Death Lives! – Darksiders Is ‘Not Dead,’ Says Dev

By Nathan Grayson on May 13th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

Update: Confirmation/statement from Nordic Games below. The short version? “We can and will not settle for second-best solutions in the case of Darksiders.”

Original: Things were not looking so great for, er, Death for a little bit there. THQ had a run-in with its own sort of reaper, and the Darksiders license sat in limbo seemingly unwanted for ages. That is, until Nordic Games scooped it up along with roughly one trillion other pieces of THQ’s flaming wreckage. But it’s not like the Painkiller: Hell & Damnation publisher can just churn out sequels to everything from Red Faction to Supreme Commander. You’d figure, then, that Darksiders is probably stuck on the sidelines – not pushing up daisies, but not pushing blocks or scything occult beasties either. Former series creative director Joe Madureira, however, claims we might not have to wait long to see something new after all.

He gave a quick update in a post on Facebook:

“Darksiders is not dead! The new owner, Nordic, seems very committed to continuing the series. As far as my involvement, I can’t say at this point. Hopefully we will all have exciting news about the franchise soon!”

So that means people are talking about it, and the talks are likely going well – if nothing else. Nordic seems pretty dedicated to getting series in the right hands too, seeing as it already sold Stacking and Costume Quest back to Double Fine.

Assuming things work out, however, the big question is where exactly Darksiders will end up. Original developer Vigil Games is no more, though most of its staff migrated to Crytek USA. The newly formed Austin studio has expressed interest in re-joining the Dark Side, and Nordic has, in turn, said it fancies a chat with Crytek USA as well.

Button-mashing-blistered fingers crossed that the two sides have hammered out a deal. Darksiders II was an excellent – if unrepentant about its influences – hack ‘n’ slash ‘n’ Zelda ‘em up, and it’d be great to see such a strong series continue in the brain lab that first spawned it.

I’ve reached out to Nordic for comment. I’ll let you know if I hear anything more.

Update: A Nordic rep offered RPS the following:

“With regards to Darksiders 3: of course we’ve always been busy in the background, talking to a lot of former team members about a continuation of the series, but we are not ready to announce anything officially. Joe Madureira is spot on in saying that DS is not dead and we are committed, though.”

“Before we can say something about the ‘how’ and ‘when’ of publishing/financing the sequel is concerned, we are still busy in properly figuring out the ‘who’ part of this large-scale project. All I can say is that we can and will not settle for second-best solutions in the case of Darksiders.”

So no developer is decided yet, but Nordic is actively talking to various possible inheritors of the stylized skull throne. Good on them for being extra picky.

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45 Comments »

  1. Skeletor68 says:

    I haven’t played 1 or 2. Should I just jump to 2?

    • Crafter says:

      I largely prefered Darksiders 1 to the second opus …
      However it is up to you, Darksiders 2 is a paraquel, so it is not a big issue if you play to Darksiders 2 without knowing DS1 plot.

      • Syra says:

        I completed and enjoyed 1 a fair bit, I bought 2 on sale and played it for maybe 10 hours before getting very bored. In several ways it’s better: prettier cleaner mechanics and more depth but I just feel like they stretched it out too much, with random loot and too large an open world and trying too hard to give a deep story for such a simple kind of game. It wore my interest down slowly with its repetitive grind. Had it been a tighter affair it would have benefited greatly.

        • welverin says:

          Developers desperately need to learn that that making their sequel bigger and piling on the content doesn’t make it better.

          Hearing Rocksteady was making the next Arkham was good, hearing it was going to be even bigger than Arkham City, more that countered that.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            The larger open world aspect of City to me was an improvement over Asylum as it took the first game and added something of quality to it. The flip side to that for me would be Borderlands. The second one having way too much driving around open areas between decent gameplay sections which got boring fast. I completed the first one + all DLC, didn’t get close to finishing the second.
            When companies go bigger and more open there has to be enough quality to match the scale, not just mindless travelling around for the sake of a bigger, more open experience.

