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Reboot #2: Hogs of War

The purpose of Reboot is to consider a retro title and discuss why it should receive an update on the modern generation of hardware.

Developer: Infogrames Entertainment, SA
Publisher: Infogrames Europe
Format: Playstation, PC
Release Date: 6/8/2000

What is it? Why was it good?

A brilliantly conceived worms-like, trajectory based warfare game featuring pigs voiced by eighties comic actor Rik Mayal. Maps were intricately designed three dimensional playgrounds, featuring minefields, operational artillery, zeppelins that dropped power-ups, winding rivers and varying topography. It took turn based warfare and let players run riot.

Your team of Hogs, all based on different countries, had to wipe out the opposing forces. The single player campaign featured a streak of progressively more difficult maps, where the idea was to take over five different regions, all occupied by different porcine nationalities. The story was punctuated with bleakly amusing monochrome footage of pigs going to war.

Hogs were rewarded medals for their victories, this allowed a promotion system where new weapons could be unlocked throughout the campaign. Promotional classes were divided into heavy, medic, engineer and espionage. All had their own specific weaponry and abilities. Should a hog die in battle too often, they would  permanently expire from the team, meaning there was always that extra incentive to look after your pigs.

As usual with games of this genre, the real meat was in the multi-player. Handed with a generous amount of mostly excellent maps and four player death match, the real fun stemmed from playing three opponents in the same room.

The standard of map design was generally excellent, featuring winding mountain paths, a hedge maze, small islands adjoined by thin bridges and snowy mountain regions amongst many other highlights. There was nothing quite like sniping an enemy off the top of an icy mountain, for them to slide onto a minefield, be blown forty feet into the air only to land in the sea and drown. The ability to climb into massive turrets that provide the hogs with extra health and were capable of dealing out hideous damage was a very welcome addition.

A varied array of weapons and accessories was available. Here we have the incredibly risky jet-pack, which more often than not ended in disaster.

Why the Reboot?

The genre is dying and Hogs of War could be a title to finally take the vice grip from the  Worms series, which appears to be getting lazier and lazier. Unlike Worms, HOW managed 3D combat successfully. The crux with these games is always the multi-player, which was not accessible in the days of the Playstation. Yes, it’s true these games are better with four people sat around a single TV set, but more often than not there isn’t the means to do this. Which is why Xbox Live or PSN are the ideal candidate for a relaunch. The price point for downloadable titles would be far more fitting as opposed to an expensive full game release.

The online functionality of both consoles would give the perfect opportunity to indulge in multi-player. Add to this the prospect of a plethora of silly unlockables to decorate your team, the promotion system implemented into multi-player and the benefits of leader boards and statistics that are comparable with friends, and we’re onto a winning formula.

This will not end well.

Chance of it happening ?

In 2008 Hogs of War II appeared on a release schedule for Nintendo Wii. Since then however it is believed the game was cancelled because Infogrames were experiencing financial difficulties. Unfortunately nothing has been mentioned of the title since. The Infogrames studio now operates under the Atari banner for brand recognition purposes. In 2009 Inforgrames posted a yearly net loss of 319 million dollars. The chances of the company taking a punt on relaunching a follow up to Hogs of War are extremely slim.

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