Starting next week, consumers in Europe will no longer be able to purchase the digital version of Darksiders II on Wii U. On Sunday, March 31st, Vigil Games‘ last game will be removed from the Nintendo eShop in Europe. However, Wii U users who have downloaded Darksiders II prior to March 31st will still be able to re-redownload the title. The reason for the upcoming removal is currently unknown. The game’s developer, Vigil Games, is defunct as of last January.
The artwork above was crafted by Darksiders II developer Vigil Games. On its Facebook page, Vigil Games says it made the artwork as a tribute to one of its favorite video games, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Since its inception in 2005, the developer made two games – Darksiders and Darksiders II – both of which were inspired by The Legend of Zelda series. Although Vigil Games is defunct as of January 23rd, 2013, Platinum Games’ Atsushi Inaba expressed interest in purchasing the Darksiders franchise.
Darksiders II developer Vigil Games’ Ryan Stefanelli says that his studio probably wouldn’t subsist if The Legend of Zelda didn’t exist. Apparently, The Legend of Zelda is Vigil Games’ utmost inspiration for the Darksiders franchise. Stefanelli claims that the reason there aren’t many titles like The Legend of Zelda is because it’s ‘really hard’ to develop an action-adventure game similar to Nintendo’s influential series.
“If Zelda didn’t exist, Vigil Games probably wouldn’t because that’s the game that we most often quote as saying “that’s the genre we want to play in.” I think another reason why we get so many comparisons is because, look, nobody really runs in that crowd. There’s a reason there aren’t many games like Zelda–it’s because it’s really god damn hard to do. It’s really hard to make a game like that. The reason nobody calls a game a Doom clone anymore is because there’s a shitload of first-person-shooters. I mean, which one are you going to compare it to? There’s so many. The genre is literally saturated. But action-adventure games? It’s really easy to draw a comparison to Zelda because there just isn’t anything else like that. It’s the same with God of War. I mean, there are quite a few games in that genre, but, really, there are a few that stand out, like God of War, Devil May Cry. It’s kind of easier to draw a comparison between us because the breed is rare, but we knew we were going to have that problem when we went in. Like I said, not many people try to make games like that, but we loved it, so we wanted to anyway.”
Ben Cureton, Darksiders II’s combat designer, was asked about which games inspired him and his team. Cureton revealed that The Legend of Zelda series was an inspiration for the “puzzles and stuff” within Darksiders II. When asked about when the game will come out for Wii U, Cureton said Darksiders II should be a launch window title.
Some of the mechanics feel comparable to Devil May Cry or Castlevania: Lord of Shadows. What games inspired you?
“Well, we definitely played every combat game. It doesn’t matter if it’s considered the best game of all time or the worst game of all time. We play ‘em all. Obviously, we had the Zelda inspiration with the puzzles and stuff. But for combat, we are hugeDMC and Bayonetta fans.”
Is it still coming out as a launch window title?
“Right now, I would say yes, but I’m not anybody who has anything to do with that.”
Ex Darksiders 2 Senior UI Designer, Xander Davis, has spoken to Not Enough Shaders about working with THQ on Darksiders 2, and what he thinks of Nintendo’s forthcoming console Wii U. Here’s Davis’ unedited thoughts about the system.
“I’ve not worked on any Wii U version of anything (luckily). But, y’know, I very early on raised my major concern about this. Anybody buying any Wii U game that’s a port is probably buying it almost exclusively and specifically for how it can play differently through the Wii U’s alleged innovated UI. I’m already a known skeptic on whether the interface paradigm is at all anything but idiotic. But if you’re gonna do it? Fine. Then, you HAVE to do it right. You HAVE to innovate on the UI. You HAVE to enhance game mechanics and gameplay in a MATERIAL way that justifies all the hassle and a $400 Xbox 360 seven years late.”
“I can’t comment on THQ / Vigil specifically. However, just in general, I doubt any studio or publisher is truly giving it the kind of proper UI design and thinking it deserves. Hell, apparently this is a huge leap for regular triple-A console releases. From what I’m hearing from people who have actually played a Wii U as recently as a month ago, the games pretty much suck and the tablet is pretty much a complete gimmick. Still tethered, not wireless. Maybe publishers can pull off something clever. But won’t it just kind of be clever for a little bit, then not really worth your $60 dollars and just annoying afterwards? Kinect comes to mind. PlayStation Move comes to mind. Motherfucking Wii comes to mind. But, sure, we’ll have to wait and see… I can’t comment on specifics. I can only speculate, but as a UI Designer applying experienced critical thinking to game mechanics UI and the Wii U tablet, none of it makes sense to me to truly add value to gamers, even if you try.”
Vigil Games’ Haydn Dalton wishes that Nintendo would just come out and share more information regarding their forthcoming console so developers can openly talk about their Wii U plans. Dalton says it’s awkward when he has to avoid answering questions that are related to Wii U’s technology and power. According to Dalton, developers can’t be completely open with their Wii U products until Nintendo gives them the OK by revealing all of the Wii U’s capabilities.
Do you wish Nintendo would just come out and say?
Haydn Dalton: “Oh, of course. Yeah. It’s awkward because when people ask questions about [Wii U] we’ve got to skirt around the answer. We obviously want them to come out with it because then we can just talk openly about the game. I’d rather just be open with people than spinning the answer back at somebody. As soon as they just come out and everything’s revealed it would take a little bit of weight off us as developers so we can be a little bit more open about the product.”
Darksider’s II lead designer Haydn Dalton was asked about whether he thinks the Wii U GamePad is innovative compared to Microsoft’s SmartGlass. Dalton says that although Nintendo’s competition is making the Wii U GamePad seem less innovative, Nintendo are masters at making full use of their hardware. Dalton likes how Nintendo use their technology in ways that force players to physically interact with it in different ways.
Do you think having the screen on the Wii U GamePad really innovates as much as things like the analogue stick did? Now you’ve got Microsoft looking at SmartGlass, and you’ve got the competition competing directly with Nintendo’s innovation.
Haydn Dalton: “It does make it more difficult now, definitely. Because other people are doing more. They’re doing peripherals that can be added to existing or even more advanced technologies, whereas who knows what the Nintendo guys are doing. The thing that Nintendo are absolute masters at is that they harness their hardware like nobody else.”
“If you look at any of their titles where they’re using the touch screens on the NDSs and things like that, they use it in beautiful and creative ways that make you think as a designer and a game player. They’ve given me something that I couldn’t get anywhere else. Just simple things like finding something with dust on it and having to blow onto the screen to reveal what’s written. It’s just really simple things like that but they’ve used their technology in a unique way and forced the player to physically interact with it in a different way. There’s a magic about that. I only get that magic a lot when I’m playing Nintendo games.”
THQ and developer Vigil Games have provided gamers with a further look at the action-packed Darksiders 2. The trailer has been created to show off the ‘First Edition’ version of the game which gives you access to more quests, extra loot, faster horse, death angel armour, and finally new powerful weapons. Darksiders 2 is coming to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC in August, and in late 2012 for Wii U.
An investigative sleuth over at the NeoGaf forums has discovered that Retro Studios, the developer behind Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong Country Returns, has hired staff from Uncharted 3 developer Naughty Dog and Darksiders staff from Vigil Games. Eric Kozlowsky formerly from Naughty Dog claims this new project could be one of his crowning achievements as an artist.
I am going to work on another project that I am super excited about. I can’t talk about it too much but if all goes well it might just be one of my crowning achievements as an artist….
- Eric Kozlowsky formerly from Naughty Dog, now at Retro.