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AusGamers Darksiders 2 Developer Interview
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 03:26pm 19/10/11 | Comments
We chat to Darksiders 2 creative director, Danial Isaac, about experiencing Death... as a playable character in Darksiders 2. Read on or watch for what he had to say...


Watch the full video interview embedded above, or click here to catch it in HD

AusGamers: Ladies and gents, welcome back to AusGamers. We’re out at TGS once again at THQ’s booth. Obviously we’re here to talk about Darksiders 2 with Mr. Daniel Isaac who is the creative director out at Vigil.

Many of you probably know that Darksiders was one of our higher rated games when we reviewed it and definitely a favourite of mine. Daniel, let’s talk about the sequel; let’s talk about where it’s going. I think one of the key things that I want to know is: it’s been roughly two years since we saw War and now we’re seeing his brother Death. I don’t know if I can wait four years or more for all four brothers. What’s going to happen there?

Daniel Isaac: Yeah, that’s the most popular question “where are the other brothers?” and that’s something that we’re working on explaining. The most common question of Darksiders 1 was “where are the other horsemen while War is on Earth?”, so that’s what we’re making an attempt to explain in Darksiders 2.

It’s something we always knew we were going to explore and the interesting thing is that it’s not a proper sequel in the sense that it’s a full game -- it’s a large game; it’s much, much larger than Darksiders 1 -- but it’s the simultaneous timeline of what’s happening in Death’s world, while War is on Earth.



AusGamers: So is it specifically Death, or are we going to find out more about, like, Pestil... what are you guys calling him? Because there’s a lot of different biblical interpretations. Who are your four horsemen?

Daniel: Yeah, well the four horsemen... we haven’t even said there’s four; we haven’t said there’s eight...

AusGamers: There’s four at the end of the first game!

Daniel: Ok, you’re absolutely right, there are four horsemen. And the other two, we’re absolutely going to explain and discuss and surface some of the story about those two, but this game is all about Death and we’ve spent a lot of time crafting the experience around Death.

What is Death’s world? What does he move like? How does he fight? Every detail about death, that’s what we spent a lot of time creating and that’s what we want players to experience in Darksiders 2.

AusGamers: Now with the first game obviously humanity is wiped out and you’re basically walking on the ashes of the human race as War. But there seems to be a bit of a byline in this one, about whether Death can actually redeem humanity and bring humanity back from the brink. How is that going to work and how is that going to play into it?

Daniel: Yeah, that’s a good question. So, when Death is awakened by all the activity that happens on Earth .. as you know from playing Darksiders 1, mankind was destroyed before the appointed time -- there’s supposed to be a time when mankind, heaven and hell all fight for supremacy, but mankind wasn’t prepared. So if Death wants to be able to restore the balance and vindicate his brother War, then he’s going to have to bring mankind back, and it’s going to be pretty interesting.



AusGamers: So that kind of negates his existence right?

Daniel: Well that’s the thing, is that he’s a pretty tortured soul; he’s a really interesting character and we’re going to learn what it means to be Death. What is that character all about? What is his life spent doing? Those are the questions we’re going to answer in this game.

AusGamers: Now one of the big things with Darksiders 1 was the characterisation. Obviously you’ve got Joe Mad’s beautiful art come-to-life in videogame form. Great scripting, excellent voice-acting, but Death doesn’t really have a face per se -- he’s wearing a mask and looks like he could probably come out in the middle of a Motley Crue concert of Alice Cooper or something like that.

Where was the inspiration for that and did you guys test him actually having a mouth and features like that as well? And eyes that we could kind of connect to?

Daniel: Yeah, I think you just answered your own question with the Motley Crue comment. Yeah, he was an Iron Maiden mascot... no he wasn’t. But that’s a really good question, because that’s something we’re actually explaining and spending a lot of time diving into in the story. It is a very significant feature of his and that’s something that we’re going to start talking more about pretty soon.

AusGamers: Now you talked about how this isn’t actually happening on Earth, this is happening in “other realms”, which obviously opens up the flood-gates for you guys in terms of art-direction and creatively just taking players to new worlds. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Because obviously the theme with a lot of Darksiders people threw back to Zelda all the time and one cool thing about that particular series was how there was always like a water area and then a desert area and then a grassy area and you guys kind of did something similar in Darksiders. I’m wondering how you’re breaking up the different realms of the overworld?



Daniel: Well the Universe of Darksiders has a lot more than just demons and angels and we’re going to explore that in Darksiders 2. We’re going to show you the different races that build out the Darksiders Universe and take you to the different places that they inhabit.

AusGamers: Now day and date PC as well this time?

Daniel: Absolutely!

AusGamers: Any differentiation on the PC platform for PC gamers?

Daniel: We’ve been hanging out on forums, learning from the first Darksiders what matters to PC gamers as far as interface, as far as specs and we’re going to make sure we include all those things.

AusGamers: And will there be any differentiation on either PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii-U?

Daniel: Wii-U is something we’re still working on. We’re working with the technology and the controller -- which is really unique -- trying to work out how to maximise that experience for the Wii-U. So you can expect the same graphic-fidelity, the same experience from console to console, but we’re finding out what it means right now; doing our research to find out how to deliver the best experience for the Wii-U control.

