On the lookout back again at it a decade later, it is shocking that The Darkness 2 under no circumstances acquired a sequel. With its violent action, volatile hero, and visceral framing, developer Electronic Extremes was capable to produce a devoted adaptation of Top rated Cow’s beloved comedian guide collection and a shooter that observed very good length in between its peers. Exactly where Borderlands 2, Phone of Responsibility: Black Ops 2, Significantly Cry 3, and Halo 4 would all release in 2012 with an ambition to press the FPS style ahead in one way or an additional, it usually felt as if The Darkness 2 was most concerned with offering us a damned very good time. It truly is a excellent shame the blood-soaked occasion did not go on into The Darkness 3 and beyond.
According to Sheldon Carter, game director of The Darkness 2 and now main operating officer at Electronic Extremes, the studio did have designs to drag Jackie Estacado out of depths of hell – even though his fate was in the long run sealed. “A couple of us at Electronic Extremes begun on a pitch doc for The Darkness 3, and we even got a extremely compact prototype started off, but unfortunately it never ever moved ahead. I like to consider a parallel universe where it was the most significant match ever made.”
That is a bold projection from Carter, but it just isn’t out of the realms of risk. The Darkness always felt like it experienced a house in interactive enjoyment – as if first creators Marc Silvestri, Garth Ennis, and David Wohl had started the comic figuring out it would just one working day transition from panels to pixels. It stars a Mafia hitman turned vessel for an otherworldly electric power, granting Jackie Estacado management around a little arsenal of supernatural abilities and a pair of boisterous demon arms. Absolute carnage ensued from there – in a way that is vintage online video games.
It really is with individuals aforementioned demon arms that The Darkness 2 made room for itself. Electronic Extremes was tasked with selecting up from where Starbreeze Studios still left off in 2007, reorienting the experience to be pushed a lot more totally by the story (penned by returning author Paul Jenkins) and for its motion to be a lot more instant. Combat unfurls up near and private as a end result, with a distinctive emphasis on the complete evisceration of any enemies who stroll inside slashing distance of the Mike Patton-voiced tentacles that adorn both side of the screen.
Designer Tom Galt remembers the initial time he bought his arms on an early edition of the method and understood at that moment that Digital Extremes was on the ideal path. “Just one memory that definitely stands out to me was the very first time I experimented with the Demon Arm slashing prototype. Even in that early phase, it was exciting to perform and just felt intuitive to use. We could all see the likely in that early prototype it was an remarkable second in which everybody realized we experienced a definitely unique and amazing gameplay hook that would make The Darkness 2 stand out from other shooters.”
Most very first-human being shooters have you wield just one weapon at a time. If you’re genuinely fortunate, maybe you can expect to get the chance to wildly fire two at as soon as. In The Darkness 2, Digital Extremes introduced ‘quad-wielding’ – a method which permit Jackie twin-wield weapons with his hands with out impeding any of the hacking, slashing, stabbing, and ripping unleashed by the Demon Arms. 10 many years could have handed, but it’s continue to a wildly enjoyable way to interact with a mass of encroaching henchmen and cultists. It was also a little bit of a nightmare for Electronic Extremes to get correct.
“I do don’t forget that we experienced a good deal of problems through improvement with Jackie normally emotion like a tank as he moved close to. Grabby and Slashy, as we affectionately known as his Demon Arms, took up a ton of serious estate on possibly facet of the screen and to begin with felt like major turrets on the monitor,” recalls Galt. “It took a good deal of iteration to get their movement and how they reacted to the momentum of the participant to experience very good and make them feel like an natural and organic extension of Jackie versus turrets on a tank. I’m genuinely joyful with exactly where we ended up, and Grabby and Slashy do give controlling Jackie a extremely unique sense.”
Inspite of currently being one of the most one of a kind shooters of 2012, The Darkness 2 was once at hazard of turning out to be trapped in a development hell. Not mainly because Electronic Extremes wasn’t capable of guiding this unlikely sequel as a result of manufacturing, but due to the fact publisher 2K Game titles rerouted the overall crew to aid get a different just one of its assignments out of the door.
