Parabellum (Acony Games) [PC, PS3, Xbox 360 – Cancelled]

Parabellum (Acony Games) [PC, PS3, Xbox 360 – Cancelled]

Parabellum is a cancelled Free to Play multiplayer First-Person Shooter developed from 2005 to 2010 by Acony Games and published by K2 Network, for the PC alongside, for a while, potential Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions. Set in 2018, the game was about two factions, terrorist organization named “The Syndicate” and the counterterrorist forces (The CTF), fighting on maps based on districts from New York City. The project was first showed at the Games Convention 2006, where Gamespot was able to see it in action:

For starters, the city that the Delta Force is attempting to save in Parabellum comprises 12 distinct maps arranged on a grid with industrial, commercial, and residential themes. At the start of each timed campaign game, the terrorist players will get to choose which map they want to plant the bomb in, and then it’s up to the Delta Force to find it. The time limit that you choose for the game should determine how many of the city’s maps are in play, though this won’t necessarily happen automatically. After a campaign gets underway, the Delta Force players will need to defeat the terrorists on the current map before getting to choose which adjacent map to fight them on next, as they continue their search for the bomb. If the terrorists win a map, the same one will be played again–eating away at the Delta Force’s time limit.

When the Delta Force team chooses a new map, they’ll find that each one can be played from four different starting points (or in four different directions, if you prefer), so although there will only ever be 12 maps that need to be searched, there are 48 different gameplay experiences available. If the terrorist players correctly guess which map the Delta Force will choose to move into after winning a game, they’ll have an opportunity to spawn early and set up an ambush for the good guys.

The first map that we got to see the Delta Force scouring was from the city’s industrial zone and incorporated a building site and what appeared to be a factory of some description. When bullets started flying around the rain-soaked level, we noticed that practically every object in the nicely detailed environment appeared to be destructible to some degree, including a water tower high above the ground that leaked out of bullet holes when it was shot.

The destructibility of the maps will have a noticeable impact on gameplay in Parabellum, not only because you’ll be able to destroy items that could provide cover, but also because one of the three different ammo types available to you is capable of shooting clean through up to 20 meters of wall. To show us how this might be useful, the Acony representative who was demoing the game fired off a few rounds at a wall that he suspected an enemy might be hiding behind. It might also have been possible to take out the enemy by shooting from around a corner, since Parabellum supports ricocheting bullets, but it seemed like most of the projectiles ended up splashing harmlessly into puddles when this feature was demonstrated.

After watching a couple of fast-paced battles on the industrial map, we had an opportunity to check out a very different one set inside a large subway station–complete with deadly moving trains. After exploring the map for a while and showing off its impressive level of detail, the Acony player found the nuclear bomb and disarmed it.

Parabellum currently supports up to 32 players simultaneously, but the maps have apparently all been designed with six-on-six battles in mind at this point. Based on the two maps that we saw, we’d say that slightly larger groups of players shouldn’t pose any problems, but a full roster of 32 would almost certainly make the game feel a bit overcrowded.

One of Parabellum’s features that we didn’t get to see in action is the weapon-selection screen, which we understand you’ll use to customize your arsenal before each round. In addition to ammo, range, and rate-of-fire considerations, you’ll need to bear in mind the weight of the weapons you choose, since heavier options will purportedly slow down your movement quite noticeably.

However, after this presentation, the title went silent for nearly two whole years, with the exception to a couple of screenshots published by Acony from time to time. Parabellum was eventually showed again in September 2008 to Gamesradar:

(…) Powered by the Unreal Engine 3, coats of physics, lighting, and animation tech color its two main modes: a non-linear campaign and team deathmatch. We’re trying out the former, a scenario that sees us (and our four counter-terrorist teammates), with just 10 minutes to stop a nuke in New York. But before we can cut wires dramatically, we have to complete our immediate objective: disarming/planting/rescuing stuff of lesser value. So far, still so Counter-Strike. A first map takes us just a few minutes.

Quickly, we’re progressing through different maps, attacking additional objectives. The aim is to keep campaigns, like the rounds, brief. At the moment, they’re somewhere between 10 and 40 minutes, with the map list differing depending on which campaign you select. It’s not long before we’re running the final map, disarming the big, bad nuke that wants to blow the Big Apple’s house down.

Just before its launch into closed beta, Acony signed a deal with K2 Network in March 2009, planning to host the game on their Gamersfirst portal:

GamersFirst, a service of K2 Network and one of today’s most popular free2play online game destinations, announces Parabellum, a brand new Free2Play massive multiplayer online First persons Shooter.

“Parabellum will set the standard of what to expect from Free2Play games,” said David Demers, Associate Producer of Parabellum. “Bringing quality Triple-A titles to the Free-to-Play market raises the bar for all and sets GamersFirst apart from the rest.”

Set in a world in a not too distant future, the privatization of global military forces has created highly profitable opportunities for ex-soldiers, mercenaries and adventurers. Gamers must choose their alignments carefully to survive. You must join forces with one of the two foremost covert reconnaissance organizations in the world. The CTF; an organization avowed to keeping anarchy at bay, or the Syndicate; a legion of bloodthirsty rebels bent on destruction and chaos. Each of them are solicited by the C.I.N. a Global Mercenary Network that provides contract missions to each of these factions who vie against one another with the fate of the World as the ultimate prize.

Unfortunately, after going into closed beta, then into public beta during the course of 2009, the development of the game seems to have slowed down before being stopped in October 2010, when K2 Network announced that they were withdrawing from the game:

The Unreal Engine 3-based free-to-play first person shooter Parabellum is now without a US-based publisher. GamersFirst, who announced plans to publish the game back in 2009, have now posted up a note on the company’s message board that, “{developer) Acony and GamersFirst have mutually agreed to stop operating Parabellum on gamersfirst.com. Further information will be made available at a later date.”

The modern day-themed first person shooter also appears to be AWOL on the game’s own web site. The site currently seems to be in a design holding pattern. The game’s official message boards also don’t offer much in terms of development updates.

Parabellum was canceled soon after this announcement.

After Parabellum’s cancellation, Acony will go on Bullet Run, another Free to Play multiplayer First-Person Shooter, which used assets and design ideas initially made for Parabellum. The game was met with negative reception by the press and Acony was soon forced to shutdown their operations, alongside the servers of Bullet Run.

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