Dark Void: A Game Of Jetpacks

I toddled off to see this jetpack-centric shooter a little while ago, and must get around to transcribing the PC-specific stuff I snuck into the otherwise Xbox-focused interview. It’s a first-person-but-with-more-shoulder-shooter with a vaguely adventure serial feel, set in an evil alien-governed universe lurking beyond the Bermuda Triangle. Yes, the Bermuda Triangle – that old tart of a conspiracy theory is back, back, back. Not entirely sure what I make of it yet, as alas I didn’t get hands-on with, but certainly there aren’t enough jetpacks in games. If Dark Void can pull off both the freedom and the tightness of control necessary to evoke the back-mounted propulsion of our nerdiest dreams, it could be onto a winner.

Here’s some artfully edited in-game footage designed to suggest an alien landscape of awe and floating rock-islands, which certainly prompts a spot of the ol’ “Ooh! I wanna play there!”

And here’s some cutscene-based stuff, complete with oddly dispirited voiceover:

And here’s some proper in-game stuff from E3, which gives a much clearer sense of what the thing’s like. It’s worth noting the devs did claim the delayed release date (from around about now to January) has given them headroom to really spruce up the combat, so that the jetpack now grants you extra maneuverability even in ground combat now, but we’ll see.

Could go either way, really. I’m slightly worried about the ground combat, as I’ve seen a few too many screenshots of enclosed metal rooms and uninspiring enemies, but the jetpackery could be a whole lot of free-flying destruction. And, well, it’s a bloody jetpack. Jetpack! Jetpack jetpack jetpack!

44 Comments

  1. CMaster says:

    Played it on the 360 at Eurogamer.
    Found it awkward an unintuitive to move around on the demo level, with camera angles and a insta-death fall making it worse. Combat felt pretty weak too, with two sides hanging on to ledges and reaching over to shoot each other, before the player character runs out of ammo rather quickly.

    • CMaster says:

      Oh, and the jetpack in freeform mode was slow and very limited – it only worked nicely and actually got you anywhere when you looked in exactly the right place, then hit X to zip there.

    • simonkaye says:

      God, you’d think they could get a jetpack right! It’s not ROCKET SCIENCE! Chuckles!

      Seriously, though, if Super Mario Sunshine can do it…

    • Torgen says:

      How does one have an insta-death fall in a game about jetpacks?

      That’s a distrubing precusor to fail, I fear.

    • CMaster says:

      @Torgen – on the Eurogamer demo, you started on a couple of pieces of corrugated iron above a massive drop. going off that massive drop killed you. You had to look up and around for a while till you looked at the right spot, then press X and you would zip off to starting to climb up an upended ship or something, about 6 metres wide covered with chest-high platforms. Your jetpack freeflight as I mentioned before is slow and only for short periods (at this stage of the game anyway), so once you start falling, it can’t rescue you.

  2. Senethro says:

    Is it wrong that I react to shoulders the same way others react to “consolization”?

    I’m a bad person :(

  3. Miker says:

    I’m interested in this. Capcom’s PC games have been fairly well done so far. Also, I may just be imagining this, but doesn’t Dark Void have ties to the Crimson Skies somehow?

    • Dominic White says:

      It has the same 1950s pulp sci-fi style (Rocketeer in a parallel dimension, this time), and I think some of the development crew of the remarkably great Xbox adaptation (it was a completely different game, with the same setting/characters) of Crimson Skies, but other than that, not too closely tied, no.

      Personally, I’m much more interested in Capcoms in-house stuff coming to PC. I hope they keep the cross-platform play for Lost Planet 2. It actually worked really well for the first game. Should work even better on the sequel, given the focus on co-op rather than competitive play.

    • malkav11 says:

      You must be thinking of a different Capcom. The only time I can recall them not making a hash of the PC version of one of their games is RE5.

    • Krondonian says:

      Street Fighter 4, Devil May Cry 4, Lost Planet?

      Isn’t their ‘Framework’ engine or whatever pretty well known for being good on PC?

    • Dominic White says:

      For all of Capcoms multiplatform games (using their MT Framework engine now), the PC is the lead development system, and they just tweak detail settings and options down for the 360/PS3 versions. People still seem to be projecting a lot of bitterness over DMC3 and RE4s ports though, which weren’t even done by Capcom – they were Ubisofts fuckup.

      PC reviewers shat on Devil May Cry 4 because it doesn’t play well with mouse and keyboard, despite looking and playing better than any of the console versions. Funnily, I’ve never seen a flight sim docked points for working badly with pure digital controls though.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Yeah, that’s part of the problem, the game being the same across all three platforms. Modern Warfare 2’s massive flaws can also be summed up as “same across all three platforms”. Things aren’t quite as bad with Capcom’s ports, but they’re still far from optimal.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Did you even read what he said? They’re not ports, they’re PC games that are ported to console and happen to work better with a pad because they’re 3rd person action games. If people would get over the misguided belief that KB/M is the apex of control methods for absolutely every genre then we’d have a much less obnoxious pc gaming community.

      Devil May Cry is going to handle better with a joypad no matter what you do, that’s just the way it is. Deal with it.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Street Fighter 4 would be pretty poor with a keyboard, I’ll tell ya that. In any case, I have a fair bit of faith in Capcom after SF4 and RE5 turned out to be so, well, good.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Well you might be surprised there, some characters work pretty well with a keyboard. Anything that uses 360 rotations (Gief is a prime example) can be made super-effective by binding the up,right, down, left to Q W E R. Charge characters work ok too, though nowhere near a well as with a stick (though better than with a pad). Overall though, it’s better with a stick or pad, no doubt about that.

