Skulking, Sulking: Dark Has Vampiric Stealth, Grumbling

By Nathan Grayson on February 15th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

I really quite like Dark‘s premise, which basically amounts to vampires tossed in a scrumptious stew of stealth, role-playing, and gritty near-future conspiracy. On paper, that reads to me like Vampire: The Masquerade meets Deus Ex, which is something I’d expect to find in a box labeled “All of Nathan’s Hopes and Dreams.” There would also be a pony. But then I see footage, and my emotions do that thing where they flutter about like a confused swarm of those creatures that use sonar to see. You know, submarines. I mean, Dark doesn’t necessarily look bad. It’s just sort of confusing, is all.

Why are there backflip kicks in my game of supernatural hide-and-seek? And why do a lot of the textures and animations look like they’ve been in hiding since 2005? Also, please, please, please say sneaking won’t mostly take the form of sticking to pre-determined cover points. That’d be kinda the worst.

But then the press materials start seducing me with talk of upgradable skills, dialog choices, and “worlds of blood and darkness.” Those are the two main things I want out of most worlds! Here’s a meatier piece of the skinny:

“Your name is Eric Bane, and yesterday evening, you were still a man. But when you woke up this morning, you felt incredibly powerful and thirsty – a thirst for blood. As a new-born vampire, you will soon discover even the world of vampires is a place of deceit and intrigue. In the course of your investigations, you will end up between the minions of a powerful vampire lord, mankind security forces and the secretive M17 special unit, which only goal is to hunt down and kill vampires for good.”

You’ll also be gumming up the works of something called the GeoForge Corporation, which sounds like a looming, soulless pinata filled with heaping gobs of ’80s sci-fi kitsch and intrigue. In other words, this could be incredible.

Or it could be absolutely miserable. These sorts of seemingly low-budget, mostly out-of-nowhere releases tend to be super hit-or-miss, no matter how good their intentions. Obviously, I’m crossing my fingers for the former, but I’m far from convinced. That trailer opened with some highly impressive grumbling, though. Was that Geralt from The Witcher? If not, Kalypso got quite the soundalike. Also, if it is him, can we start calling this The Vampirerer?

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68 Comments »

  1. HermitUK says:

    Last paragraph suggests you’re hoping the game is bad.

    • Askeladd says:

      Well, it’s Kalypso! What do you expect from them?

      • HadToLogin says:

        Same amount of fun I had with Tropico?

        And I’m just playing Dungeons – The Dark Lord. When I stopped thinking “damn, why it’s not Dungeon Keeper” I found pretty fun game. And parodying Lord of the Rings helped :P

        Maybe this won’t be 10/10 material, but I really hope something playable comes out of this, so I’ll be able to grab it for $5 during Winter sales.

      • Kestilla says:

        Sorry mate, I was thinking the same thing about Kalypso. Tropico is their standout hit. Given they are only a publisher and harbor a great many designers under their umbrella, it’s not surprising how the company takes old gaming favorites and crashes them into a brick wall. Disappointing, but not unexpected at this point.

        Dungeons, M.U.D. TV, Jagged Alliance, Disciples III (oh man, butchery of a franchise), The First Templar. They’ve actually published some good stuff too, but I’ll reiterate it’s more to do with their patron developers than Kalypso itself, which is almost a brand for “will destroy your fondest memories.”

        Their success rides on old timey gaming goodness and its fanbase, but in a lot of cases it’s just a matter of going back and enjoying the originals far more than you ever would the half-assed IP rights grab Kalypso makes.

        Also you enjoyed Dungeons, but the rest of us are waiting for War for the Overworld. Which hopefully won’t suckity suck.

        • socrate says:

          pretty much what kestilla said,alots of really crappy game maker are making easy $$$ out of old game and tropico being their only “decent” game still is just a huge dumbing down of the old version i pretty much never failed 1 mission,its like it was made for chimp…its just less crappy then their usual work…but by no mean is it better then the first tropico…just a revamp on graphic and easy mode(sadly)

    • Greg_Robinson says:

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  2. anark10n says:

    I seriously think the wilhelm scream should be a tag when posting any trailer using them.

