A little bit of history
Shutdown of Enigma project from jagged team, which seemed to be the most expected unofficial add-on to JA2, really shocked all JA-fans, who were frustrated to see their hope wouldnt come true. There were only two ways left: either to wait next game from Sir-Tech or to take the initiative in doing the add-on in our own hands.
Not all the ideas and the job done by the Jagged Team have been lost in the mists of time along with Enigma and it would be a big mistake not to use these materials for creating at least a smaller project. Thats why few members of former Jagged team have decided to start a work on a new MOD. The very first idea was to create new company to the Price of Freedom (Russian localization of Unfinished Business) with weapons modification and some new NPC. With the progress of the new project it became obvious, that our dream have not gone forever. Under its influence something bigger than just regular mission built-in into main story of UB appears in the minds of developers very slowly but unpreventable despite of all encumbrances.
It is worth to mention that this project in many aspects have been inspired by JA2 fans, which regularly came together on the forum of the popular web-site Freelancer. And even more: without their help and support this project would never be started.
Shady Job: a doubtful offer
The action will take place on the small island in the East Sea (according to JA-tradition all place and names are fictitious), where our squad will oppose the forces of very powerful organization mentioned earlier in the JA previous sequels though this organization did not take any active part in the past JA events, and our new client will be nobody else but AIM itself. Storyline is not connected with Arulco or Trakona by any means and the names Deidranna and Enrico have gone forever. Only our well-known companions in arms from AIM and M.E.R.C. will follow us in the new adventure. The game will be independent from UB in everything: intelligence report in the beginning of the game will make us familiar with the place of the forthcoming operation, start and final movie will show us events in accordance with the main story, incoming letters in the laptop will be only from our employer and numerous NPC will brief us about the evens on the island.
Despite of clear interpretation of the goal of our mission in the starting letter from the client, the gamer will be able till very final events to discover new details of this Shady Job. And only in the end of the game will become clear that our travel to the strange island at first glance so haste and required is nothing else but trap organized by our opponent.
The place of the job
Though add-on will be installed on the UB, the main rules for the shady job developers are only commandments of JA2, which means the full freedom in choosing an order of the action and a direction to go. Add-on will not contain any definite sequence of taking the sectors only because it is required by the storyline as well as boring tour to the final through the gloomy underground caves will not be obligate. This does not mean of course that all possible solutions will be of the same difficulty. For example, it will be possible to go straightway to the military base guarded by tanks, or you can loose some time and make additional walking to the storehouse where you will be able to get some mortars for future battles.
Totally player will be able to visit around 100 locations and around 15 of them are underground. Our squad will find themselves in the big towns, wild forests, and military objects generally speaking in very different locations which have in common only same style of building them as well as unique attention paid to the details of each location. Besides strategic and tactical peculiarity of the locations we have paid a lot of attention to the visual attractiveness of the sectors when creating them. Three-level mountains with waterfalls, abandoned architecture monuments of the ancient civilization in bushy and almost impassable jungles, dense populated towns with a lot of buildings of the most varied purposes, fishermen villages and farms, spa areas with high-grade hotels and motels, chic beaches all these and many other things will make unique and unrepeatable aura and will allow the gamer to feel himself as a dweller of a new virtual world.
Because of technical difficulties (which are undoubtedly well known and understandable to everybody who are interested in creating or already made some new campaigns for JA series of the games and which were the reason of making after a long discussion MOD for UB, not for original JA2) developers have had to reject some strategic elements of the game. Thats why transport for moving from one sector to another (Hummer, chopper, ice-cream truck) will not be working, sci-fi mode of the game will not be realized, training of the militia in the towns will not be possible, as well as the mines as a source of money will be absent. This, regrettably, will make gameplay closer to the one in the official add-on to JA2 Unfinished business, but we will make our best to compensate this drawback with carefully developed quest aspect of the game.
