Kane & Lynch Dog Days Trailer: Not Cheery


Well I’ll say this for the Kane & Lynch 2 trailers: they’re damned weird. They also make the game look about as appealing as spending a weekend in a rat infested opium den on the lip of a volcano. But they sure are weird. It raises an interesting point – the grimmest of films can appeal through dingy, murky trailers designed to unnerve the audience. But when you’re playing a game, it’s a simulacrum of you stuck in those conditions. Do I want to spend too much time pretending to be a thoroughly miserable 50-something criminal in a bleak, blue-grey world of poverty and misery? You know what, and I mean this quite sincerely, maybe that would be brilliant. I can’t think of any game that’s perpetually bleak. If it can manage to be more than just another third-person shooter underneath the bad times vibe, this could be properly interesting.

Nothing suggests happy-fun-times in the trailer below. But there’s some absolutely fascinating photography used. The developers have said it’s “inspired by documentary filmmakers and the user-generated era.” Again, I’m both daunted and enticed. In fact, for everything I’m seeing and hearing, the main story – getting involved in the Shanghai underworld – sounds a bit of a letdown. I’m suddenly more interested in playing a game about the continued collapse of two awful men’s horrible lives, and don’t really want all that action movie nu-mafia stuff getting in the way.

Oh, who knows!


  1. thaine says:

    That’s some quality animation.

    • Psychopomp says:

      I get the feeling it’s intentional. It’s definitely added to the disturbing qualities some of the trailers had.

  2. ArjanN says:

    “I can’t think of any game that’s perpetually bleak.”

    Hitman games (by the same developer)

    Silent Hill games,

    • Dominic White says:

      Nah, both of those can at least lead to happy endings.

      Kane & Lynch was about two broken, empty men, thrown into a no-win situation where nothing good can come of anything, and bloodshed was inevitable. It was way bleaker than *any* game I can think of.

    • Bhazor says:

      Hows about Pathologic coming at you? Hows about that?

      Or there’s I Have No Mouth, admittedly they bottled out of the proper ending.
      The Last Brothers In Arms game took great relish in extinguishing every spark of light in the game and the ending was essentially “This war is fucked, I’m fucked, the world is fucked. But I gotta get the rest of these men home.”
      I’d also tentatively suggest any Warhammer 40,000 game in that every race is in deadlock and fighting a pointless endless war with no possibility of victory. The fact every single race is essentially a totalitarian, genocidal fascist regime doesn’t help.

    • Dominic White says:

      Pathologic at least puts you in the shoes of someone trying to save people and make a difference, no matter how doomed your efforts may seem. It gives you a glimmer of hope. And Warhammer 40k is just pure heavy metal sci-fi-fantasy sillyness, where you’re just meant to get swept up in the glorious violence of it all.

      What really set Kane & Lynch apart is that you know that almost every action you take is going to hurt or kill people, but the characters motivations compel them to do these horrible things over and over again, and it seems like the ‘bad’ ending (which seems like the right one, anyway) of the first game is going to be where the second one kicks off.

      It makes you feel bad just for playing it – like, emotionally exhausted at being part of it. Not even Pathologic did that.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Me playing pathologic was about a guy selling knives to children so he could buy food so i could beat people to death so i could take their knives. Vicous circle and all that.

    • qrter says:


      (Yeah, yeah, there’s a happy ending there too, if you try hard enough.)

    • Chris D says:

      It’s still early days with The Void for me but it hasn’t exactly been a barrel of laughs so far, but maybe the guy with spears for legs breaks into a tap routine before the end. Who knows?

    • Bobsy says:

      Notably, Planescape: Torment. Starts off bleak and gets worse, and worse, and worse. Even the “good” ending has you spend eternity in hell.

    • phil says:

      Oh, oh, how about Dreamweb? Play as a hopeless loser in a grim and gritty future, killing people for reasons that are likely delusions, before, and spoilers for a game almost as old as a majority of the readers on this site, getting gunned down by the police for your murderous ways.

    • phil says:

      @Bobsy, PST was funny as Father Ted in places, Morte and the Annah were my biggest source of laughs. Also, I always thought the ending was about the acceptance of sins, hence Nameless’ descent into hell, but he hardly lost hope, his last act was picking up an axe and heading off into the fray.