As Carter recollects of improvement: “There are so many recollections, but the a person that sticks in my brain was when I thought it was likely to be canceled. 2K necessary all arms on deck to support them end BioShock 2 and the full Darkness 2 team jumped on it. It was this kind of a fantastic project to operate on and it also emotionally devastated lots of of us as we deserted one particular job for a further.”
“I imagined The Darkness 2 was canceled for sure, and that we might never ever go back again to it. In cases like that, it just occurs to be an unfortunate byproduct of the scenario – at minimum in my working experience,” Carter proceeds. “Thankfully, there were people at 2K who observed all the passion we’d poured into the game to that issue. In the phone where I considered they have been likely to say, ‘You’re finished,’ they as a substitute mentioned, ‘We’d like to restart the greenlight approach.'”
Though Carter suggests the team was “thrilled” to be back again on The Darkness 2 – BioShock 2 transported in 2010 – Electronic Extremes used this meeting as an chance to change its first notion and “press the visual and activity style”, even if 2K hadn’t just ‘endorsed’ these kinds of a shift. As a result of that procedure some of the far more outlandish mechanics and methods emerged, as perfectly as that iconic ‘graphic noir’ artwork design and style that assisted established The Darkness 2 aside from other FPS online games and grittier comedian ebook adaptations like Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Darkness 2, 10 decades afterwards
Electronic Extremes has expended a decade doing the job on Warframe, but numerous of the lessons the studio figured out in this article are nevertheless in place. “The influence is basically staggering… A great deal of ideal methods came from our time on The Darkness 2,” states Carter. “It was a excellent match to perform on, and I appreciate when folks tweet at me or communicate to me about their encounters actively playing as Jackie. I am incredibly humbled to have been a aspect of the staff that labored on that sport.”
It is really a disgrace to see the 10th anniversary of The Darkness 2 move with these types of small fanfare from 2K Online games. It is, after all, 1 of the most off-kilter shooters from the publisher – a portfolio which features all the things from Borderlands to BioShock to Duke Nukem Eternally (you should not request that’s a story for a various working day). I questioned Digital Extremes what it would do with The Darkness 2, have been it to be provided a prospect to remake or remaster the activity all these several years later.
Both equally Carter and Galt had similar ideas, an enlargement to The Darkness 2’s cooperative multiplayer marketing campaign, Vendettas, and to Jackie’s Mansion, the hub-place of sorts which enable gamers gain a new standpoint on gatherings and take a breather from the breathless campaign to hell and again. “The industry was at a point [in 2012] exactly where a tightly scoped narrative game like The Darkness 2 was receiving more challenging to provide. We had some options for loads of facet missions coming out of Jackie’s mansion, the Asylum, and Vendetta’s mode… but to execute that would have been at least double our budget,” claims Carter.
Galt adds: “We had loads of suggestions to extend the narrative and gameplay with much more aspect missions and content. The Mansion was a good house for players to investigate and learn much more about the narrative and the figures in Jackie’s lifetime. But we never ever experienced the time or budget to genuinely leverage that place as significantly as we would have appreciated.”
As The Darkness 2 turns 10, Jackie Estacado is no closer to escaping the cliffhanger Digital Extremes still left him on nowadays than he was on February 10, 2012. “We all lived fortunately at any time just after. Well… other than for Jackie, who’s continue to stuck in hell,” laughs Carter, who is overjoyed that Electronic Extremes has put in the far better aspect of a 10 years evolving its cost-free-to-participate in shooter, Warframe, from toughness-to-strength. And if you want far more from The Darkness in lieu of a sequel, Carter has some advice for you: “I believe The Darkness 2 stands up quite perfectly as a tale by itself and its evaluation of the themes that people can however examine in the comics is wonderful. There are loads of Jackie Estacado stories out there, if you’re jonesing for them.”
The Darkness 2 is at the moment available on Computer system, Xbox Collection X by way of backwards compatibility, and PS5 via PlayStation Now. If you’re interested in giving the sequence a try out, The Darkness returned for a comedian e-book relaunch in 2021.