Over the weekend, Pandemic Studios quietly began dropping hints on its official Web site as to the subject of one of the four unnamed games it currently has in development. The title in question, code-named "Project Q," suddenly got a subsite with a photo gallery of various military scenes with semi-ironic captions. One showed a rocket-propelled grenade with the subtitle "centerfold," another showed a V-22 Osprey airlifting a Humvee over the word "valet," and another of a F-117 Stealth fighter dropping a JDAM-guided bomb above the caption "candygram."
Many took the photos as not-so-subtle hints that Pandemic was readying a sequel to its darkly humorous free-roaming military actioner, Mercenaries. Sure enough, today the company announced that it is indeed readying a second entry in the series. Titled Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, the game will be on display at the Electronic Entertainment Expo next week.
Pandemic gave a brief, vague description of Mercenaries 2 in its announcement. According to the developer, the game will offer "a whole new 'playground of destruction' from the ground up, fully stocked with the hottest vehicles and weapons. Set in a new and exotic hotspot, you can be your own boss in a wide-open world where there's only one rule: everybody pays."
While no specific platforms were announced for Mercenaries 2, Pandemic made much of the fact it is coming to next-gen consoles. "We're building on the core mercenary experience we created for the original," Pandemic CEO Andrew Goldman said in a statement, "[but] we've taken full advantage of next-gen technology to offer a more richly detailed, reactive, living world." The original Mercenaries was released for the Xbox and PlayStation 2, making the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 the leading candidates for the sequel's platforms.
Besides not mentioning specific platforms, Pandemic also did not name a publisher or set a release date for Mercenaries 2. However, that could very well change next week. "Pandemic is keeping the full story under wraps until E3," read the developer's statement. The original Mercenaries was published by LucasArts in January 2005.