    • Lucky Main Street says:

      Max Payne.

  3. Mathew Jensterle says:

    I am now interested in this, and wondering if it’s worth picking up the first one in case there’s narrative continuity between them. And I might play it too.

    • l1ddl3monkey says:

      I liked the first one up until GFWL decided I was never allowed to play it ever again regardless of how many times I reinstalled it.

      It has a couple of levels that are absolute cock but they are late enough in the game that I wanted to push on and see how the story turns out and that’s what really drives it: I stuck with the sudden death helicopter gunship and sniper rounds and the occasionally repetitive pop up bad guy levels because I wanted to see where this was going next. It’s relentlessly mean and dark and the only comfort you can draw from it is that there are a few people in it more deserving of death than either Kane or Lynch and you will get to kill them in some excessively violent manner at some point.

      I really liked the desperate shoot out ethic it invokes although the combat is a clunky mess mostly but the fact that you kind of struggle to get a straight shot off into someones face most of the time adds to the desperation.

      I think it’s a mediocre game but it’s a good bit of storytelling.

  4. Pace says:

    Simulacrum? Whoa. Nice. Been waiting awhile for the opportunity to try that one out have we?

  5. Bhazor says:

    Essentially you want the Sunshine Boys as done by Ken Loach?

  6. Chris says:

    Closest is probably Max Payne, which is saved by its willingness to parody games and movies in general to hilarious effect.

    Except that, I can only think of people role playing a strategy or RPG with enough freedom for a player to write their own story.

  7. Sam Bigos says:

    Nevermind what the game is like, i’ll just say that was a great trailer.

    • DK says:

      It’s even worse if you know the Lynch backstory. Him having a bottle of pills, a woman and a lot of stuff going through his head does not make for happy endings.

  8. Tom says:

    that was awesome

  9. Lujo says:

    The original Deus ex way pretty bleak, including all the endings, and I liked it for it.

  10. Mihai says:

    I disagree, this actually has made me more interested in the game. Good trailer, I DO want a game like that, too much “happy time” FPS games around…

  11. Weegee says:

    Man, that was intense. They should make a game like “Revolver” that would be awe…..wait for it……SOOOME !!!

  12. Bret says:

    Deus Ex?

    It had bleakness, sure, but it had happy bits if you fought for them. The Rentons, saving people from disaster, that kind of thing.

    It’s bleak, but it wasn’t THAT bleak if you didn’t let it be that bleak.

    • Lujo says:

      I didn’t mean that every moment of the game was drowned in it, but it did create a bleak world that made sense, unlike, for example, Dragon Age and its forced maturity and over the top gore.

      Deus ex created a feeling that life is really grey for an average person, and it managed that using the little things like looking at the news, the perpetual night, or random coversations that you heard on the street.
      By the end of the game I had a feeling that the world of Deus ex is pretty FUBAR whatever way you put it.

    • Bret says:

      Well, I agree Lugo, it’s generally not an upbeat world, but there is the feeling that you can make things better, and enough people trying to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to give the idea that, if you can fix the current system, the whole thing might not go as bad next time.

      I mean, it’s a world that can have heroes in it, which doesn’t eliminate bleakness, but it does cut into it.

  13. Psychopomp says:

    It’s not truly bleak, until it’s made by russians.

  14. damien says:

    here’s hoping the gunfire in-game sounds as good as it does in that trailer.

    michael mann showed the way more than a decade ago, with the gun-sounds in “heat”. i’ve always been shocked that game gunfire hasn’t basically copied those visceral impact THUDS and hot sounding discharges.

    • Fumarole says:

      Heat certainly has good sound effects for gunfire, but to me nothing compares to Saving Private Ryan for the complete experience of being in combat.

    • Weylund says:

      My father has spoken with a number of D-Day veterans who’ve told him that Saving Private Ryan perfectly captured their own beach experiences.

      So yes. If you want to see as close to real combat as you can get in a non-documentary, SPR does the trick.

  15. Kadayi says:

    I must admit the marketing on this has been pretty strange. However I’m one of the few who liked the first game so I’m looking forward to where they take this grim dance.

