So Dungeon Keeper may be returning, as evidenced by not one but two trademark applications on EA’s part. My feelings on the matter are the very definition of ‘mixed’.
Of course I want to play a new DK game with ultra-graphics and drop-in multiplayer and perhaps even some degree of persistence (as I’m perhaps foolishly guessing any new take on the series would involve), but my huge attachment to a game I revisit at least once every 12 months has very little to do with the license – which was always broad, generalist fantasy with a satirical twist, rather than something howlingly unique. A new DK would be the same characters with a different team, and that means little. This isn’t that I’m lost to Bullfrogian retro-fetishishm – even the same theme with the same team mightn’t inspire me greatly at this stage. I want to be told this will be awesome, not simply this is happening.
Similarly, I have no fear that someone is going to foul up the license. DK means as much as it does to me because it was a perfect storm of passive observation and active strategy. Construction and action: two of the key pillars upon which my PC gamingdom is founded. What I want is the reassurance that the same values, the same degree of fun, will persist and be expanded upon, not that I get to look at a Horned Reaper with more polygons. Drooling fervour for old IPs is meaningless: it is the values that matter, not the characters. The underwhelming if fun Overlord games have proven that the evil-as-hero concept isn’t enough on its own.
Nonetheless, a possible return, even if it is only desperate hope based upon the renewal of a copyright, which surely happens all the time, is exciting. But it’s exciting because a rich company might fund a subversive, flexible, funny management game after years of the genre being neglected, not because I might get to see a Bile Demon with pixel shaders.
On the other hand entirely, I bloody love Dungeon Keeper.