Sprinting to the Summit


2011 is nearly done, and it has been one hell of a year. We can see the short distance to the summit from here, but it’s also the steepest climb!

As we closed out the last week of 2011 at work, we all left knowing that when we returned, we’d have a battle on our hands. The game has to get done, and time is running out. The only way we’re going to get through it, is to be efficient and self-disciplined.

In an email I sent out to the design department in the final week, I asked everyone to “make it count”. I know it sounds like some bullshit PR line, but it’s so true. I want everyone to be the first line of quality and be responsible for what they implement or fix within the game. Everything from line of sight portals to player controls, every facet is integral in making a triple AAA title. You need attention to detail at every level, everyone is KEY to completing the game.

The pressure is always on you as a developer, because the publisher plans its marketing strategies around your assessments of when you’ll have the game done. There’s a lot of money riding on your every decision. For me though, that’s not the biggest pressure, the biggest pressure is from within and, the key members of your team. They will, or should, always want to make the game better, and with an end date that doesn’t change, you need that camaraderie. I don’t think I’ve ever released a game that I thought couldn’t be improved in some way; there’s no perfect game.

Good teams will always be pushing, and the minute they don’t, you need to change your team because it means that they no longer care for what they’re working on.

The last week of work was quiet and relaxed (relatively speaking), but it was also exciting, at least for me personally. We had a new batch of loot items added into the build and I spent at least a couple of hours mixing them up and seeing how they visually gelled together and, how their stats affected the way I played the game.

I think you’ll all be very pleased with how you can tailor Death’s equipment in the sequel. When I sat describing the item levels with the Art Director, Han Randhawa, we had one simple mantra; even the lowest, most basic item pieces, should look badass. Every piece after that just has to keep upping the ante in detail and finish.

I know what people are thinking; they’re straying too far from the first game…believe me, it’s still very much Darksiders.  We KNOW what people liked about the first game, and we love the fans for picking up on the things that are important to us too. The protagonist may look and handle different, there may be loot and skill trees too, but this game retains the same type of level/puzzle design and player progression as the first one. I believe that was one of our strongest features; that’s the heart of Darksiders.

It’s already interesting to see some sites listing Darksiders II as their titles for 2012, believe me, this is a big deal to everyone on the team. We’re gamers, and to think that members of the public and journos alike can’t wait for our game, is very uplifting and exciting for us.

DEATH LIVES TRAILER

During a TV break at the Spike VGA’s, we released the Darksiders II teaser; Death Lives. It’s simple, emotionally potent and left viewers wanting more. Why do you think they’re called TEASERS! They’re made to draw you in and want to go further.

1UP Charity Sketchings

Joe Mad drew Death for 1Up’s charity sketch auction:

The Article is here: http://www.1up.com/features/sketch-auction-gallery

The Ebay bidding (including the winning bid) is here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/180769397433?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649#ht_500wt_1183

…And Into 2012

The New Year will be akin to passing the baton to the final relay runner; we’re taking this package and we’ll be sprinting with all our might to hit that finish line in style.

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About Haydn Dalton

Videogame Designer

2 Responses to “Sprinting to the Summit”

  1. Hell yeah man. Great little read there man. As an avid fan of the first I’m not worried in the slightest about the direction with RPG elements and loot. The first game left me confident that you guys really know what your doing. I can’t wait to see the second as it will really cement what the series is going to be about. Here is to a great new year as I eagerly await vigils latest project. Thanks HDN.

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