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Pandemic

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A look at the Mercenaries 3 you'll never play


Nov 15
// Nick Chester
// When Pandemic closed up shop last year, it was in the middle of developing the third game in its open-world Mercenaries games for Electronic Arts. The game was called Mercenaries 3: No Limits, and this video (obtained b...
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Ex-Pandemic devs make fun of EA in new iPhone game


Mar 29
// Jim Sterling
Who says that being laid off can't be fun? Four victims of Electronic Arts' Pandemic closure created their own studio -- suitably named Downsized Games -- and have taken to that most lucrative of ventures, iPhone game develop...
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Helicopters in Mercs Inc. concept art, confirmed


Jan 18
// Brad Nicholson
It didn’t take long for an ex-Pandemic Studios staffer to leak an unannounced project after EA handed out pink slips. Our first glimpse of Mercs Inc. followed news of the closure, but to our surprise, it was later confi...

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LEGOs and blasts: Why I placed TNT on cows in Saboteur


Dec 16
// Brad Nicholson
Sure, the structures in The Saboteur burst into chunks when RDX (remote TNT) is applied, but does one of the most common farm flesh-bags react the same way?The answer is yes.In the latest Electronic Arts podcast, EA.com&rsqu...
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EA brings The Saboteur to life in live-action spots


Dec 16
// Nick Chester
Ubisoft's not the only publisher who can bring its games (Assassin's Creed 2) to life. Electronic Arts has just released two live action videos set in the world of Pandemic's The Saboteur.  Both spots are surprisingly h...
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Ten Minute Taste: The Saboteur


Dec 10
// Brad Nicholson
You’ve watched delicate dancers gyrate with bouncing breasts exposed, now consider watching nine more minutes captured from the opening of Pandemic’s The Saboteur, the studio’s last release before EA closed...
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EA: Saboteur sequel could happen if first one sells


Dec 07
// Jim Sterling
With the death of Pandemic and Electronic Arts not exactly putting its marketing weight behind the thing, a sequel for The Saboteur seems unlikely. Nevertheless, EA has said that a sequel could come ... provided enough people...

