In celebration of our recent beta announcements for Commandos 2 – HD Remaster and Praetorians – HD Remaster, this week we’re taking a closer look at the history of the series’ original developer: Pyro Studios.
Pyro Studios (now Pyro Mobile Games) was a development studio based in Madrid, Spain. The brainchild of founder Ignacio Pérez Dolset, the developer had a simple but effective mantra: make great video games.
Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines
In 1998, Pyro’s first major hit came in the form of military real-time tactics game Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines. Taking place during World War II, Behind Enemy Lines put the player in the shoes of a fictional British commandos unit, and had each of its twenty missions loosely inspired by historical events. Though available only for Windows PC, the game received praise, and would be cited by many in later years as one of the strategy genre’s seminal works.
Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty
Spurred on by the success of their first major project, 1999 saw Pyro Studios release their second title and the series’ first standalone expansion: Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. Though opting for fewer missions than its predecessor, Beyond the Call of Duty made up for this in its battlefields, which were much larger in scope, and expanded the action to historical Yugoslavia and Greece. The game also expanded upon the commandos’ skill sets, giving players the option to throw items and pilot new vehicles.
Commandos 2: Men of Courage
Following a two year development cycle, 2001 saw a fully fledged sequel emerge from the Spanish studio. Commandos 2: Men of Courage was the first in the series to include a 3D engine and made good use of the technology, adding explorable interiors, new equipment, and expanding its roster to include a Thief, Seductress, and lovable canine companion named Whiskey. Men of Courage was the series’ first debut into both Mac and consoledom, releasing for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Mac OSX a year after its initial Windows PC launch.
Commandos 3: Destination Berlin
In late 2003, Commandos received its third numbered sequel: Commandos 3: Destination Berlin. Assisted by Feral Interactive for its Mac OSX release, Destination Berlin bucked the trend of a single campaign, opting instead for three separate campaign vignettes. The title again added to the series’ existing mechanics, giving players the option to have their commandos take cover and making more skills and equipment available to the entirety of the Commandos roster, as opposed to previous titles where individuals were more specialised.
2003 wasn’t solely a Commandos year for Pyro. The studio also released Praetorians – a real-time tactics game set during Julius Caesar’s reign over the Roman Empire. Praetorians offered players three civilisations to role-play, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and special units. The game boasted a lengthy campaign but added skirmish and multiplayer modes, allowing players to hone their skills on the battlefield or compete head-to-head using the Gamespy client.
Continuing its now unmissable penchant for projects of historical strategy, Pyro Studios released Imperial Glory for Windows PC in 2005, following up with a Mac OSX version later in the year. This time, the Revolutionary era was its playground and players were given the option to control the Austrian, Russian, historic Prussian or Great British empire. As well as bladed weapons such as swords, sabres and bayonets, Imperial Glory allowed players to make use of timely artillery such as cannons and muskets, and even offered maritime warfare.
Commandos: Strike Force
2006 saw Pyro release its final title, Commandos: Strike Force, under its original moniker. Following in Commandos 3’s campaign vignettes, Strike Force moved the action to Norway, the Soviet Union and German-occupied France. Strike Force continued to embody the Commandos spirit of skills and gadgets, though, this time, opted for a first-person perspective in an attempt to get players closer to the action.
Pyro Studios may not exist in its original form, but its legacy lives on in the Commandos 2 – HD Remaster and Praetorians – HD Remaster, which have betas arriving on December 13th and a launch date set for January 24, 2020. We also have another Commandos title in the works, which we’re sure will live up to the Pyro Studios name. Keep it tuned to the Kalypso news-wire for further updates.