    • baby snot says:

      It was so out of place in this trailer…

    • Synesthesia says:

      oh my, i didn’t know what a wilhelm scream was! I’m watching a compilation and i can’t stop laughing, so thank you guys! This is exactly what i needed for this hangover.

  3. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Is that the English VA for Geralt? Got a similar kind of rumble to it.

  4. Anthile says:

    This doesn’t look so ba-

    Kalypso Media

    Goddamn it.

    • mr.ioes says:

      Exactly my thought. I want this game to be good, but that questionable trailer combined with Kalypso as publisher … we just had the Omerta disaster.

      • Askeladd says:

        Not many remember LoP. It was recent.

        • RedViv says:

          I had to check which game you meant, and then realised never hearing about its release. Now I know why.

          Kalypso don’t seem to have the finest taste in games to publish, pretty much the only good games were Patrician IV and the games from Haemimont up to Omerta. And this here is the fourth genre the dev studio is going for, after mostly failing at creating an adventure, a management sim, and an action-RPG/dungeon building crossover game.
          So, yeah. No reason to believe in this game before it is out.

          • mr archer says:

            Their retail-release of Hard Reset Extendet Edition was very, very solid. Plus they use a non-mandatory DRM-system. I really can´t complain.

          • Kestilla says:

            It’s rather frightening to think cash grabs like these could damage the idea of a Bloodlines type game in the eyes of newcomers and stave off a possible, serious sequel or similar by a reputable company.

            And a newcomer would say, Bloodlines? Like that crappy Dark game? Who would buy that? Even though Bloodlines was horribly wrecked when it launched but that had nothing to do with the astonishing pedigree of developer Troika and the distilled awesome they put out for years in the form of Fallout.

  5. inertia says:

    Lost it at Wilhelm Scream.

  6. Kambyero says:

    Reminds me of the Aliens: Colonial Marines trailer. Poetry time!

    I woke to a world of pain.

    Eric. Eric Bane.

    The name

    Shot through my head like a bullet

    It was MY NAME.

    Wilhelm scream.

    Also, this game should be called Dark: Britney Spears, just like Star Trek.

    • roryok says:

      not sure if the joke is over my head,

      ¬.¬

      or comment is written by a comment bot

    • Zepp says:

      “You! You will regret what you have done this day. I will make you regret ever being born! You’re going to wish you’d never left your mother’s womb, where it was warm, and safe, and wet. I’m going to show you PAIN you never knew existed. You’re going to see a whole new spectrum of PAIN like a rainbow! ” Korgoth of Barbaria

  7. Jae Armstrong says:

    One of the quotes references Gamescon. Perhaps we should track down a journo type who saw it there and ask them how it looked?

    • guygodbois00 says:

      Excellent idea. But where to find an experienced tracker when you need one?

  8. Screwie says:

    …Eric Bane?

    *snigger*

    • Bhazor says:

      The name went through my head like a bullet. It was my name.

      What does that even mean?

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        Standard amnesia plot? Perhaps with choice at redemption or a return to criminal/vampire ways?

      • brulleks says:

        It means we shouldn’t get over-optimistic about the writing, along with the gameplay and graphics and everything else.

      • tumbleworld says:

        It means they should have had a MUCH bigger writing budget. *shudder*.

  9. Jamesworkshop says:

    I smell the blood

    of a E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Not sure why, but I’m getting a strong Velvet Assassin “indie” vibe. Seeing as how I kinda like that game, it’s not bothering me too much.

    • brulleks says:

      Gosh, how I wanted to enjoy EYE, but submersing a low-budget game in incomprehensible lore and impossible to navigate menus completely stifled any enjoyment.

    • gritz says:

      E.Y.E. is kind of an obscure cult game with strange ideas and tons of ambition that will probably show up in “remember this game??” forum threads in a few years. It may even get some kind of mod-scene revival that brushes off its rough edges and shows the world the forgotten classic it was always meant to be. Or not, time will tell.