            As for Darksiders, I only played the second and I seem to share a common consensus here that it was fun at first but did get kinda boring and repetitive after a while and didn’t give me the desire to carry on until the end.

    • basilisk says:

      Darksiders is one of those “tighter but smaller original” and “larger but diluted sequel” affairs, so it largely depends on which of these two categories you prefer. Story-wise it’s as Crafter says; the two games take place at more or less the same time and are mostly independent.

    • LazyAssMF says:

      Well, Darksiders 2 is hapeninig at the same time as Darksiders but the Ds.story is summed up pretty well in 2 (the basics you should know). I didn’t finish Darksiders but finished Darksiders 2 and i liked 2 a lot more than 1. I don’t think it’s really necesarry for you to play 1 before 2 but you probably should at least try, cause you’re still gonna get more story out of it. :)

    • dE says:

      Do you like well paced Action Brawler Games with great but cheesy comic book style and an over the top atmosphere and ideas? Then you’ll enjoy Darksiders 1. It’s fun to play and just so well paced. Plus it’s got a great ending.

      Do you enjoy generic Button mashing Games, with a rehashed storyline, bereft of it’s comic book identity but super padded with extremely repetitive MMO Combat in a large empty world? Then you’ll enjoy Darksiders 2. It kicked out pacing in favor of “Gather x of that” and randomized dull loot.

      • phelix says:

        I don’t see how ‘Action Brawler’ amounts to anything else than button-mashing. I played 1 for 20 minutes until I realized I didn’t have the faintest interest in what was happening on screen. Didn’t play 2 because I don’t own it.

        • dE says:

          Does not compute. So you claim it’s button mashing but at the same time note you’ve got no clue what’s happening on the screen, which means your button mashing isn’t doing you any good. Either way, the key difference between Darksiders 1 and 2 in that regard:

          In Darksiders 1 the player gets better, both through learning the game and through finding new toys and new ways to use those toys.

          In Darksiders 2 no matter how good you are, your Character Level dictates your success. Lower level? You could be god at dodging, you can’t kill an enemy higher than you. And with the right level (around the same as the enemy level), you PRESS_X_TO_WIN.

          • mlaskus says:

            Yeah, the first game’s combat is definitely not about button mashing. I remember getting stuck on one enemy for at least an hour and that wasn’t even a boss. Later when I’ve learned how to play, I destroyed groups of enemies like that one without even getting hit once. Once the combat system clicked for me, it felt fantastic.

    • who_me says:

      Man, play them both. They’re usually dirt cheap suring sales. Pick them up then and play’em… they’re good. Well written, good voice acting… no reason to pick one or the other.

    • Kinch says:

      Skip’em both, or just play a little bit of 1 to see if you like it.

      Darksiders is only good at combining the generic and the bland – there’s nothing original about the series.
      I only played 1 but had to force myself to finish it. Such tedium, Dragsiders indeed.

    • Lemming says:

      I’m probably a bit late to this party but here’s the thing: There’s something to be said for playing 1 before 2, but 2 is arguably better than 1 and playing 1 first isn’t required. However, if you played 2 first, 1 will seem pretty meh.

    • Jenks says:

      I’d just play 1 and skip 2. The sequel was largely forgettable and added very little to the story. War was a much better ‘silent’ badass protagonist than Death, too.

      • Lemming says:

        Normally, I’d say each to their own opinion but that’s just so, so wrong.

        • mlaskus says:

          I prefer the first game but I agree, that IS wrong!
          War is a boring grump, I was very positively surprised at how much more of a fun character Death was.

          • Xocrates says:

            Depends on what you call “boring grump” honestly. War is a more complex and interesting character than he appears, but every line is delivered in more or less the same tone, Death has more range, but I did not find him quite as well written (though this was true of more or less the whole sequel).

            That said, War is the least interesting character in its own game.

    • Xocrates says:

      I like how every comment says a different one is better.

