Why was it such a big secret? That's about the only question Pandemic senior producer Jonathan Zamkoff wasn't asked in a lengthy Mercenaries 2 tell-all hosted by IGN. Rumblings, reports, and recordings were the evidence leading up to today's confession: Mercs 2 is on Xbox 360 -- and oh, by the way, PC and PlayStation 2. "So here's the scoop. We are shooting for true feature parity on the PS3, 360, and PC. There will be small visual differences on those consoles due to platform specific texture compression algorithms and other platform-specific graphics implementation, but to the end-user the game experience will be nearly identical," explained Zamkoff. "For the PS2 we are taking a different tact. We're working extremely closely with Pi studios ... They are using the Mercs 1 core engine and toolchain, coupled with modified Mercs 2 assets to create the Mercs 2 PS2 version."
The big addition to Mercs 2 is online co-op, which will be nixed from the PS2 version, but intact on PS3. "We have no intention to provide one feature for one system that the other one doesn't have. So, yes, both [Xbox 360 & PS3] will have cooperative multiplayer -- online cooperative multiplayer," confirmed Zamkoff, adding, "We started from scratch to program for the multiprocessors on both machines. They were both in mind when we were writing the text, so we didn't want to create a PS3 engine, which was and has been, and is, our lead SKU, but we didn't want to ignore the Xbox 360. Even though we're just now announcing the 360 version, we have been working on it for quite some time ... In terms of timing, both games are within a week of each other in development." Pandemic is tentatively set on a fall 2007 release.