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In the early 2000s, World War 2 shooters were seemingly everywhere. Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, and an endless stream of clones and knock-offs pervaded both personal computers and home consoles. While fun, these experiences were often formulaic, casting players time and time again as frontline soldiers in bombastic, but heavily scripted action sequences across the war’s greatest flashpoints. Running and gunning alone into the thick of battle was the name of the game, with little in the way of realism.
In the midst of this glut of homogenous experiences, one series of World War 2 shooters stood out above the rest: Brothers in Arms. Developed by Gearbox Software and published by Ubisoft, Brothers in Arms emphasized real-world tactics and teamwork over mindless gunplay, forcing players to work together with their in-game allies to overcome conflicts.
While Brothers in Arms would experience a wave of popularity following its debut in 2005, bolstered by its affecting narrative and unique gameplay, its fame would gradually wane overtime. Changing market conditions, a stream of middling mobile releases, and Gearbox Software’s shifting priorities would slowly but surely drown the series out of the public conscience. And though there is reason to hope that the series may yet live again, an ill-fated attempt to revitalize the series in 2011 suggests that a new entry may still be far on the horizon.
This is the rise and fall of Brothers in Arms.
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