The Darkness II is Coming, But Not From Starbreeze
Remember The Darkness? It was a gritty comic-book game developed by Starbreeze (of Chronicles of Riddick fame) released on PS3 and 360 in 2007. It was the kind of game that was flawed and unpolished, but packed with cool little ideas and dark atmosphere. It was a game where you could watch the entirety of To Kill a Mockingbird with your girlfriend or go decapitate some gangsters with your personal tentacle demons. Now, 2K wants to bring back the franchise in the form of The Darkness II.
The new game is being developed by Digital Extremes, a company that has contributed to huge series like Unreal and Bioshock, but never really carved out their own style. This might be the game they prove themselves on.
Set two years after the original, you once again assume the role of Jackie Estacado, now the don of his mob family. The darkness inside of him that helped fight off one mobster after another has settled down, and now he's left to the family business. That is, until a gang war erupts and an attempt on his life bring the darkness back.
Once again, the game takes place on the gritty streets, with a trip to hell in the cards as Jackie tries to figure out why the darkness is back. The sequel seems to be sticking close to the original in terms of tone, but adding its own style in the art department, taking cues from the comics, as you can see in the first screenshot:
Gameplay looks to retain the first-person mix of guns and supernatural powers, with 2K calling it “quad-wielding gameplay,” referring to the tentacle arms you'll be able to control. They say you'll be able to attack with the tentacles as well as toss objects at enemies, all the while firing your guns.
The game will feature writing from Paul Jenkins, a comic book and video game writer who also wrote for the original game. The moment-to-moment set-pieces and storyline made up a lot of the enjoyment in the original, so his involvement in the sequel is a good sign.
I really hope this turns out well, though I have to say I came to the original game because of Starbreeze, whose Riddick game was one of the best titles of the last generation. Without them, I only hope that Digital Extremes can take the foundation established by the first game and make something special.
The Darkness II is set for a Fall 2011 release on PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.