidden POWs to rescue as well as power ups to the characters weapons.
Sega-16: This looks like it’s filled with great run-‘n-gun action. How long will it more or less take three players to go through the game?
Rey Jimenez: Of course, the gameplay time will vary due to skill and how thorough the player is, but gamers can expect thirty to forty minutes of hardcore playing time. A scale that’s very reminiscent of the old school arcade games.
Sega-16: It’s going to be great to finally be able to play co-op in this franchise on a console. How central is the multi-player to the gameplay? Aside from the scaling difficulty, are there any multi-player specific dynamics, like puzzles or obstacles?
Rey Jimenez: There are no multi-player specific puzzles or obstacles, but personally, the vehicle sections of the game aren’t as satisfying for me unless I have a friend riding shotgun and another manning a turret.
Sega-16: Tell us more about the “comprehensive scoring” system.
Rey Jimenez: The scoring will be based on a traditional multiplier system. The more enemies a player kills without getting hit, their score will start to be multiplied. The longer they last, the higher the multiplier will go, all the way up to 24X.
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Sega-16: Is Backbone looking at any other classic Capcom franchises for possible updates?
Rey Jimenez: I’m afraid I’m going to have to give you the corporate answer by saying “At this time, Capcom has not announced a new classic arcade game being developed by Backbone.” Sorry about that, but you guys will have to keep an eye on Capcom.com for news on that front.
You can bet we’ll be glued to Capcom’s site for any details about new sequels or ports! We’d like to thank Mr. Jimenez for answering our questions, and a big thanks goes out to Tim Ng of Capcom for making the interview possible.