You won't be seeing Brothers In Arms: Furious Four anymore, developer Gearbox announced at their PAX Prime panel today. They haven't canceled the game, though. They've just changed it so much that it's now an entirely new game.
When it was announced at E3 2011, Brothers in Arms: Furious Four immediately drew comparisons to the Quentin Tarantino World War II revenge fantasy Inglorious Basterds. It also drew skepticism for being such a divergence from the thoughtful and dramatic war narratives that Brothers in Arms games have delivered so far.
In 2011 Ubisoft's Nourredine Abboud admitted to Kotaku that the publisher and Gearbox had at that point run out of ideas for what to do next in the series, but Ubisoft was insistent at the time that it wasn't going to go four years between Hell's Highway and the next Brothers in Arms release. The romping, comic-booky cooperative shooter in Furious Four is what they settled on.
"If we had a great idea of what would be the best sequel to Brothers in Arms, we would have done it," Abboud said at the time. "Maybe the next wave of consoles will give us some ideas of what to do that is new and different."
Then in May there was speculation that the lack of news and trademark abandonment spelled cancelation for the title. But Gearbox stated that the trademark issues were due to logistics, and later that the game was not being canceled, it was simply "evolving."
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True to their word, Gearbox revealed today that the evolution has expanded so far from the original title that they've decided to turn it into a new IP and rename it. There's no word yet on a release timeline or what that game is going to be called.
This doesn't mean that the most astute of Brothers in Arms fans won't recognize the details left in from the franchise. There are still references in this new game, perhaps even some skills that are descendants of those in Furious Four. But the team has taken the game into such a different direction that it no longer resembles the franchise they were initially iterating on.
Gearbox's Randy Pitchford told me in a meeting that when the game re-emerges it won't be a Brothers in Arms game at all. He explained that by unshackling themselves from the Brothers in Arms franchise the team was able to go wild with new features. Pitchford mentioned Borderlands 1's combination genre—half first-person shooter, half RPG—and hinted that this new IP will also venture into a hybrid genre path, though he wouldn't speak to what exactly that will be.
"Our Pokémon has evolved," he cheerfully explained. "It has different powers." Gearbox plans on making a re-announcement soemtime in the future.
Pitchford also teased plans to reveal more on the Brothers in Arms franchise during their community day later this month on September 15, which could very well have to do with an earlier tease he made at E3.