  16. Blue says:

    I’m really stunned by that trailer – in a very good way. Completely outside the norm for game trailers! If it were a movie, I’d be really eager to watch it. As a game… hm. It’s not that I don’t think that a game could match up to the power and the compelling nature of that trailer. It’s that… I’m not certain that Io Interactive, lawd love ’em, are the ones who can make that game. Not hating on them, just drawing from its first iteration.

    …But you know? I want to be surprised. I’m all about giving them the chance to prove my jaded self dead wrong. And sometimes second versions can be LOADS better than first ones. So best of luck, Io guys – I’m gonna be watching this one closely.

    (And hell, I’m gonna say it – those guys are outside the norm for game characters, and I absolutely support that 100%. I am so, so entirely sick of shaved-head football physique Type-A douchebag dudes and bland irritating laughably sexpot chicks being the leads in damn near everything out there. Variation = HOORAY THANK GOD.)

  17. malkav11 says:

    Pathologic, obviously. It’s like you haven’t been reading your own site.

  18. Funky Badger says:

    Looks interesting. I wonder if they got the real Kim Newman for motion capture…

  19. LordCraigus says:

    Damn awesome trailer.

  20. The Pink Ninja says:

    Hopefully Kane and Lynch will be like the Hitman series and by the third incarnation they’ll have gotten it right.

  21. John Walker says:

    Yes, Pathologic. I should have remembered that. But I’m old and tired.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I actually found pathologic quite fun and exciting. But i always died horribly, so i guess that says more about me.

  22. AsubstanceD says:

    “Hopefully Kane and Lynch will be like the Hitman series and by the third incarnation they’ll have gotten it right.”

    Wha! Hitman third was so badddd! 1 and 4 where the good ones.

  23. Reverend Speed says:

    You guys have done the bank mission with a friend in coop, haven’t you?

    Haven’t you?

    Nearly justified the goddamn price tag. No spoilers for the unspoiled, they can find out about the swine for themselves.

  24. Guy says:


  25. Rinox says:

    John, was that second line a reference to Under the Volcano?

  26. Isometric says:

    This has been quite a suprise in comparison to the other strange viral-trailer thingies. I’m certainly more interested now.

  27. [21CW] 2000AD says:

    Out of interest does anyone know if that is representative of in game graphics, cut-scene or attempted bullshot?

    And is that Kane in the gunfight or a younger Lynch in a flashabck? On first viewing I thought it was young Lynch but on second viewing it looks like he has a scar on his face like Kane.

  28. Marijn says:

    It makes me think of Narc, an incredibly great and incredibly underseen police thriller – especially that film’s opening. This trailer is basically the same in both the bleakness of its atmosphere and in its cinematography.

    I’m off to YouTube to have the first game utterly spoiled for me.

    @ Damien: You’re so right about Michael Mann and his gun sound effects. I saw Public Enemies last year and that film has the best sound design I’ve ever experienced.

  29. Vandelay says:

    Was just about to say that this trailer reminded me of a Michael Mann film, but looks like I was beaten to it. I don’t know much about Kane and Lynch, but from what I do know it does sound like it follows similar themes to a Mann film’s cops and crooks are the two sides of the same coin. If they are able to really capture the feel of this trailer in-game then this could be interesting. Would like to know a little bit about the actual game though.

    On bleak games, Stalker is probably one of the bleakest games I’ve played, but I have also always thought it could have been bleaker. Making the game more about survival and add some RPG-style quests, but make them focus on self-preservation and really make benevolent acts potentially damaging to yourself could really make for an interesting game.

  30. rocketman71 says:

    So, will Jeff Gertsmann fire himself from Giant Bomb when the inevitable review saying this is mediocre arrives?

  31. Radiant says:

    Why don’t they just say ‘fuck it’ and go off and make a movie?
    It’s pretty obvious that’s the medium they want to be in.

    • sinister agent says:

      I would imagine because a game that only just managed to be mediocre would be very poor as a film.

    • Jakkar says:

      The sheer linearity of the first game, and the repetitive hours of samish shooting were the death knell – if you crammed the style, quality of writing and visuals into a film, it might actually work.. Aye.