The Job itself and the jobbers
The fact that it will be a fresh plot associated with a completely new place caused us to refrain from the services of the old NPCs, familiar to everybody from the previous sequels of the saga; furthermore, we incorporated a brand new quest system with new characters. Throughout the mod you will find approximately 30 NPC (and 3 hirable NPC additionally).
Speaking about the quests, it is worth mentioning that the great majority of them are optional (we call that free action principle), but they are intended to be somehow helpful to the players (gaining important information, access to the forbidden places, etc.). There are as well bonus quests and some of a pure fun.
Just one example not long before the final objective there will be an option for the player to complete a quest and get his guys to the enemys site with the lowest possible damage to them. Otherwise you will need to force your way through bunches of heavily armed thugs. Nevertheless, to find a solution for the quests will not be an easy task either. You will need to think twice and find your tactical method to pass the quest successfully Careful planning is needed and your personal skills of dealing with NPCs are required to handle the cases carefully and work out the necessary tactics What should you do if encounter two rival NPCs, each bearing an idea to remove his opponent? Maybe, consulting a third one before acting vigorously will prove to be a good idea?
Thus the player should not only find a right combination of answers while speaking with an NPC, but rather analyze and make a decision based on the previously learned information. We consider it an interesting feature that NPCs reaction towards you will vary each time you start a new game, they will react directly depending on the steps you have taken. Your actions throughout the game will modify their relationships with you, making them either your ally or your enemy.
As to your enemies, it is enough to say that the UB-editors built-in scripts will basically govern their behavior, but well try to vary them, make them work properly and just in case. For instance, a sniper will never leave his covered position and rush towards a squad of mercs, who are armed to the teeth. And a machine-gunner will not crawl in the bushes to discharge one, but deadly shot Simultaneously, youll never encounter a situation as in JA2UB, where RND-function was disabled and the same guys were always located in the same places. If the sector is inhabited by 10 enemies, the proportion of random and permanent locations will be as 2:1, that is to say, there are 2 randomized positions of your enemies for each permanent. And these random guys will be as tough as there stationary counterparts.
One of the sore points is the appearance of your opponents. JA2-fans unanimously hate red T-shirts, however, we understand that in case we change the color for, let it say, green, bad guys will loose much of its individuality. The problem was hard one. But we solved it too. There will not be regulars and admins on the island. All you will meet are elite forces (and this quite matches the game atmosphere!). Of course, that does not mean each of them will possess dramatically high parameters and fantastical toys nobody wants to neglect the game balance here and consequently loose players but now all of the bad guys will appear to be much more menacing and, let it say, stern.
We cant help saying that besides heavy tanks, peculiar to Arulco, the enemies arsenal will be strengthened by the brand new light APC, which are MOBILE!
We have still to mention about our future players. There will be three difficulty levels plus Iron Man option. Hence our team hopes that if balanced carefully these options will please both novice and hardcore players. Well, no matter how tough is the opponent, any will fall before almighty Save and load option J But we consider it is more difficult to assault enemys military facilities then it was in JA2 and Unfinished Business. But that is because of architectural features of these military installations.
The tools for the job
We decided to change slightly the weapons in the game while assembling the mod. No need to say why the decision was made, besides, the innovations seem to be quite conspicuous:
TEC-DC9 (start pistol)
Two-handed SMG and Assault Rifles
HK UMP 45
AUG Para 9mm
As you may see, there are still some old weapons in the list, but its images will be improved greatly, parameters will be modified and the sounds will be rewritten. As to machine-guns, we are working under implementation of the cartridge belts with the capacity of 100 120 rounds, thereupon it is unclear still which machine-guns will be picked. The images of all the objects (such as first aid and medical kits, flasks, cammo kits, etc.) will be rewritten and some unused items (soda can, Golf Club, Rubber Band) will be linked with quests. The parameters of the grenades will be revised, that is to say, both your and enemy men have a little chance to survive now an explosion of a grenade in the nearest tile.