Review: The Saboteur

Dec 05 // Jim Sterling
The Saboteur (PC, PS3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: PandemicPublisher: Electronic ArtsReleased: December 8, 2009MSRP: $59.99 Claiming to be based on a true story, The Saboteur revolves around Irish race car driver Sean Devlin. After accidentally getting involved in a struggle between the Nazis and the British government, Sean winds up in occupied France with nothing but a love for drink and a bitter hatred of the Third Reich. Naturally, Devlin becomes prime recruitment material for the French Resistance, and starts his career as the saboteur. The Saboteur's plot is the first big surprise. The opening cutscene seems forced and uninspired, attempting to explain the premise far too quickly and unbelievably. However, the game's narrative swiftly becomes intriguing and finds its groove almost immediately after the first mission, helped along by the extremely likable Sean and his detestable nemesis, Kurt Dierker. While The Saboteur's plot is not exactly high-brow philosophical material, it's wonderfully placed and feels like a classic action movie. It also has an highly memorable and rather brilliant ending that's well worth playing towards. Sean Devlin's mission is to find and kill Dierker, but he has much work to do in the meantime. Occupied France needs inspiration, and Sean is the man to provide it. As The Saboteur begins, much of Paris has been completely downtrodden by the Nazis, and the oppression has been represented in quite a classy way. Most of the game is in black-and-white, with only red, yellow and blue providing any sort of color. This lends the game a Sin City look that is not only visually striking, but makes for a great way to easily identify Nazi targets and Resistance allies. It also looks very, very cool. As Sean completes missions, he "inspires" certain sections of the city, and the black-and-white becomes flooded with color. In colorful areas, the French citizens are more likely to fight back against the Nazis and it becomes easier to defend against attacking German forces. While this has no huge bearing on the gameplay, the shift from monochrome to color as Sean drives around Paris is so stylish that the game deserves points for pure visual innovation alone. In a way, I almost wish Pandemic had been bold enough to do away with the color entirely and have the whole game in black-and-white, although I can understand that this might have been a bit too risky. Fortunately, visual trickery is not the only thing that The Saboteur has going for it. Clearly taking a cue from Grand Theft Auto, there are plenty of missions dotted around Paris that Sean can complete at will, performing sabotage missions for the Resistance. Although the missions generally draw from a limited pool of tasks, they each feel quite different, keeping the game feeling fresh and unique. At any given moment you can be blowing up a chemical factory, assassinating a Nazi general or breaking a rebel leader out of a prison camp. If you enjoyed the "revenge fantasy" aspect of Inglorious Basterds, then The Saboteur will give you plenty of Nazis to project your murderous urges onto. Sean has a number of skills at his disposal. First of all, he can scale buildings to get better vantage points or hide from pursuing Nazis. The climbing system in The Saboteur is actually quite well crafted. While getting up a building is not as fast as it is in parkour-based games like Assassin's Creed, it's easily the least frustrating and well-crafted climbing system I've ever seen. This is due to the fact that the climbable ledges of a building are subtly highlighted whenever you point the right stick in their direction, and you can highlight different surfaces by rotating it. This allows you to efficiently and methodically chart Sean's course up the side of the building and stops him randomly going where you don't want him to -- something other games simply haven't nailed down yet. Stealth is also an optional skill. When Sean is being watched a Nazi, an exclamation point appears on the HUD. By avoiding detection, Sean can sneak into restricted territory, allowing him to complete a mission without raising the alarm. He can also stealth kill enemies from behind, as well as commandeer their clothes to disguise himself as a Nazi. When dressed as a Nazi, Sean will have to be careful not to get too close to a Nazi or break character by running and climbing, left the "suspicion meter" raises. When the suspicion meter is full, the Nazis will raise the alarm and Sean will have to escape the red circle on the minimap, find a hiding spot, or acquire a new disguise without being seen. The climbing and the stealth are nice thoughts, but in practice they simply don't compare to kicking the door in and shooting everything in sight. The climbing is a bit too slow and the stealth seems horribly broken, not helped by the fact that Nazis are literally everywhere, meaning you can rarely break character when disguised without being seen. It can also take a long time to lower the alarm when Nazis are pursuing Sean, since they follow him so doggedly. Shaking the Nazis can often be a frustrating affair, and you can end up miles away from where you want to be before you've effectively slipped their grasp. Still, the fact there the options are there is a great bonus, and it's great that if you do mess up the stealth or one plan of action fails miserably, you can easily find cover and shoot your way out with a little determination. There are loads of optional missions as well, the most important being the destruction objectives. Every time Sean destroys an important Nazi installation, he will earn "contraband" which can be spent on guns, abilities and ammo at the black market. Installations are littered all over the city, and include sniper towers, armored cars, search lights, and fuel stations among many more. By sneaking over to each installation, planting some dynamite, and sneaking out, Sean can blow these important places to smithereens and earn cash. It can get quite repetitive, but it's so addictive that it rarely matters. You always needs to be carrying some dynamite, because you never know what tempting explosion fodder you will pass on your daily activities. Sean can hijack and store cars in the garage. Each new car stored in the garage can be spawned from any garage in town, and you can get all sorts of neat vehicles like Gestapo cruisers or Sturmwagons. There is also a "Perk" system in the game that gives Sean new abilities and skills, such as the option to summon help from Resistance soldiers, or stealth kill enemies from the front. None of the Perks are especially game-changing, but they're still a cool addition. Although The Saboteur is packed full of great content, there are definitely some problems holding it back. For one, the control is incredibly stiff in the game and Sean can be difficult to move around. You eventually get used to it, but the first hour is spent with Sean feeling incredibly unwieldy. This isn't helped by the fact that the camera moves too slow while weapon aiming moves too fast. It's as if Pandemic somehow got them the wrong way round. The game's automatic cover system is also rather loose and could do with some work, since Sean seems willing to stick to cover only when he feels like it. The game can be very frustrating combat-wise, with Germans more than happy to surround you from all sides, even on the lowest alarm level. By the time you've gotten the alarm up to level five, with zeppelin, gestapo and Luftwaffe chasing you, you may as well bite the bullet and die. Nevertheless, despite the game's multiple issues, nothing is game breaking enough to take away from what is a great and unique experience. Pandemic has done an amazing thing by taking two tired old videogame standbys -- WWII and sandbox gameplay -- and combining them to create something fresh, with its own character and charm. The Saboteur manages to copy nearly all its mechanics and systems from other games, yet never feels derivative. It is both a paradox and a rare, rare treat. The Saboteur is not just one of 2009's biggest surprises -- it's THE big surprise of 2009. Despite its humble promotion, the lament that it was sent out to die, and the death of developer Pandemic, The Saboteur is a terrific experience deserving of more accolades and attention that it will ever receive. It looks terrific, it has a fun story with a wonderful main character, and addictive gameplay that allows you to explode Nazis again and again and again. As if that wasn't enough, there are plenty of sexy ladies to keep things ticking as well. If The Saboteur is to be Pandemic's final game, then it's safe to say that Pandemic ended on a very high note indeed. Score: 8.5 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)
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World War II games are a penny a dozen, having earned a reputation as one of the most overused settings in videogame history. Likewise, the open world genre has been exploited so often and so shamelessly that the whole idea o...

