Tom Clancy’s ‘End War’ franchise will continue…as a free-to-play browser title

 Tom Clancy’s ‘End War’ franchise will continue…as a free-to-play browser title

You didn’t think you’d seen the last of Tom Clancy’s End War series, did you?

Ubisoft’s tactical strategy title has been more or less off the radar since it first hit consoles in 2008, but now the franchise looks to be making a comeback – as a free-to-play browser title.

The developer announced Tom Clancy’s End War Online this week with a trailer and a call for players to enlist for beta:

An Ubisoft press release on the game claims End War Onine will offer “next stage browser technology,” whatever that might mean, promising single-player and multiplayer missions.The “revolutionary” multiplayer mode – called the Tactical Multiplayer Online Arena boasts an end to micromanagement and “dives into the core strategy behind building your supply and refining your reflexes” to overcome other players.

Ubisoft’s press release lists a number of the game’s features. Take a look:

• Persistent WW3 meta-game – Join the global power struggle for the last resources in the new Theater of War. Side with high-tech European Enforcers or Russia’s Spetsnaz and their brute force tactics. Battle for contested territories and help your faction gain power.

• Next Gen Browser Game – Tom Clancy’s End War Online stretches the limits of the most popular web browser plug-in. Our Advanced Flash-based technology allows full 3D graphics to be rendered directly in your browser; bringing the chaos and brutal splendor of World War 3 battlefields to life.

• Hero Commanders – Special units can be trained and leveled up as they gain new skills and abilities. Boasting more than 80 Hero units, players will have to work overtime to master and use them all to their full potential.

• HQ management – Carefully manage HQ economic, research & diplomatic options. Having limited resources means tough choices must be made, often resulting in repercussions on the battlefield.

• Massive Experience – Be it PvE or PvP, gamers decide their play style. Short bursts of intense battle or long campaigns of war are all part of Tom Clancy’s End War Online. With a unique community promise and perennial online events, experience war on your own timeline.

The original End War hit Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows near the end of 2009, with portable versions on DS and PSP in 2009. The game puts players in control of armies during a near-future, all-out World War III. The game was met with decent reviews, with the Xbox version earning a 77 on Metacritic. The game’s voice commands were well-regarded, and most reviews considered it a solid real-time strategy title (for a console, anyway). A sequel was announced quickly after release but eventually put on hold by the developer.

To say this is an…unusual development is a bit of an understatement. After nearly five years and Ubisoft’s focus on the Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell franchises, it was a sure bet that the End War franchise was gone for the foreseeable future. Still, any revival would have been expected to be a big-budget, console release instead of a free browser title. That said, it’s not entirely out of left field – just this summer, PopCap released the sequel to its wildly successful tower defense game Plants vs. Zombies as a free-to-play iOS title.

One thing’s for sure – it’s an interesting, risky experiment, and it’s a safe bet that other developers will roll out similar initiatives for their franchises.

Are you interested in revisiting the End War franchise in browser form? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.

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