      Anyway, my view is that 1 is a better overall game, but very derivative, while the second is conceptually more interesting and ambitious, but with far more problems – not least of which that it feels like half the content was cut, despite already feeling pretty padded at times.

      So, long story short, don’t skip any, because you won’t know which one you’ll like better.

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  2. Crafter says:

    I would love to see this, Darksiders may be mostly void of original ideas but it is a solid Zelda-like game series and we don’t have that many of these on this platform.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Hear hear!

      If we can’t have another Legacy of Kain or Soul Reaver, these games will fill that ‘overblown baroque adventure’ void nicely.

  3. Lexx87 says:

    I have to say that I loved DS1 a whole lot. I bounced off DS2 after about 5 hours and i’m not sure why, it just…it frustrated me a whole lot to be honest where the original didn’t.

    • dE says:

      Same here, although I feel like I bounced off, because it felt like Amalur. A huge world with extremely repetitive enemies and silly random loot. One of Darksider 1 strengths was the incredibly well adjusted pace of the game. It was just perfect in that regard. And 2 completely kicked that out in Favor of MMO-Style Gameplay and Quests. Oh and the characters lacked… character.

      So to me this news is kinda meh. If they’re going the Darksider 1 Route, I’m interested. If they follow up on the Darksider 2 Path, and since everyone screams Openworld these days, they will – I’ll skip it. Not even in a deal.

  4. amateurviking says:

    Is there a rule that says one cannot mention Darksiders positively without immediately stating it lacked originality? I mean it is basically the Platonic ideal of a genre-piece but (the original at least – still need to play 2) was a fairly straight up great game arguably because of rather than despite it’s influences.

    • Crafter says:

      It is indeed a bit silly… there are very few games that don’t own an huge debt to their genre founders.
      I think that Darksiders is mostly criticized because its influences are very visible.

      • Stardreamer says:

        …and, generally speaking, the original influences are better at what they did.

        But don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed both games and would love to see a third one.

    • Lemming says:

      I agree. People have to say this qualifier, seemingly because it does so well and they don’t want to let it have its moment in the sun. Here’s a breakdown of influences for those that care so we can put this to bed:

      Darksiders 1:
      Zelda
      Devil May Cry
      Portal

      Darksiders 2:
      Diablo
      Zelda
      Devil May Cry
      Portal
      Left 4 Dead
      Shadow of the Colossus
      Lost Vikings

      If a game is somehow bad for combining those things, I don’t want to know what’s right.

  5. skyturnedred says:

    I loved Darksiders 2 more because Michael Wincott is fuckin’ awesome. I’m curious, should there be a DS3, if they introduce a new horseman or continue with Death or War. Come to think of it, there is great opportunity for a great co-op game here.

    • Crafter says:

      The original plan for the Darksiders series would have been to make all 4 horsemen playable in the sequel (it is especially visible in DS1 final scene).
      They can all be seen in DS1 small comic book introduction.
      However, since having all 4 of them would have blown up the game budget, the settled on the paraquel we had with only Death.
      I don’t know what they will do for DS3 … I just hope that Death is not the central character this time around, I found him very boring. Even though War is very unidimensional, its quest for revenge felt very satisfying.

      • Baines says:

        I want to recall hearing that they hoped to have all four horsemen playable in DS3.

        Personally, I wish they’d kept with individual tales a bit longer, as well as different styles of games. War was the straight-forward linear adventure. Death was the semi-open world Zelda with random loot. (Strife would lend himself to a third person shooter design.)

        I guess we should just hope that Darksiders 3 isn’t a MOBA.

      • Lemming says:

        I would much rather we had a game for each Horseman before a team-up was considered. I can’t help but feel a 4-way co-op game would somehow lose a lot of content.

        • The Anonymous Mr P says:

          I’m inclined to agree. My perfect-world idea would be have a game for Strife (the one with guns) done by Crytek and one for Fury done by Platinum Games (who also expressed an interest) before some kind of grand get-together.