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High costs of California to blame for Pandemic closure


Dec 04
// Jordan Devore
Since neither The Lord of the Rings: Conquest or Mercenaries 2: World in Flames were met with warm reception, the Internet seems to have collectively decided that the widespread layoffs at Pandemic and integration into EALA w...
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The Saboteur released in the UK today, and those who purchase the game brand new are in for a sordid treat. Pandemic's last hurrah is getting launch DLC known as "The Midnight Show" that will allow players to toggle nudity on...

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Here's what Pandemic's canceled Mercs Inc. looked like


Nov 24
// Jordan Devore
The pain of Pandemic Studio's closure is starting to intensify, now that footage of a canceled project has reared its head. It's a multiplayer-only game called Mercenaries Incorporated, and it looks rather cool. Thank goodnes...
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Pandemic goes out in a blaze of glory


Nov 23
// Jordan Devore
With the closing of Pandemic Studios, maker of Mercenaries and The Saboteur, and most of its staff now out of a job, things have been looking gloomy. But during such a sad time, you've always got to look on the brighter side...
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Saboteur 'sent out to die,' Pandemic closure was 'right'


Nov 19
// Jim Sterling
It was incredibly surprising to hear that Pandemic -- a studio hard at work on the The Saboteur -- had been eradicated by Electronic Arts during a wave of layoffs. Despite the surprising turn of events, however, a former Pand...
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Rumor: Pandemic Studios to close soon


Nov 17
// Brad Nicholson
If sources have it right, then EA is to make Pandemic Studios no more after this afternoon.According to a Kotaku report, several unnamed sources have said that the studio responsible for Mercenaries and the still-upcoming The...
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New screens for The Saboteur do not have any sex in them


Nov 10
// Jim Sterling
If you thought that Pandemic's The Saboteur was all about brothels and boobs, then you're going to be faintly disappointed, because apparently there's more to it than that. While there's plenty of wartime flesh on display, yo...
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Confirmed: The Saboteur can destroy planes, smack Nazis


Oct 21
// Brad Nicholson
Our brains are now jammed with thoughts of big October games like Uncharted 2 or Borderlands. And it doesn’t look like November will be easier on ye’ old big pile of pink mush with Left 4 Dead 2 and Call of Duty: ...
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Watch The Saboteur's Devlin do things in recent vids


Oct 09
// Brad Nicholson
There’s more to The Saboteur than Naahzi killing and color restoration. As an open-world action title, the game’s protagonist, Shaun Devlin, has incredible freedom in his environment. He can interact with people, ...
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The Saboteur smacks a Nazi, rides a train in new screens


Oct 05
// Brad Nicholson
Sean Devlin is something of a bruiser. Lacking a symbiote, and to our knowledge, not carrying some sort of mutagenic virus, the protagonist of the The Saboteur has to handle his business with the might of his fists and his fl...
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Today, spies slipped me an unreleased promo trailer that shows off The Sabotuer's pre-order item -- a Nazi dagger -- in action. From GameStop.com: Reserve your copy of The Saboteur today and make your enemies die at...