AusGamers: There was a bit of contention that came out of E3 and I’m just going to jump into this because you guys have the Wii-U SDK right now, or at least have enough to know what you’re dealing with once you actually get down that path. Is it as powerful as Nintendo were saying? Are we going to get basically the same graphical-fidelity? You just said it, but is it all as powerful as we’re all hoping?

Daniel: I’m not a really technical-focused guy, but we don’t see any reason -- right now -- why we can’t hit the same visual-fidelity.



AusGamers: One of the other really cool things that’s happened with Vigil is your game engine has now been used for Warhammer Space Marine -- which was a pretty cool game and it looked quite good. Is this now going to become a sort of internal THQ tool to dish out to other internal developers?

Daniel: Well yeah, as you said we used it for Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. But Relic got their hands on it, took it apart and rebuilt it -- modified it to expressly deliver the experience that they wanted to create. So it’s a bit modified, it’s a bit catered towards Relic’s needs for that particular project. But as a publisher, we do want to maximise our technology to use in the best way possible.

AusGamers Another thing that you’ve been talking about is that combat in Darksiders 2 is a lot more nimble, a lot more agility-based and acrobatic-based; a bit faster, a bit more frenetic. Can you talk about the differences for you guys in terms... because the combat in Darksiders 1 was quite good and you did feel like you were this big deliberately strong, hulking guy.

For you guys, what was the process in taking that a step back and making it faster, but maintaining that same frenetic stuff that you had in the first game?

Daniel: Well the core experience of Darksiders is still there. The controls -- for the most part -- remain unchanged. The heart is very much intact. But we just thought about what’s appropriate for Death? How does he move? How does he handle an encounter? And we built the experience based around that.

AusGamers: And the first game actually had quite a bit of a challenge to it. Some people actually did simple puzzles and over-thought them so much because there was so many other more complex puzzles in the game -- myself included. What’s the puzzle experience like? Because you obviously didn’t touch too much on that here at TGS or at GamesCom?



Daniel: Puzzles are definitely still part of the experience. So are the gear items that you use to solve those puzzles and you saw in the video today that Death has a ghost hook -- that’s his own version of the Abyssal Chain that War had. It’s mostly the same, it mostly parities War’s in Darksiders 1, but there are a few unique traits -- a few unique ways that Death can use it.

He’s going to have some new gear items this time around too that are much different than what War had to offer. So puzzles will return. We want to deliver a good balance of combat and puzzles -- so not too much of one, not too much of the other.

AusGamers: Now obviously again, everything’s ramped up twice as much as Darksiders. The Universe seems so ripe for the picking for stuff outside of videogames. I’m just wondering are you guys looking at expanding the marketing and lore component of the Darksiders Universe?

To me it seems like this would be a no-brainer animated-epic kind of tale. A lot of other studios have done that like Halo where they went to all the different Anime studios. Have you guys looked at that at all? is it something that you’d like to do?

Daniel: Yeah, the Darksiders Broadway musical is coming, hopefully in 2013... you know honestly, if it’s right for the property -- if it makes sense -- sure, we’ll expand into whatever makes sense. But we’re going to do it right; we’re going to do it to the best of our ability. We’re in no rush to get those kind of products out there, but if it makes sense, we certainly will.

AusGamers: Finally, one of the other cool things about Darksiders 1 was all the really crazy characters that you met. But I always felt like by the time you got to the end of the game, the world became a bit of a barren place and I still wanted to interact with a lot of the creatures. Have you touched upon that at all? How many more characters are we going to see? Is it roughly the same? And are they larger than life? Bigger than they were in Darksiders 1?



Daniel: Yes!

Ok, so actually, that’s something that we’re very aware of. Again, going into Darksiders 2, we spent plenty of time slaving over forums reading what they liked and disliked. We wanted to improve the Darksiders experience so much and we’re delivering a lot of mechanisms that will allow you to keep the world feeling alive. We want the world to constantly feel more and more and more alive. So the more you go through the game, the more we want it to be inhabited and we have some new features -- some new technology developments -- that are going to allow us to make sure that happens.

AusGamers: Was it deliberate that in the first game, being able to get Death’s scythe was a clue that Death was going to be in the second game? And if that’s the case, is there going to be a weapon that you can upgrade to early on in Darksiders 2 that will be an indication of what’s coming in the potential third game?

Daniel: I suppose that’s definitely possible.

AusGamers: I want it now, so give it to me!

Daniel: Man, I want to put it in your hand so bad, so hopefully summer 2012. We’re going to get it out as fast as we can, but when it’s right; when it’s ready.

AusGamers: Alright, thank you very much for that. Cheers.

Daniel: Thank you very much.
Read more about Darksiders 2 on the game page - we've got the latest news, screenshots, videos, and more!



Latest Comments
Mosfxx
Posted 05:40pm 19/10/11
I really do need to finish Darksiders such a good game, the satanic version of Zelda
Steve Farrelly
Posted 06:21pm 19/10/11
I wish someone would rescue Shadow Man (N64) and throw it up on Xbox Live Arcade or something, speaking of satanic Zeldas
Raazel
Posted 09:25pm 19/10/11
Hells yeah, I could go for an uplifted HD version of shadow man, that was a scary - great game.
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