The sequel to 2008's borderline bromantic shooter Army of Two is out now (our review is coming up), so publisher/developer Electronic Arts has taken a retrospective look at its predecessor, admitting its faults.
EA Montreal (EAM) developed both titles, which are focused on killing terrorists for money in multiple locations and eras, including Afghanistan circa 2001 and Iraq circa 2003. EAM boss Alain Tascan says the company "got carried away" with the premise, and despite it being lighthearted in nature, that doesn't make it okay:
"The mistake we made was we thought that what is going to make a certain type of person laugh, is going to make everybody laugh. The reality is, you can laugh off everything but not with everybody."
"When we mixed killing in North Africa, killing terrorists for money and then fist pumping and saying something funny afterwards, in a place where real life our troops are dying, people just felt whatever the game is, this is wrong. You can't do that. People from the left thought we were on the right; people from the right thought we were on the left. We were able to piss off a lot of people."
The first game was a hit; nevertheless, the studio has toned down the behaviour some in The 40th Day, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
"We needed to correct that," Tascan added, "because it was taking away from what the game was. Some people focused so much on that they didn't see the game. They just thought, how can you do that? My brother is in Afghanistan and in Iraq, you cannot do this kind of thing. We got carried away. The reality is we have real recordings from mercenaries in the field, and let me tell you, we took ten percent in the first game of what was said in war."
"But it's not like in the movies; it's not appropriate. What we're discovering, now that we're a mass market entertainment medium, is, like movies, we have to filter. What would be the reality via our medium? And things evolve. Television evolves and movies evolve. We have to respect that, and we've learned good ways to do that. The new one I feel is still very funny, but at least it's more Bruce Willis funny than Steven Seagal funny."