Hey everyone! Has there ever been a point when you’re looking through your gaming library and wondered, “Huh, I wonder whatever happened to this series?” Well, I’ll be taking a look at videogame franchises and the lead up to their eventual absence. With that being said, today I’ll be asking the question: “Whatever Happened to Call of Juarez?”
So, although some time has passed since then, the gaming community is still going nuts over the announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2: The Redempting… or whatever they choose to call it. Now, I’m also quite excited for the release of the much anticipated sequel, but it feels like Red Dead has put a stranglehold on the market of western based videogames. Luckily, there are more titles out there than just the Rockstar juggernaut, but what happened to them? One of these major heavy hitters is the critically acclaimed franchise Call of Juarez.
Now when discussing Call of Juarez, an interesting thing to point out about this franchise is the amount of praise it had before vanishing. Usually a series has a couple of bad apples before kicking the bucket, but Call of Juarez is different in that regard. The last entry to the franchise, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, was seen by fans and critics as being overall well-made and a welcome addition to the series. With that being said, let’s go through a bit of gaming history to see where things went astray.
The first game on the list is simply titled Call of Juarez. Released in 2006 and created by Techland, makers of Dead Island and Dying Light, Call of Juarez was a western based action-adventure game that made a real impact in an industry where games such as Darkwatch and Gun had left their mark. The game was well-received and amounted to decent scores across the board by critics, praising the mechanics but pointing out the overall bland design.
Next up is Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. A prequel to the original game released in 2009, this title follows the journey of brothers Ray and Thomas McCall, both of whom are featured in the first game. Bound in Blood is, more or less, considered to be the best that the series has to offer. However, that argument could be made for the previously mentioned Gunslinger.
Following Bound in Blood is the most lacking of all the entries to this franchise, Call of Juarez: The Cartel which came out in 2011. Now the previous two titles were set in the old west, but The Cartel took a different approach and removed the western feel for a more modern day look, a move that would prove to be the downfall for the game as a whole. This, coupled alongside issues such as a trophy that one earns for killing 40 or more African-American enemies in a certain section of the game, are major reasons why The Cartel did as poorly as it did and was dismissed as largely as it was.
Moving along to the final title in this series after the lackluster event that was The Cartel, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. Starring the one and only, Silas Graves! While I have a personal soft spot in my heart for Silas; this game is actually really well done. Unfortunately, it was only released on PSN, PC and XBL, therefore it didn’t have an actual console release. Regardless of this, Gunslinger was praised by critics and was a huge success for the series as a whole, bringing back duels from Bound in Blood and storytelling aspects from… well, Bound in Blood, thus leading it to a much more favourable reception than it’s predecessor.
So where did things go wrong? Well, to take a shoot in the dark, I’d like to think it was lack of interest overall. Call of Juarez has always been a popular franchise but, like Bulletstorm, popular things don’t always sell. This is especially relevant due to the fact that Gunslinger couldn’t garner a full boxed console release. Now, I’ve heard rumors that there is a new Call of Juarez waiting in the wings for 2017 but we’ll have to wait and see if things pan out the way they do. In the meantime, do yourself a favour and check out this incredible series! Until next time!