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Pandemic: Everyone should beat The Saboteur for its story


Sep 23
// Jordan Devore
What's worse, a videogame that is so easy it becomes a chore to play, or one that is so cheap, so frustrating, that you never get to see how the narrative plays out? It's a tough call, and one we usually don't have to make if...
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GC 09: New The Saboteur trailer is oddly upbeat


Aug 20
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
For a game that’s supposed to be set in Paris during World War II, where the main character is out for revenge, a trailer using Flogging Molly’s “The Seven Deadly Sins” feels pretty out of place. Thank...
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Pandemic's The Saboteur hits shelves December 8


Jul 21
// Nick Chester
Electronic Arts has announced that it will ship Pandemic Studios' The Saboteur to retail on December 8, for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Taking place during the 1940s Nazi-occupation of France, The Saboteur is unique in b...

Pandemic tells us about The Saboteur's setting

Jun 17 // Brad Nicholson
It’s hard to explain how I felt while receiving my mini-tour of the game’s rendition of Paris. Watching the Zeppelins hovering above the horizon steadily grow larger as we passed Paris’ many landmarks was exciting. Seeing the game’s protagonist Sean climbing buildings, rolling up to an ancient countryside fortress in a supply truck were equally impressive. The exaggeration works."Like I said, we don’t even really think of our game as a WWII game, it’s the backdrop to our game which gives us arguably the best real world bad guys of all time," French told us. "Our game is big, over the top, and filled with lots of high action. Mechanically we’re so different from those games too and the 'kitchen sink' of tools we have for the player make for something that’s even different in just the sandbox genre as well.  It’s also got a different world than people are used to seeing in this time period, full of grit, personal stories, and real characters."Alas, I never touched the controller during the demonstration of the game and therefore didn’t have the opportunity to explore myself. Still, The Saboteur is definitely a game to keep on your radar.
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The Saboteur’s story takes place during World War II. It’s en vogue to call Pandemic Studio’s choice of time period mundane. There’s some merit to it: after all, we have explored this great confrontati...

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The Saboteur's main story will take 12-18 hours to complete


Jun 11
// Brad Nicholson
I left The Saboteur E3 2009 demonstration impressed by Pandemic Studios’ commitment to making its open-world action title different. There aren’t any mutants or a twisted protagonist. The city isn’t a wastel...
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E3 09: First peek at The Saboteur


Jun 01
// Dale North
The Saboteur looks hot from what we've seen this afternoon. Pandemic's Tom French took the stage today at Los Angeles' Orpheum Theater during EA's press conference to show off their latest in a quick real-time demo for attend...
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E3 09: New The Saboteur screens show the dark side of Paris


Jun 01
// 8BitBrian
Everything is darker in Paris, or at least when the Nazis are around. Unless you consider the glow of their blood on the walls to be brightening. Pandemic's title has been buzzing about the office recently, what with the trai...
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The Saboteur is feeling good, proves it in new trailer


May 30
// Jim Sterling
Now this, my friends, is how you do a trailer. It's stylish, it's classy, and it features Nazis being thrown off buildings and covering other Nazis in their blood. What more could you need for a successful video? The only thi...
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As I mentioned yesterday; I'm back with yet another exciting round of interviews for Pandemic's newest title; The Saboteur. This time we spoke with Tom French in order to discuss the game's plot. Until now, I'm sure ther...

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When I first heard of the unique use of color involved with The Saboteur, I kept a keen eye out for an opportunity to sit down with the art director. I got the opportunity to do just that during my last visit to Pandemic Stu...

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The Saboteur is looking sexy in these new images


Apr 24
// Jim Sterling
Electronic Arts has revealed some brand new screenshots and artwork for Pandemic-developed Nazi-punching game The Saboteur. Taking the open-world style of game to Nazi-occupied Paris is an interesting idea, and it looks like ...

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