Darksiders II Interview: Making A Superior Sequel
We're only a few days from the launch of the highly anticipated Darksiders II, which was undoubtedly a labor of love for the guys at Vigil Games.
Associate Producer Jay Fitzloff offered to answer a few of our more burning questions concerning the new sequel, and it's clear the team is satisfied with what they've completed. Will the fans respond...? Based on our play time with the game thus far, we're guessing they will. But that's later; for now, let's learn more about how DSII came to be.
PSXE: Darksiders II is unquestionably bigger and deeper than the original; essentially, more of an RPG. Why did you want to go in that direction?
JF: "A lot of the new features in Darksiders II were things we wanted to have in the original game, but just didnt have the time to incorporate. When the time came to start working on the sequel, we took all of our favorite ideas that were on the cutting room floor and put them at the top of our new things Darksiders II needs list."
PSXE: There seems to be a little of everything, from combat to platforming to role-playing to adventure/puzzle. Was it difficult to properly blend all those different mechanics and features?
JF: "Yes. When people ask us why there arent more games like Darksiders, we half-jokingly reply, Because theyre really hard to create. We dont mind all the hard work, though. Were getting to create our dream game, and are excessively happy and proud with how it turned out. Personally, for the first time ever in my career, Im planning on playing the retail copy on my home system on release day. Normally when you work on a project for two years, youre so familiar with it that your copy of the game remains in the shrink wrap for all eternity. Not so with Darksiders II."
PSXE: As a follow-up to question #2, because it's so diverse, do you fear it might not cater to any one specific group of fans? Or would you rather it have a little of everything so it can appeal to just about any gamer?
JF: "Our design philosophy is to make a game that youre passionate about, that you would be stoked to play, and let that passion come through in the design. Truly great and memorable games arent devised via market research spreadsheets, theyre made in the hearts of a team loving what theyre creating. Of course wed love it if Darksiders II was the best-selling game of all time, but as long as we please our existing fans and maybe pick up some new ones with the sequel, well be happy with our work."
PSXE: Can you explain why the game was pushed back? Was that more of a THQ thing or more of a Vigil thing?
JF: "Those extra few weeks allowed us to fine tune and polish the game to add in fine details that you dont necessarily notice, but make the game a more fluid experience overall. Were extremely pleased with how much better the game is now."
PSXE: If there was thing about Darksiders II of which you're the most proud, what would it be? And what might be one thing you wished you had more time to focus on?
JF: "Were an art-driven studio, so what were most proud of is how Darksiders II has a very distinct visual style. Every world feels unique, and every creature has their own visceral appeal. Theres no way that youd mistake Darksiders II for any other game, even with a quick glance. As for what we wish we had more time on, thats a dangerous question. I always say that time is the enemy of art, but you need deadlines. Otherwise, developers would spend over 10 years to craft a single game."
PSXE: Even though it didn't score off the charts, the first Darksiders generated quite a loyal following. How important are review scores to you, and what sort of scores do you expect DSII to receive?
JF: "We know that Darksiders II is a superior game to the first as long as we make those who loved the first Darksiders happy and pick up some new fans with the sequel, were feeling good."
PSXE: THQ has gone through a few changes over the past year or so. Was there any added pressure to deliver a top-tier game because of that?
JF: "Nobody can put more pressure on us than ourselves. Regardless of what was happening at THQ, our goal remained the same make an awesome game. And thats what we did."
Thanks to Fitzloff for answering our questions, and expect to see our Darksiders II review very soon. Will it be one of the games you just have to play...? You'll find out in due time.
8/11/2012 Ben Dutka