Releasing a game before it's ready is akin to pulling something out of the oven before ingredients are given the proper time to cook. And seeing as we’re currently in the ‘Day One Patch’ timeline, where final bits of polish happen in the days prior to a game’s launch and for the weeks following, the best you can hope for is a little bit of extra seasoning required. In keeping with the food analogy, that’s in reference to those final bits required to bring the whole dish together. A performance bump, glitches sorted, bugs squashed. Peas ready.
As seen with games like Cyberpunk 2077, sometimes the oven timer needs to be set for another year - to let those delicious ingredients properly bake. In the case of the technical mess that is Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance, the entire dish needs to be thrown out. With the oven deep-cleaned so its residue doesn’t find its way into your next meal.
Dark Alliance’s problems go beyond enemies zipping around arenas and ragdolling randomly at breakneck speed into walls. Though, a lot of that can be quite funny. It fails to do basic things like scale difficulty for solo and group play, or do the normal thing of not giving ranged mage-like enemies drastically higher physical-defence ratings than large hulking brutes. There are so many things half-baked, broken, glitchy, or simply baffling it’s almost commendable.
Developed by Wizards Studio, Tuque Games, and set in the Forgotten Realms, the game features real-time combat and dynamic co-op gameplay, and pits the infamous Drizzt Do’Urden and his legendary companions – Catti-brie, Bruenor, and Wulfgar – against some of the most iconic monsters from the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Frost Giants, Beholders, and White Dragons roam the frozen tundra of Icewind Dale in search of the Crystal Shard— and it’s up to the companions to muster the strength to stop them from claiming and using it to destroy their home.
What was the inception of Dark Alliance, and how did the project begin? What were some of those key elements that made it feel like – “Yes, this needs to become a game”?
It’s been quite the journey! A lot of us at Tuque grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons and reading the Forgotten Realms novels from R.A. Salvatore. We initially thought about making a Dark Alliance game back when the studio first formed in 2013, but it wasn’t until 2017 when we created the prototype and pitched it to Wizards of the Coast. After we pitched the prototype, it became clear they were on board with the idea and that we all had the same goal of creating an epic co-op action RPG set in the Forgotten Realms with Drizzt and his companions.
Dark Alliance brings well-known characters from the D&D universe and is set in the iconic location of Icewind Dale – how did the team decide or land on these characters and this location?
Drizzt is one of the most iconic characters in D&D lore, and there’s a ton of rich history to pull from. Drizzt’s companions, each with their own unique combat skills, are crucial for taking down enemies. Icewind Dale is a very harsh and unforgiving place. We wanted to recapture that feeling of accomplishment that you get when working with your friends when you take down an enemy together. For all of those reasons, Icewind Dale was the perfect setting and Drizzt and his companions made for the perfect cast of characters for a four-person action co-op game.