          Given both 1 and 2 both managed to suffer from extreme filler (even given how short 1 was), Darksiders would work well with the recent (mostly Ubisoft-headed) single-A download-only trend. The franchise can’t support the audience necessary for a AAA-budget game, but something more directly marketed/targeted at the faithful could work.

          I kind of love the franchise in spite of itself; it’s kind of nice to have something so unashamed of what it’s trying to be.

    • Syra says:

      I would straight love for an overblown gothic fantasy coop brawler to be a real thing. That’s the direction they need to go with DS3!

    • Lemming says:

      Michael Wincott’s acting in DS2 is phenomenal. So many brilliantly delivered one-liners.

      To a lesser extend, Mark Hamill, Brian Cox and Vernon Wells’ efforts in the series are also great fun.

  6. Stardreamer says:

    What impressed me about DS2 was the tightness of the combat. Reaction times had to be split-second for some fights and – for once – the control scheme was up to the job.

  7. Philomelle says:

    Isn’t that very old news? I believe Nordic Games themselves mentioned that they’d love to make Darksiders III, but they also don’t want to make THQ’s mistake of randomly throwing millions of dollars at a single project without considering their financial state. Which is reasonable, since they’re not exactly a large publisher and every game counts for them.

    • apocraphyn says:

      Yeah, restating that they’d like to make DS3 would have been old news, though these are some fairly new and pretty notable rumblings coming from both Nordic and the old Darksiders creative director, (especially his comment about not being able to talk about his involvement yet, since that implies something is actually happening). Before now, it was just assumed that all the ol’ Darksiders crew from THQ were all tied up at Crytek USA and weren’t gonna be given the chance to work on something such as Darksiders. Y’know, unless they changed the name to Crysiders or such.

      On the topic of the games – I loved the first one. Not sure why, but something about the game really clicked for me. The combat, the puzzles, the aesthetic, the general feel of the game – it was all brilliant. And to rabbit on in a similar manner to what other people have been saying, I played Darksiders 2 for a few hours and then bounced off of it. I intend to give it another shot at some point, but it definitely seemed to be a “larger but diluted sequel”, as Basilisk said above. Either way, I’d be thrilled if a third game was to be announced, especially if it would still fit within the parameters they were originally planning for back at THQ.

  8. Freud says:

    Good news. I thoroughly enjoyed both Darksiders games.

  9. solymer89 says:

    Some very good news. I really enjoyed both games. The story had pulled me in. I like the concepts of the characters as well. True that the second one was not as crisp as the first one, but all the puzzles and area’s were just as engaging. Plus, Samael. He’s a badass.

  10. Lemming says:

    “Darksiders II was an excellent – if unrepentant about its influences – hack ‘n’ slash ‘n’ Zelda ‘em up, and it’d be great to see such a strong series continue in the brain lab that first spawned it”

    Thank you for saying this. Far too many are willing to dismiss the game off-hand for not being pure innovation from start to finish (seriously when was the last game that was that was more than an indie darling for a couple of months?)

  11. Arown says:

    it’s really great that they are taking the time they need to decide who will do the next darksiders ! I hope Cryteck USA because we will be sure they will use a great graphical engine to make the game but that’s clearly not what matter the most with the darksiders franchise.

  12. dethtoll says:

    Someone explain the appeal to me? Because the look of it’s just so 90s comics it hurts.

  13. Jalan says:

    Madureira really found his niche as far as the gaming world is concerned. His art style on comic books has always reminded me heavily of the stuff young kids start experimenting with once they’ve seen their first five episodes or so of some long out of production anime series like Dragon Ball Z. Which is not to call it all bad (Battle Chasers had the right amount/balance of story, action and art to make it entertaining, even if it was never finished) but his art style definitely works within the realm of video games a bit better.

  14. kud13 says:

    One of these days I really need to finish DS2. I just have the Crucible and the final boss left.

    Darksiders did much to fill a Legacy of Kain-shaped hole in my heart. I was quite upset when THQ folded and it seemed the IP was gone.

    This is good news.