    • [21CW] 2000AD says:

      Well there is a Kane and Lynch movie in the works already, Bruce Willis apparently signed up to play Kane

  32. vash47 says:

    Fuck yes, K&L2 ans SCII are the only games I’m dying to play.

  33. fulis says:

    Wasn’t S.T.A.L.K.E.R. pretty bleak and oppressive? Not in the same way that this seems to be, but still. As much as I loved it, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was pretty exhausting to play

    Anyway, I thought the trailers for the first one looked great but I never played it because of the crappy reviews. I don’t think this will be any different

  34. M.P. says:

    I concur, brilliant trailer! I suspect it’s just gonna be another 3rd-person shooter underneath though. Let’s wait and see.

  35. a says:

    I love your point John. A game that had more of a point than being fun could be an amazing experience. Realistically however, this is probably nothing more than another game about shooting men. Screw it, all I want is my Hitman 5. =/

  36. poop says:

    vandelay, call of pripyat is really exactly the stalker game you described.

    really though one of the best parts of stalker’s atmosphere is the disconnect between the campfire where dudes are drinking vodka and laughing and the terrible lonely bleak outside world. it has a really nice effect.

    • Vandelay says:

      Yeah, it sounds as if Call of Pripyat could be very good. Very much looking forward to it.

  37. chesh says:

    Manhunt? The Void? The Path?

  38. chesh says:

    Manhunt? The Void? The Path? Killer7 (which is admittedly a very surreal bleak, but still bleak — if I remember correctly, in one ending the US is destroyed, and in the other Japan is)?

  39. chesh says:

    Urgh, it looked like my first comment didn’t post, and then I double posted, and they were both actually supposed to be a reply to the second thread. I fail.

  40. 1stGear says:

    Russian games. No developers from any other country will ever top the relentless bleakness of games made by people who appear to be intimately aware of their own mortality.

  41. DavidK says:

    I’ve not played Kane & Lynch, but I dig these trailers. Comparisons to Manhunt, Stalker, Pathologic, or Void seem odd and misguided. John has the right of it, I suspect. This is all kind of new.

  42. SanguineLobster says:

    In my mind, Kane and Lynch did tragedy better than any game I’ve ever played. Kane and Lynch, the characters, were incredibly well thought out and detailed (when they weren’t saying the word ‘fuck’).

    Kane, who couldn’t bring himself to tell his family his regret, and how much he loved them (“I wrote a letter….”)
    Lynch, who’s just trying to live with his psychotic breaks, and he’s so sure that he couldn’t have killed his wife.

    These were real, deep characters, more than any I’ve played before. The characters of serious games, such as The Path, The Graveyard or Stalker (I haven’t played The Void or Pathologic) are less realistic. They always seem to be fragments of characters, they don’t exist in a story, just a feel they’re trying to evoke. They seem to lack complexity, unlike K+L.

    That said, all the common complaints are right. Dull and simplistic gameplay, (online was kinda fun. Damn Windows Live) unattractive graphics, sketchy controls and so on.

    Either way. Want.

  43. Jarmo says:

    Demon’s Souls (for the PlayStation 3, so outside of your jurisdiction) is a game that’s brilliantly perpetually bleak. You’re all alone in a ravaged world that can kill you in seconds — and that’s the happy part.

  44. ChaK_ says:

    As a big fan of the first I must say that trailer looks nice. And mature.

    It sure wasn’t the most technically well finished product, but man that was fun !

    bring it on !

  45. robrob says:

    That chap with the beard sounds a bit like Duke Nukem don’t you think?

  46. Andy says:

    I’ll be really interested in seeing some in-game footage now. Io’s Glacier engine has become really impressive in their last few games and I really hope they can produce something that represents those trailers. I expect, however, that it’s just some decent marketing and it’ll be another stock 3rd person shooter.
    I’d prefer a new hitman game.

  47. Ian says:

    @ John: “They also make the game look about as appealing as spending a weekend in a rat infested opium den on the lip of a volcano.”

    If you don’t want to go to Kieron’s you could just say.

  48. Tei says:

    A boring game with interesting character can be ridiculized made into a platformer game where your character can use lots of different things, but all you have to kill is one gombat, one that don’t move and has not death animation.