If there’s one franchise that I adored in the previous generation of games, it had to be Darksiders. Sure, it was highly derivative of other games (COUGH LEGEND OF ZELDA COUGH!), but hot damn was it fun. And it was also visually distinct, thanks to comic book artist Joe Madureira handling lead art duties on the game. Darksiders developer Vigil Games went on to create a sequel before their parent company THQ folded due to bankruptcy, taking any chance of a big second sequel with them. But the spirit may live on, in the next game from Joe Mad and his new studio, Airship Syndicate.
Games regularly borrow elements from each other. Other forms of entertainment do too – but games are always seemingly held under a finer microscope; where the elements they “borrow” from other games are scrutinised to a fine point. Where does homage end, and plagiarism begin?
It’s been a traumatic period for developers Crytek, specifically those in the UK and USA. Crytek USA was primarily made up of developers from Vigil Games, who were well known for their work on the Darksiders franchise before the THQ ship hit an iceberg. They’ve now left Crytek, which means another Darksiders could be on its way.
I’ve got a lot of love for the two Darksiders games from Vigil games. Pinching the best parts of other games and wrapping them in a completely unique look based on designs from comic book legend Joe Madureira resulted in a fantastic hybrid of style and substance. Pity the franchise is dead. Or is it?
Wow, almost halfway through our list of games that defined this generation in gaming. Well, maybe not defined, but they certainly made us happy. Remember, no metrics, scores or sales used to make this list - just a lot of bickering and threatening of each other's wellbeing.
While you’re busy sitting contemplating just how badly Gearbox might destroy Homeworld, take a moment to consider the rest of THQ’s library of properties – including Darksiders and Red Faction - most of which have ended up in the hands of Nordic Games. Wait…who?
Much like explosive diarrhoea, there happens to be bits of THQ everywhere now. The company is dead, and it’s various games and license have been scattered to the winds of other gaming studios and publishers. Well, most of them anyway. THQ still has a few properties left that no one wanted the first time that they had an auction, so they’re going to be trying once again to kick them out the door one more time.
With the gaming industry having finished picking who and what they wanted from the leftovers of THQ, there was still one fine studio that was left forever alone. It looked like nobody wanted a slice of Darksiders developer Vigil Games, until Crytek swooped in and formed a new studio with that staff, Crytek USA. So what’s up first for the new studio then? Darksiders 3? Nope!
One of the saddest things to come out of THQ’s recent dissolution and auction is that nobody picked up Vigil Game, the developers of Darksiders. As a result, that studio now no longer exists – but thanks to Crytek, its memory might yet live on.
Yesterday the video game industry, like vultures circling a soon-to-be-corpse, swopped in to snatch up bits and pieces of THQ and its properties in an auction. Here’s who got which properties.
Poor THQ. Despite having a few decent licenses left, the publisher is still in dire straits, and not the type that includes swinging sultans. Fat-trimming, promotional events and downsizing haven’t been much help, so what’s an ailing company to do? Why get down and humble of course.
Darksiders 2 is a great game, a sequel didn’t innovate too much, but carved a path for itself, essentially becoming a more action packed adventure game with RPG elements. The game sold well when it was launched initially, giving a beleaguered THQ some much needed relief. But beyond that initial sales explosion? It’s fizzled, and it looks like THQ won’t even be able to earn back the cash that they poured into the game, at this rate.
Back in early August I posted an article highlighting that Darksiders could make or break THQ as at the time their market cap was sitting at $33 million on a share price of $4.94. Well Darksiders II has now been released and while it has been a critical success it has only managed to sell around a million titles worldwide.
Rewind the clock back to 2010, and you would have encountered a title that was overlooked and neglected, despite being paradoxically derivative and fresh at the same time. Darksiders was the debut title of Vigil games, a studio that created a game that was equal parts style and substance. It was the Legend of Zelda, drenched in a bucket of blood and presented in a unique art style and some solid gameplay. Now, the Horseman War makes way for his brother Death, to take the spotlight in this sequel, as he teaches us to once again fear the reaper.
The early reviews are in for Darksiders 2, and so far, the game looks like pure win, as it improves upon the original. It sounds like a title that the staff of Vigil Games can all be proud about. Well, those members who weren’t dumped from the project and then had all their names removed from the end credits, that is.