New Necromantic: Demonicon Preview

By Alec Meer on October 14th, 2011 at 5:00 pm.

mmm, fleshy

There’s a dark, haunting corner of my laptop, and it is a place I fear to tread. It smells of hope, and cobwebs, and hastily-scrawled email addresses, and Europe: it is my notes from Gamescom back in August, a disorientating four days spent sprinting across a village-sized convention centre full of noise, neon, rictus grins and electronic wonders beyond count. There are many PC games I saw out there that I’ve yet to cover, because I’ve been too busy playing other PC games, but I must stay the course and conclude my preview-quest. Next – The Dark Eye: Demonicon, an RPG based on a pen and paper roleplaying setting renowned in Germany. It has a semi-open-world (comparable to the Witcher in that regard, apparently), it has fast, bloody combat (think Devil May Cry and its ilk), and it has a whole lot of necromancy.

You play as a bald, angry, heavily armoured guy known as Cairon. He’s primarily a fighter, not a lover, but he/you have about 20 skills to play with, including non-combat stuff such as lockpicking, crafting and persuasion (or ‘fast-talking’, as the dev rather endearingly put it). You’ll be making choices in dialogue, which will in turn have capital-C Consequences. For instance:

At one point, you find out that a necromancer has taken over a village and forced its peasants into slavery, making them work in a toxic mine to look for an artifact. If they die he resurrects them as undead slaves. What a rotter! You should probably stab him in the eye or something.

But wait! Turns out that the artifact he’s after isn’t actually for his own nefarious ends – it’s necessary to cure to a disease that’s infected a major city, whose death toll is rising fast. So would you rather free the peasants and kill the necromancer, or would you prefer to help save, potentially, thousands of lives in the city at the cost of a few lives and the unpleasant knowledge that people are being zombified as a result of your inaction?

Tough one, eh? Philanthropic necromancy wasn’t a concept I’d considered before. The Witcher 2 definitely seems to be a guiding light for this game, which is no bad thing. The zombie’n’demon setting means it’ll be tonally a whole lot darker/gothier, however.

Oh, and I established that there’ll be one big city you can always revisit to see how your decisions are affecting the world and its people. Plus, you’ll have a house there, where you might find gifts from fans or, distressingly, a “a cat nailed to the door as a threat from the enemies you have made.” I really don’t want to find dead cats at my house,thanks.

Also mentioned are some 35 enemy types, a promise that you won’t spend your first quest killing rats, that you’ll use direct combat skills such as blocking and dodging, and that you can devour the life essence of enemies in order to cast spells. Did you know: Jim, John and I absorb a tiny fraction of Adam’s life essence every day, in order to fuel our dark unlife. We expect him to last another 16 months, at which point we will advertise again for another “writer.” We’ll be needing a younger one next time, I think. They last longer.

Anyway! A lot of Demonicon’s features were merely described, not shown. All the devs had to show off so far was the combat system, but we’ll get to see all that good ol’ world stuff at a later date. Here’s a reasonably similar demo to the one I saw, albeit uninterrupted by me asking “what’s all that then?” and “who’s the bald guy?” and “can I choose to be lovely or a prick?”

Sorry for the abrupt ending there, but I don’t recall there being too much beyond it. And yes, it is due on PC – don’t be alarmed by the consolery on show in that video.

The Dark Eye: Demonicon is published by Kalypso, developed by Noumena Studios Berlin, and is due for release late next year.

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46 Comments »

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  1. CMaster says:

    “Did you know: Jim, John and I absorb a tiny fraction of Adam’s life essence every day, in order to fuel our dark unlife.”

    RPS: Not just a hivemind, but the immortal god-hivemind of gamerkind.

  2. skyturnedred says:

    Looks interesting. Hope they take their time polishing the game so I have time to finish the first Witcher and eventually get around to playing W2 before this comes out.

  3. Premium User Badge

    lasikbear says:

    Hope they nicen up the animations, that combined with the little orbs popping out of peoples heads every time they get hit looked very silly. They seem to have a lot of nice ideas though, hope they pull it off.

  4. Wizardry says:

    The Dark Eye: Demonicon, an RPG based on a pen and paper roleplaying setting renowned in Germany.

    Nice. A new DSA game.

    …it has fast, bloody combat (think Devil May Cry and its ilk)…

    Or not.

    • Vinraith says:

      No character creation, either. It’s basically just a huge, horrible waste of a good license.

    • Wizardry says:

      So basically DSA has gone the way of D&D.

    • Kdansky says:

      I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. DSA is the blandest (and least sensible*) setting known to mankind.

      *Where DnD just ignores the economy completely, DSA tries to explain everything with realistic detail, and stumbles as soon as you mention the word “magic”. The joke on the German forums goes: “If your knight is using anything but a kitchen knife, you’re a munchkin!”

