RocketWerkz announce neo-noir open world game Living Dark


I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in Living Dark, but I’m intrigued. It’s a neo-noir open world game announced on Tuesday by RocketWerkz, Dean Hall’s studio. While he’s been heading a team busy with Stationeers, which released on early access this week, a separate team has been working on Living Dark under wraps for the past year. At its heart is a relationship system “that drives the behaviour of every character in the city”, with a proceduarlly generated narrative that’ll be different for every player.

So far they’ve put out an ambitious list of features and three teaser trailers, with two more to follow this week.

Look at that person cough all over his drugs at the 0.38 mark. I can deal with the possibility of rat poison in my coke, but come on man, keep your germs to yourself. Anyway, killer robots: confirmed. Here’s the second one.

There are a surprising number of knives capable of impaling people laid out in that cafe – if only out telekinetic pal had stopped for some grub somewhere with plastic cutlery. But yeah, telekinesis: confirmed.

Seedy strip clubs and hand-to-hand combat: confirmed.

Here’s how its all described on the game’s website:

“Welcome to Vox – a near-future city straining under tensions it can barely control…Fight for friends, factions or your own future, but survive at all costs in a society where justice is only for the powerful. Explore dense, diverse open environments in a myriad of playstyles. Forge critical bonds then confront demanding choices – against the darkness of the city, your decisions make all the difference.”

I’m tempted to call it an immersive sim, in that there are a number of ways to deal with each situation:

“Any situation in Living Dark can be approached several ways. Fight, sneak, hack or forge your way through obstacles – the array of hand-to-hand combat styles and ranged weapons can be combined to deadly effect, but violence may create even larger problems. Whether you opt to silently infiltrate an area or socially engineer your way inside, it’s up to you.”

I like the idea of my playstyle affecting my relationships with other characters, though from the sounds of it the game’s systems go well beyond that. According to the website, “your choices shape the history and future of the city and its people”. You can even start a new game and play through the version of Vox that your previous character helped to create.

It certainly sounds ambitious. Creative director Rashad Redic has worked as an artist on Fallout 3 and Skyrim, and he’s got a team of “hand picked ex-Bethesda and DICE veterans” behind him. By their powers combined, hopefully they can make Vox a city worth shaping and exploring.

There’s no word of a release date yet.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Seems… overly ambitious.

    But hey, if they manage it, it sounds like the open-world-sorta-sci-fi that I’d love.

    So good luck to them. It’ll be years I expect, but maybe it’ll end up being something great.

    • wheeb says:

      So much ammo in this post for cynical and bitter comments, I was genuinely pleased to see your message at the bottom of this. I agree, good luck to them, sounds like it might be cool.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      It does sound perilously ambitious, but I can always muster up some enthusiasm for a bit of neo-noir sci-fi.

    • FranticPonE says:

      It does, but that’s great! It’s exactly what I want vs today’s “no ambition other than scale” triple A games. All of them seem happy to ignore advances or differences in gameplay in favor of making ever larger, prettier games that are functionally the same, or less so, than we’ve gotten over the past decade.

      Glad to see people other than major publishers still want ambitious gameplay.

  2. DudeshootMankill says:

    As ambitious as the original Deus Ex perhaps?

    I love it.

    • Umberto Bongo says:

      Those were my thoughts exactly. I know we’ve had games promising similar experiences but I had a serious sense of Deja vu from when Deus Ex was first announced. This has got me [i]so[/i] intrigued.

  3. jellydonut says:

    The animations are atrocious, hopefully the actual perspective when playing will be more of a birds-eye type rather than as close as in these teasers.

  4. automatic says:

    Creative usage of a complex A.I. system in a persistent universe. Book me in.

  5. haldolium says:

    I love the art of the trailers, very intriguing and well made.

    Too bad the animations are so clumsy and outdated. I hope those are rather placeholders. Even non-captured handmade animations can and should look much much better.

  6. Kunstbanause says:

    Looks like utter trash.

  7. Crocobutt says:

    The animations are close to random.
    What struck me as odd is why would one rush living people into a breached room instead of the robots? They also move so damn slow; Robocop is like Usain Bolt compared to those.
    My disbelief could also be wrong, they might be sentry robots which makes things ok.

  8. Tomo says:

    Intriguing. The trailers look like they’d make for an awesome narrative driven single player game. I’d love to enter that world with a good story. The mention of procedurally-generated blah blah make me less interested :/

    I’ll keep an eye on it though.

  9. racccoon says:

    lol hilarious..the music is great n cheap lol
    whats going on with gaming lately is this a spat of whats to come. Please no.. lol

  10. KreissV says:

    Putting a title under “Rocketwerkz” is like cursing it with the undeath of DayZ

  11. Umberto Bongo says:

    You missed the last one: