Interviews// Darksiders II

Posted 20 Jul 2011 18:03 by
We’re back in the underworld with Darksiders II, and this time around we’re giving Death a chance to shine as he journeys to rescue his Apocalyptic brother War from certain doom (how can you doom a Horseman of the Apocalypse, I wonder?). The tasty-looking adventure sequel is also a sign of THQ’s commitment to serve core gamers.

I sat down with the publisher’s creative manager for the core games division, Daniel McGuffey, to learn more about the intentions and development attitudes behind this latest title, and where THQ may take the series further.


SPOnG: You guys are adding a few RPG-style elements into Darksiders II, key of these being the numbers that appear when you attack an enemy. I just wanted to get your opinion of the role of the traditional RPGs in today’s market? Do you think that action RPGs are the way to go now?

Daniel McGuffey: Well, just speaking about Darksiders and not to the industry as a whole - it’s hard to pinpoint where other developers have tried to go - what’s important for us is that we provide a real experience of progression. That the player is something much more powerful after ten hours of gaming investment. One of the ways you can show that is from some of the RPG elements in the game.

You mentioned the numbers that are being dealt in combat - you’re seeing those numbers grow exponentially throughout your gameplay experience, and getting immediate feedback. You know that the weapon you just equipped does greater damage because you’re seeing more numbers. You’re seeing more of an effect on the world around you. That kind of thing is important to the player.

And I think that’s just part of the cultural mindset of gamers right now. Whether you’re playing something super-casual like a Facebook game or something like a Modern Warfare title, progression and experience is a valuable feature. It’s becoming more and more... I don’t want to say expected, but I think it’s made gaming more mainstream and palatable to a lot of people.

Being able to get that immediate feedback - that something you’re doing has an effect on the game world - is almost universal. I don’t know many people who don’t like to get feedback from the game they’re playing that they’re doing good, and that their effect is being noticed.


SPOnG: Speaking of feedback, what kind of things did you look at from the original Darksiders to try and improve upon for this sequel? Did you react much to fan feedback from the first game?

Daniel McGuffey: The studio already had a lot of features in mind to implement into Darksiders II from ideas left behind in the original’s development. That was Vigil’s first game, and... you know, there’s always this grand epic vision. The ‘let’s go here, do this and make that’ attitude. Then you have to rein things in and say ‘alright, let’s get this right first and we can iterate or expand in the sequel.’ So you always have to be a little conservative the first time around.

There were definitely some things that we knew were going to be improved or overhauled this time around. Some things we’re not talking about right yet. But you’ve already seen a few today, like the RPG elements. The skill tree that was alluded to in the presentation allows for a more immersive experience too. In the first Darksiders game, almost everything was kind of exposed to you. You knew about the Wrath powers you would get, you knew about the combat moves you would get.
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