Sneaky Sneaky! Styx: Shards Of Darkness Announced

Murder is a right lark, I’m sure we can all agree, but there’s little better murder than murder where no one sees their murder coming and their murder goes undetected. Stealth, I’m talking about. 2014 fantasy sneak ’em up Styx: Master of Shadows was fairly typical for for developers Cyanide – interesting and ambitious but flawed enough to end up frustrating, as our Graham noted in his review. Still, the goblin’s sneaky adventure was promising enough that Cyanide are having another crack.

Today the French studio announced sequel Styx: Shards of Darkness [official site], slated to launch in 2016.

Cyanide and publishers Focus Home say Shards of Darkness is being made with a bigger budget, which might help with those rough edges. Styx was novel for being set in large, sprawling levels with plenty of vertical movement and a focus on pure stealth, not the fight-o-stealth the genre has slipped into over the past decade or so. This time, the game’s upgraded to Unreal Engine 4 and our goblin pal will be stabbing elves and dwarves (or evading them, if you want, I guess). Here’s what the announcement has to say:

“Following the fall of Akenash tower, an extraordinary matter has forced Styx out of hiding to infiltrate Körangar, the city of the Dark Elves. Supposedly impregnable, a diplomatic summit offers Styx a chance at slipping in unnoticed, as he learns that the event is nothing but a mere façade… Moreover, the Elves have joined forces with the Dwarves, and the only thing both races have in common is a mutual hatred of the Goblins…

“Embark upon a stealthy adventure with new enemies, new environments, and a plethora of new mechanics aimed at refining the abilities and movement of Styx; grappling around corners, climbing ropes, and using his trusty knife as a zip-wire. Shards of Darkness aims to offer unparalleled freedom of movement, along with refined stealth and assassination mechanics, expanding and improving on the strengths of Styx: Master of Shadows”

The game’s only been in development for six months, so all we have to see is this one staged “screenshot”. Also, doesn’t aiming to release it in 2016 sound a bit over-ambitious? Classic Cyanide, that.

If you missed the first Styx but are now curious, a Steam sale this week brings it down to £8.49.

14 Comments

  1. Dilapinated says:

    Styx was so good! Probably my favourite stealth game, certainly “of recent memory”. Great environments, great mechanics, magic powers that don’t feel ‘broken’ and able to 100% stealth and pacifism (and a happy-challenge to do so)

    I kinda hope the Dark Elves will have invented ‘women’, though. The fact that every single character in Styx, from the big-named-plot chars to the lowliest scholar, was a dude, was disconcerting, especially for such a big game with such obvious love & investment put into its worldbuilding.

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      gritz says:

      Don’t worry, where there’s “Dark Elves”, there’s almost always scantily clad sex-babes.

      Not sure if that’s what we’re really looking for though.

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      Henke says:

      I wouldn’t go as far as “best stealth game ever”, but I will say that it was one of the best stealth games of last year. Certainly the one with the best level design.

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    G-Lord says:

    Glad to hear Styx gets another chance. Haven’t played the original, but from what I’ve heard it had a lot of potential.

  3. Bostec says:

    Umm Styx or Invisible, Inc. I do not know!

  4. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Had a lot of fun with the first one. For those frustrated with hand holding in certain recent stealth games it’s worth a look, generally you got a crudely drawn map with some scribbles on it and that was it, you have to look around your environments to orient yourself and work out where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. Not perfect, the game absolutely has rough edges, but it’s fun.

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    gritz says:

    It’s weird to see the disconnect between Graham’s lukewarm review of the original and the opinions of hardcore stealth fans who absolutely loved it.

    • Emeraude says:

      I really liked the game, and thought it needed some revisions (though I don’t know how many of us that played it think the whole character progression needs to be removed – I have a feeling I’ll be in the minority on that one), some corners rounded, and a bit of polish, but the the base was solid and deserved another iteration.

      Glad it’s getting it.

      Overall, though that’s not saying much, it certainly was a much better stealth game than Thiaf from what I’ve seen of it.

  6. ramirezfm says:

    Map was totally useless. Game was totally awesome.

  7. Nworb says:

    “Styx: Master of Shadows” was a fantastic and solid stealth game with much to offer, such as multiple approaches to many of the obstacles, and varied options for how you wanted to play.

    The best part however, turned out to be the story, as it folded back in on itself quite nicely. A very clever plot, yet simple plot.

    The dialogue was a little off at times, so hopefully the sequel will have better writing and characterization.

    While the first game did re-use a number of maps, it made sense to do so in the context of the story (i.e. sneak in, sneak out) and revisiting the same location often meant coming at an old area in reverse, finding different enemies in new locations to deal with.

    Here’s hoping they don’t rush the sequel to failure.

    • oldjohn says:

      While I agree on all points, the re-using of the maps felt like they ran out of time and/or money. Half of the game consists of the “same old maps”, only you are going in reverse (up, not down). It felt like playing the same game over again, when you really expected it to end when you hit the bottom.

  8. LynneaGlasser says:

    I was enjoying this game a whole lot, minor rough edges aside (meh writing, ledge navigation finagling, clones being too much work to be as useful as they should) until I ran into a game-breaking bug.

    Apparently, replaying levels to 100% them breaks your ability to continue the game. It looks like an issue that’s been known for awhile, and the solution is just to finish every level before replaying. Certainly, developing more Styx is more fun than fixing old Styx, but I’m wary of a studio that leaves those kinds of things dangling.