      OMG NOT PROPERLY OPTIMISED FOR PC, SF4 SHOULD USE THE MOUSE

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      SF4’s lack of proper keyboard support is actually a problem, considering keyboard input is what arcade sticks tend to map to on PC. If you’ve built an arcade cabinet with a PC inside, being stuck with just player vs. cpu mode kind of sucks. Another thing is the online variable framerate issue, i.e. letting folks run the game at 15FPS with no frameskipping even online. Both bugs were noted by Capcom, they’re just not going to bother patching either. Awesome.

      You could add lack of in-game text chat (something even MW2 has) and no push-to-talk to the list of complaints, but that’s just par for the course with GfWL, I guess.

  4. kyrieee says:

    Controls seem terrible
    Par for the CAPCOM course

    • Dominic White says:

      Given that it’s not developed by Capcom (published by them, but that’s an entirely different issue), and Capcom are pretty much undisputed masters of arcadey action, that makes no sense on two different levels. Negative sense, even.

  5. simonkaye says:

    The vertical level designs remind me a little of Jedi Knight/2. This is no bad thing. But combat is looking a touch samey.

  6. Monkeybreadman says:

    Excuse me while i go ‘MEH’

    • JackofAllTrades88 says:

      The flight sections look pretty cool actually. I have to say that it looks a lot more tweaked than footage from a year ago. Crimson Skies was good because of the maneuverability though, and constricted spaces would be tough to fly in, unless you can actually control the speed (instead of 300mph all the time)

  7. Leeks! says:

    As ever, I find repeated shouts of “jetpack!” a difficult argument to refute.

  8. thaine says:

    the flight appears to be slow and boring.

  9. Thiefsie says:

    Everything about the third video is wrong. Do people who live in the USA consume that kind of shite? From Gamespot no less?

  10. qrter says:

    Isn’t this game being made into a film?

    For some reason, that’s worrying – an unreleased game that simultaneously is being developed into a film.

  11. jsdn says:

    In the Dark Void you travel through the Bermuda Triangle and meet up with Nikola Tesla? Hopefully that is wrong, because that’s just an insult to intelligence itself.

  12. TeeJay says:

    I’ve never really thought of the Bermuda Triangle as a “conspiracy theory” … who is meant to be ‘conspiring’ and what are they up to?

    • Gabe says:

      Haven’t you heard?
      The Bermuda Triangle is a breakaway republic, formerly located on the southern edge of the Bikini Atoll.

      BOOM TISH!

    • blah says:

      The Merpeople, obviously. =]

  13. Dave L. says:

    The demo for this came out on PartnerNet (dev-only Xbox LIVE thing) a couple of weeks ago, and it played pretty well on the 360. There was an impossibly silly sort of stunt/special manoeuvre system while flying that I can’t possibly see how they’ll translate to PC controls, though.

  14. Caiman says:

    What bugs me is that the guy is constantly putting his feet in the path of the superheated air coming from his jetpacks without any ill effect. I hope they have a sequence at the start of the game where he goes and buys some really flame-retardant footwear otherwise I won’t be able to take it seriously.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      This is what breaks your suspension of disbelief? Have you ever considered that gaming may not be for you?

    • Taillefer says:

      The helmet hides the tears running down his pained expression, and the jetpack drowns out his screams of “AHHHHH!!!! MY FEEEEET!! Turn it off, turn it off!!”

  15. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    2 minutes into the footage and I’m bored already. I was hoping for Rocketeerisms :(

    The flow in this type of game is very important and it doesn’t seem like there’s enough of it. The guy is on a comfortable cruise control, taking in shots like he’s some kind of spaceship and ocasionally takes a pop at targets. Which is a shame really since, whether you like/dislike Capcom or their games, the studios’ last forays into the PC arena were pretty damn good and solid in terms of action. And on the ground the levels seem generic to their very core – dark and formulaic, with arbitrary scenery standing still in the face of MEGABOOMSTICKS. Whatever “challenges” it suggests – like faraway platforms – are terribly artificial since you’re, y’know, equipped with something that lets you go there effortlessly. Bionic Commando, this one ain’t.

    Also, that host is gonna go bald in about 3 years time.

    • Dominic White says:

      And repeating once more – this isn’t actually being devleoped by Capcom. They’re gradually branching out into publishing, but people don’t praise/crucify Valve based on Zeno Clash, so who’s putting the game on shelves shouldn’t matter that much.

    • Diogo Ribeiro says:

      @Dom: You’re right, and I know that it’s a publishing gig, but I didn’t elaborate on that so it came off that way. So mea culpa; it should read that one shouldn’t associate this with Cap or take this as an example of the studios’ last forays into the PC arena, which are solid. Thanks for the correction :)

      Also: someone rescue the Edit fuction from the Gulag.

  16. ZIGS says:

    So, is this another braindead gameplay game?

  17. clive dunn says:

    C’mon world, it’s nearly fucking 2010 and i seem to remember when i was i a child being promised that we would have access to working jetpacks by now. …..tuts…looks at watch.
    Anyone else have this sense of letdown about ‘the future’?

    • Tei says:

      Compare early Atari 2600 games with 2009 games. See? fast evolution to awesomenes.

    • Matt says:

      @Clive Dunn: I seem to remember someone with a “jetpack” flying across the English Channel about a year ago. Not that you have access to the same technology, but there it is, a working jetpack… of sorts.

  18. PHeMoX says:

    Jetpacks, haven’t had that kind of awesome since what? Duke Nukem 3D?

    Nomads was pretty good I guess, but Dark Void looks very delicious.

  19. random says:

    let’s see…

    floating islands…check
    gateway-like dimension…check
    aliens…check

    anybody else think of Xen when they see this?

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