      But this… this is a Kalypso game, which means it will be so mediocre and bland that it will only be remembered when it goes on sale for five dollars a year after release. And then it will sit forgotten in your steam library, surrounded by scores of legitimately awesome games that you still haven’t played.

      • Geen says:

        EYE had a ridiculously deep story, and I’m not even quite sure I know what the hell happened. It also allowed you to play however the hell you wanted. Stabby Slashy? Sure. Snipey-shooty? Sure. Stealth and hacking? Sure. Psi and Cybernetics? Sure. It also had fantastic graphics and setting, perfectly capturing cyberpunk.
        This, however, is by Kalypso. This can only mean bad things.

  10. Zepp says:

    Eric Boner

    PAAAAAAIN

  11. Junkenstein says:

    But Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines WAS Vampire: The Masquerade meets Deus Ex.

  12. P4p3Rc1iP says:

    So, Splinter Cell with vampires? Could be ok

    As for the Wilhelm scream, I can’t hear it in the trailer…

  13. Bweahns says:

    Looks a bit pants.

  14. Panoptical says:

    Now I need to install Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.

    • Iskariot says:

      I never uninstall it. I play it again and again and again and again…..

  15. Syra says:

    The soundtrack even sounds like it’s deliberately bringing back Bloodlines. It’s basically Chiasm-Isolated

    Observe:

  16. karthink says:

    That soundtrack, it’s the same as the one in the club in Vampire Bloodlines, isn’t it?

  17. sonson says:

    Aaaaaa man who plays Geralt (possibly Eric Bane?) what have you done?!

  18. ffordesoon says:

    Painfully generic name. Incredibly ambitious design goal. Announced a few months before the release date. 360-launch-title graphics. Very little concrete information. Kalypso. Eric Bane.

    It’s going to be awful, isn’t it.

  19. Spoon Of Doom says:

    Reading the words “stealth” and “vampire” together still brings back painful memories of the turd that was Vampire Rain.

  20. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    The protagonist looks a lot like Alex Mercer from Prototype. Brooding guy with a hoodie. Then again, I haven’t played Prototype.

  21. rez0 says:

    Developer: Realmforge Studios of Dungeons fame… I don’t know about this…

  22. Shooop says:

    Generic characters, generic stealth gameplay, generic environments, generic x-ray vision powers…

    How is this supposed to be anything but crap?

  23. Iskariot says:

    I am starving for a vampire game.
    For years I have been wondering why nobody is making a good vampire game in these days of never ending popularity of the vampire genre. The gaming industry does not seem to be aware of it.
    I would love a modern Bloodlines 2 in a huge open city world like GTA4′s Liberty city. I would pay double the price of an AAA title for that. I suppose it will never happen (Yeah I know White Wolf is making an MMO. But I despise MMO).

    As far as Dark is concerned I really don’t know what to think. I will buy it even if it is a mediocre game. We lovers of the vampire genre have little choice.

  24. Bigmouth Strikes Again says:

    The song from the trailer… they’re really trying to mimic Bloodlines: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y33hGaEgW7U

  25. Wurstwaffel says:

    That music was insufferable

  26. doggod101 says:

    If someone told me this was a mod for Thief: Deadly Shadows I would not argue in the least.

  27. beema says:

    If nothing else, the music in this trailer may have put me off this game for good.

  28. eclipse mattaru says:

    I’m fucking sick of the generic, brooding, scruffy-but-oh-so-handsome guy protagonist. For a while now I’ve been seriously considering not playing any more games that won’t at least give me the option of playing a girl –and preferably, games that default to a girl AT THE VERY LEAST on the level of BG&E’s Jade or NOLF’s Cate Archer (and since I’ve been playing nothing but Dark Souls since August, I’m sort of making good of that idea anyway).

    Unless they make their generic, brooding, scruffy-but-oh-so-handsome guy protagonist openly gay. Now that would be an interesting change of pace.