Ubisoft and Techland's upcoming digital release, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger will challenge what players know of the Wild West by telling a broader story of the time period, according to the developer.
Speaking to Polygon, Techland's Blazej Krakowiak said that where previous Call of Juarez games focus on the stories and lives of their protagonists, Gunslinger tries to "say something more about the broader Wild West."
"Instead of focusing on individuals and their families, we wanted to tell the stories of the larger-than-life characters that were born from the Wild West," Krakowiak told Polygon. "So we asked ourselves: 'who would our protagonist be in order for him to meet all these people?' And we thought that an actual bounty hunter — not like Boba Fett — but a real bounty hunter with a backstory that connects him to these events would make sense."
The player is placed in the shoes of Silas Greaves who, through his work as a bounty hunter, must track down some of the folk heroes and villains that have become synonymous with the Wild West like Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Pat Garrett.
The first-person shooter is entirely narrated by Greaves. It begins with him entering a saloon to recount stories of his adventures and, as he narrates his stories, the player experiences them in the game. Greaves has an audience in the saloon and, if they challenge him and accuse him of exaggerating or lying, Greaves may change his story. If the story is changed, the player's game also changes.
"The narrator is not only here as a unique feature in the shooter, but it's a way of controlling and even changing the story," Krakowiak said. "This plays really well in the Wild West because when you look at the Wild West right now in pop culture, it's a mix of mystery and myth and fiction. People idolize the outlaws of the time and have made them into folk heroes — almost superheroes — but today many of them would just be criminals or serial killers.
"Our character is someone who has been there and has actually participated in many of those events and has his own side of the story, so maybe this will get people thinking of what really happened," Krakowiak said. "If he is telling his story and the people in the saloon are saying he is full of shit, maybe the truth is different from what we know."
Krakowiak said the game isn't trying to teach history, "but if we can get people thinking of the Wild West in a different way, that would definitely be nice."
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is coming to Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and Windows PC in 2013.
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