Romans, Meet Rockets: Darkest Of Days

By John Walker on August 11th, 2009 at 9:29 am.

Shame about the awkward empty space on the left.

The completely brilliant/insane idea behind Darkest Of Days is getting to time travel through various famous conflicts from the past, and mow everyone down with a machine gun. You see, the problem with guns in the Olden Days is they were rubbish. Only capable of firing one shot at a time, or very poor at targeting at a long range, they were such a faff and fiddle that by the time you’d managed to poke the pokey thing down the barrel there was a reasonable chance you’d be entirely dead. What they should have done, and what Darkest Of Days finally puts right, is arrange for time travellers from the future to bring them semi-automatic instruments of enormous death. It’s both tasteful, and delicious.

Set to be released on September 8th, it’s coming from 8Monkey Labs, whose only previous game is something called AquaSpank. The publisher, Phantom EFX, is equally obscure, usually focusing on slot machine and casino games for the PC and mobiles. It also features jaunts in the Battle of Little Bighorn, as well as a romp in a volcano-encumbered Pompeii. I think it looks awesome. And there should be a demo along later today.

In the first video you can compare the difference between battling in the American Civil War with a one-shot musket, and a machine gun.

In this second one enquiring minds can learn the distinction between fighting in the Second World War with a Bolt-Action rifle, and something called a Combat Shotgun.

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98 Comments »

  1. Schmung says:

    This looks pretty fun. The guns seem pleasingly meaty.

    Tangent – their tech is pretty nice. They released some of their authoring tools earlier this year for people to play around with and it’s got some really nice features.

  2. Heliocentric says:

    Eh, forget the clever and get to shooting people. Why not, i’d be interested if you start with an era appropriate gun, and if you die you can either retry or cop out and use a modern gun. If you die with a modern gun you can try with some futuristic laser cannon.

  3. Clockwork Harlequin says:

    That looks terrible. If it’s so tasteful and adult, why aren’t there more breasts? In metal wetsuits?

  4. tapanister says:

    Polycounters FTW this game is gonna rock!

    “Numerical adjustment” hur hur.

  5. Martin K says:

    That. Looks. Bonkers.

    I feel as if the violence being dealt out so casually is perhaps a little underwhelming, a little lacking in impact, compared to, say, Brothers in Arms II or even Call of Duty 5. Not that I’m able to tell from a couple of bite-sized trailers. Who knows? I await a demo.

  6. tapanister says:

    @Schmung – yes releasing the Marmoset toolbag for the public was very, very awesome. It’s a great way to realtime render and present one’s 3d models very easily, without all the fuss of trying to find a viewport shader and then setting it up and then not being able to use AA and shit.

    For that reason alone, I’ll be buying this game, the dudes are awesome.

  7. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Looks rad.

    BTW – you might want to consider bringing on the guy that wrote this even if he is an American’t:

    http://pc.ign.com/articles/876/876701p1.html

  8. faelnor says:

    Good job of the PR guys/devs on making the gameplay footage look like it was played on a gamepad even though it’s a PC game :(
    Looks great though !

  9. Gap Gen says:

    Agincourt through a Modern Warfare-style gunship cam? Big stompy robots at Troy?

    That last weapon looked utterly ridiculous.

  10. Schmung says:

    tapanister : yeah, it’s really nice. Took some faffing for me to get it working properly as it was doing some funky smoothing with my obj files initially, but for presenting your work it’s absolutely top notch.

    Hopefully their kindness is rewarded and I guess a fair few people from Polycount/GA etc will buy anyway simply because of the toolbag.

  11. Leeks! says:

    I’m ashamed to admit that the only thing I can think of when watching that is the opening sequence of Timecop. Except that I’m not ashamed, obviously.

  12. Howard says:

    That looks pretty good, in a rather daffy way. Certainly worth a look for giggles.

  13. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Also preview here: http://elder-geek.com/2009/08/preview-darkest-of-days/

    Likely a first day buy for me – and that’s rare for me with FPS games. Epic.

  14. Naem says:

    I really want to know what the FMG is.
    Looks kind of challenging with modern weapons, or maybe the guy playing was just really bad.

  15. destroy.all.monsters says:

    GapGen – “Agincourt through a Modern Warfare-style gunship cam? Big stompy robots at Troy?”

    One can only hope. :)

    Hell, forget the gunship cam – put me in a a Huey UH-1 with a minigun at Agincourt.

    Now if we can only get a game that pits pirates vs. vikings my life will be complete.

  16. westyfield says:

    There’s another great trailer on the front page of their website!
    “The ‘Broomhandle’ c96
    - Reliable semi-automatic pistol
    - Rate of fire ideal for use in trench warfare
    - Looks badass
    - Is badass”

    Do want.

  17. pierec says:

    Then it pretty much is.

    http://www.pvkii.com/

  18. MrBejeebus says:

    I’ve totally always wanted a game like this, “Imagine if you could go back in time and win an otherwise impossible war…”

  19. Vasagi says:

    Nope not mental enough

    needs more chain gun.

  20. Ian says:

    It looks pleasingly bonkers but I must admit, I thought the battles in those videos looking pretty terrible.

    Will wait and hope I am proven wrong, because I like things with a dash of the absurd.

  21. MonkeyMonster says:

    As said, needs a massive backpack belt fed minigun :D The broom handle should fire quicker than that – its lethal. Try DoDS to see what it can do.

  22. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Oh my. Thanks pierec!

    The sense of humor in this along with the manic absurdity is great. That it is cloaked in a quasi-serious storyline only makes it more amusing. Go check out the trailer on the game’s site and on the devs’s site.

  23. Hulk Hogan says:

    I always wished someone would make a game about time-travelling to the past and mowing down soldiers with guns.