    • Wizardry says:

      @Kdansky: I think you’ve missed my point entirely.

    • Nemrod says:

      DS: The dark Eye was a really good game if you can take the way too fight properly. Pretty difficult but really good-looking and interesting… but no boobs ala Witcher ><

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      DSA is the blandest (and least sensible*) setting known to mankind.

      The settings (Aventuria and Myranor) aren’t especially interesting, but the mechanics are quite tasty. Loads of skills, advantages/disadvantages, detailed and flexible character creation and advancement, etc. Tons of stuff that’s hardly unique, but you won’t find in any edition of D&D.

      The Drakensang games used a bit of that, and Demonicon looks like it uses approximately none of it.

    • LostViking says:

      The DSA setting might be standard fantasy fare, but the gameplay mechanics are great. I love the RPG system, how skill improvements don’t come cheap and have to be bought both in gold and XP’s, how the enemies don’t scale and you might have to give up on missions and return later if they are too hard, the crafting system, and the list goes on…

      I was really excited when I realized this was a DSA game, just to be really disappointed seeing it is not like the other games.

  5. ZIGS says:

    Looks like a budget title

  6. Dominic White says:

    When I think ‘Devil May Cry’, I think this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Ua0GAMlTmqk#t=710s

    I do not think ‘stilted, awkward, poorly-animated action-RPG combat with a violently lurching camera’.

    • wu wei says:

      Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it’ll still be true after the reboot.

    • Dominic White says:

      I weep because your words ring true.

    • BeamSplashX says:

      I understand that this game is showing us early footage, but I don’t see how it could turn into something free-flowing like DMC. And really, unless you can actually string moves together of your choosing, something like Ninja Gaiden or God of War would be a better reference point (which doesn’t seem likely from this either).

      It looks a bit like the first two Gothic games, which had tense but not particularly pleasing combat.

  7. Koozer says:

    What I want to know is how long that headline has been brooding for.

  8. RyuRanX says:

    What the fuck happened to this game? Third person hack and slash? Wasn’t Demonicon supposed to be a Diablo style action-RPG? The early screenshots were so beautiful, now it’s disgusting with all this bloom.

  9. Felixader says:

    Lisa! You are tearing me apart!

    Reminds me quite a bit of Fable somehow.

  10. Danny says:

    They should turn it into a hard Demon Souls like action RPG for the PC. We’re not being served when it comes to games like DS on our platform of choice.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      “They should completely redesign the game, a year out from release, because I’m not interested in this genre of game and would prefer a completely different game instead.”

      I’m pretty fond of DS myself, but the only connection this game has with DS is the aesthetics. And even that’s a pretty loose link.

    • Danny says:

      You see what they already did there?

  11. Hoaxfish says:

    #rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    see that guy rollin’
    rollin’ all around
    rawhiiiiide#

  12. kulik says:

    Zombies have…tactics? o_O

  13. Shooop says:

    Right now this looks… Very stiff and rudimentary.

    Other than the morality deal (which is becoming more and more popular these days) is there anything really noteworthy?

  14. Drake Sigar says:

    I screamed Fable harder than an irritatingly verbose child demanding a bedtime story. Looks interesting though.

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    LTK says:

    I’m not really convinced by the attempt at moral choices illustrated here. Save x peasants, or save y citizens, where y is a multitude of x? Either way, you’re going to feel like a prick. Numbers games do not make very interesting moral dilemmas.

    • Skabooga says:

      I dunno, I’m quite partial to the fat man and runaway train scenarios used in those psychology studies.

  16. Jody Macgregor says:

    Philanthropic necromancy? This is the obligatory “Warhammer did if first” post.

    I do like the idea of zombies throwing their intestines at you, that’s cute.

  17. Cryo says:

    Why are bald men always so angry?

    • Shooop says:

      The body producing too much testosterone and turning it into DHT is one of the causes of hair loss.

    • magnus says:

      Because people ask those kind of questions? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

  18. Kefren says:

    No, please not zombies throwing bits of their stomach. It was at least original in Quake, but it is still silly.

    “Argh, that zombie is throwing a bit of intestine at me!”
    Splat.
    “Oh. It doesn’t hurt. It’s soft.”

    • magnus says:

      What else are they going to throw at you, lint?

    • Kefren says:

      They could do: the point is, none of that should do any damage! (Unless it gets in your eye).

  19. ziusudra says:

    Why are all attack animations in recent sword games so fast and anime like. Like Dragon Age 2 you know, its bugs me off. Dark messiah and Severance style are much better, at least Skyrim seems to be alright. God damn it.

  20. Phasma Felis says:

    P&P is PENCIL and paper, not pen and paper. Who ever heard of filling out a character sheet in pen?!? The Dungeon Master would kick your ass faster than you can say “Huge Ancient Purple Dragon”.

    [/giant nerd]