It’s been nearly a decade since Ubisoft and Gearbox announced Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 at E3 2011. In 2012, Ubisoft walked away from both Furious 4’s trademark and the Brothers in Arms IP. Thus, the ball landed squarely in Gearbox’s court, leading to the studio’s dropping Furious 4’s association with the beloved war franchise. After all, it looked more in line with Inglorious Basterds, and less like a proper Brothers in Arms entry. But why was Furious 4 ultimately cancelled? Apparently, it has everything to do with “business reasons” and nothing to do with the creative side of things.
This is according to Gearbox producer Randy Varnell, who remembers working on Furious 4. In an interview with Wccftech, he was asked about the experience by someone who’d been at the 2011 press demo. Varnell told the publication the scrapping of Furious 4 came down to business-related issues he can’t speak on. Interestingly, development on it was initially paused to make room for production of the Borderlands sequel. Varnell divulged,
You probably saw me doing the demo, I was handling that for the project at E3. It was like 2011, man. That game! I wish we would have shipped that game. Furious 4 was actually tremendously good. It was really good. The business reasons [got it canned], it wasn’t any creative reasons, it was all that dumb stuff that happens at the back end that I can’t talk about. But yeah, we were really excited about Furious 4. We paused that to go work on Borderlands 2, I don’t think that was ultimately a bad decision as Borderlands 2 has done pretty well for us.
Despite Brothers in Arms‘ long absence, Varnell revealed it remains an IP that’s dear to Gearbox. Indeed, the studio would love to eventually see it return. According to Varnell, Gearbox is very “aware” of the IP’s continued disuse. “I can’t say anything, but we would love to do something else there,” he noted.
The series first debuted in 2005 with Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30. Based on true stories from World War II, the title’s story and gameplay aimed to achieve a level of unparalleled authenticity. Overall, the franchise employed a serious tone, which explains why Gearbox aimed to separate it from the Furious 4 trademark, following fan backlash.