  24. diebroken says:

    If only Timeshift had been that diverse with regards to periods of time, oh well, this looks good.

  25. James O'Hare says:

    Woo Polycounters :D

    Looking forward to this game, if only for the toolset. And getting to fire EQ’s guns.

  26. Lugribossk says:

    If only the weapons in Call of Juarez had been a little like this. The terrible revolvers and rifles may have been realistic, but they weren’t very fun either.

  27. James O'Hare says:

    Also, that it looks as if it’s going to have a good sense of humour around it;
    http://www.gametrailers.com/video/exclusive-firearms-darkest-of/53409

  28. The Fanciest of Pants says:

    Being able to gun down confederates with an assault rifle as they run away appeals to me on every level.

  29. Gap Gen says:

    “You can use the CO7 shotgun for… everything. It’s a shotgun.”

    :D

    One thing that would be interesting is something like this where you’re very vulnerable, but have massive firepower. So the Romans might have rubbish ranged abilities, but if they catch up with you then they’re going to murder you.

  30. FhnuZoag says:

    Man, the guns really don’t do enough damage.

  31. Chobes says:

    I was a bit underwhelmed, and I went in with high expectations. Despite the wonderful setting it just looked like it played out like another mediocre run-of-the-mill shooter. Of course it’s only about 5 minutes worth of footage and I could be wrong. The game clearly has a sense of humor in it, and hopefully they’ll play the comedy angle right as to charm to pants off of you all the way through as opposed to instilling the sense of disappointment Junior High Schoolers felt all over the world after playing State of Emergency for more than ten minutes.

  32. Rosti says:

    I’m feeling some strong Timesplitters vibes from the weight of the guns presented – I wholeheartedly agree with this thing.

  33. HidesHisEyes says:

    “Time travellers take back modern weapons to ensure the ‘correct’ side wins histortical wars” is a really great idea, with a lot of room for a good sense of humour and fun gameplay.

    Those trailers however, showed major AI issues (shooting the entire confederate army in the back?) and a real, sort of, unresponsiveness to the weapons; say what you like about CoD4, but at no point did i really feel particularly Detached from the guns/killing in there; whereas this looks more like “you click the mouse button and people are dead”, which is a shame.

  34. Carra says:

    Always dreamed of how it would be to enter a roman battlefield with a modern machine gun. And this game promises just that!

    I do wonder if it’s not being a little bit too ambitious. WW2, civil war, romans, medieval times,…

  35. DarthInsinuate says:

    If I’m getting the right impression from the videos, I’m quite surprised no one’s tried to steal the Gears of War active-reloading system thingie before.

  36. pkt-zer0 says:

    @faelnor: Refer to the “Saving content. Please don’t turn off your console” text in the second video.

  37. faelnor says:

    Ah that would explain a lot thanks. Somehow, I couldn’t get the second video to play.

    So it’s coming out on Xbox 360 as well, eh ? Expectations lowered.

  38. Sam C. says:

    Maybe I’m being a little overly sensitive, but I don’t remember a lot of other games where you machine gun retreating soldiers in the back. War’s hell and all, that just seemed a little tasteless. I don’t know exactly why, it just sort of rubbed me the wrong way.

  39. The Hammer says:

    Yeah, it’s clearly lacking in quality next to something like the Call of Duty games, but man, the concept is sound. I definitely think the further back into history you go, the more fun the game will be. Introducing Romans to GUNS will be superb. I just hope the NPCs will react in some way to all these technology.

    There’s a couple of trailers on the site which grabbed my interest. I like this mechanic of keeping certain people alive, and I’m interested as to how the time traveller stuff will play out in terms of story.

    What this game does do is remind me of the sadly delayed Alliance: Silent War. That looked really very good. Superb graphics (well, back in 2006!), a huge selection of weapons, and in intriguing storyline. Oh well!

  40. Sam C. says:

    @The Hammer: I was trying to think of the name of the game this reminded me of, and Alliance: Silent War was it. Both have the using different weapons in different environments throughout history thing going for them, I’m surprised more games haven’t used the concept.

  41. D says:

    I was hoping for more screaming of the WTF?-kind, from the time-natives. Otherwise, looks like good fun.

  42. D says:

    @Sam C. Gun description: High speed violation of the geneva convention :)

  43. H says:

    Looks like a lot of “disengage brain” fun. And the Antietam battle looked very much like COD, which is not a bad thing. I think this might even be a purchase.

  44. MacBeth says:

    The enemy don’t seem to be scared enough by the appearance of a soldier with a spectacularly OP weapon… part of the fun should surely be the waves of panic as you stride among the enemy with a terrifying device spitting death at a never-before-seen rate. And in the game, obviously.

  45. Jimbo says:

    Sam C – I thought the same.

    The AI looks terrible. In the 1st video they just stood still or ran away slowly whilst you mowed them down. I reckon that could get old really fast. Shame.

  46. bansama says:

    It certainly sounds like fun, but I’ll be trying the demo first once it’s available.

  47. Shadow Aspect says:

    Alliance: Secret War! Thank you, I was wracking my brain trying to remember that name.

  48. Shadow Aspect says:

    Or rather Alliance: Silent War.

  49. Serenegoose says:

    Err…. I could only see this as being interesting if the AI was absolutely fantastic. I at least like the enemies in my FPS games to have a hope of fighting back, instead of being the closest thing to unarmed there is. It’s not going to be satisfying to eliminate vast swathes of enemies if they could never actually fight back, eh?

  50. KBKarma says:

    In my opinion, while the game looks like fun, the AI looks pants. They just stood there, shooting. Worse, they didn’t respond with any kind of “Holy shit, what the HELL is that guy USING?!”

    But still. The weapons video is awesome.