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Last week we got the chance to see a preview of Vigil Games Darksiders 2. Much of the event was centered on the new protagonist character Death, who is the brother and fellow horsemen to War from the first game. We got to see how Death has been personified throughout history before settling in to the popular rendition of the skeleton horsemen that comes to reap your soul with his scythe, and how he differs from his brother in methods of movement and combat styles. We sat down with Haydn Dalton, Lead Designer, to answer a few of our questions.
The Escapist Magazine: Excited about showing the game off?
Haydn Dalton: Yeah. It's obviously really good that, the team's been working on it so long and so hard. It's nice to start getting some recognition for all the work they've been doing. And obviously it kind of kills us that we've been working on it, we can't say anything about it so, these events been able to vent that stuff and kind of show everyone how we're doing, it's pretty exciting.
TEM: So other than Death appearing in the first game, was there any particular reason you wanted to transfer into him as being the protagonist?
Haydn: It was a very close call, Death was very nearly the first horseman in the first game, so really it was after we did War we thought it was an unusual choice to begin with. We thought "Well, if we're going to do another horseman who would it be?" He's pretty much like, whenever you speak to anyone and say, if you could be one of the four horsemen, Death nearly always came up as the most popular one. And originally in the concept sketch, he's obviously looks a lot leaner, a lot more dynamic than War. So we thought we can really give players the Darksiders experience but give them a whole new slant with this kind of more dynamic faster, more agile character. That was the big thing we thought was cool, he was probably the most popular Horseman so he seemed like the natural choice out of the three Horsemen to do next.
TEM: Going back to the first game, what was the original decision that made you steer towards War instead of Death?
Haydn: It was kind of hard, Death was the most popular one but if we're going to do a combat-based game it seems to make more sense to go with War. It kind of personifies that conflict. So it seems to be a really good fit for the story we had at the time and at the time what we wanted to do.
TEM: So with Darksiders 2, what aspect do you feel your enjoying the most, that has improved the most or that you're really excited about?
Hadyn: There's two areas really that I think have improved a lot. I think the traversal has been a really fun addition because, not only fun from a gameplay point of view but from a level design of point of view and an aesthetic point of view. We can create levels which are a lot more complex and interesting to look at, more vertical, and lots of different ways to interact with the environment. So that's been a very kind exciting for level design and implementation, and in that element of commitment on the locomotion side of the traversal like with the wall run, once you start a wall run at some point you're going to fall off right? So the player's gotta commit and try and jump and keep that timing element going, so that's one of the many things and also I like the loot element. I mean it kind of lets you control the way you look, put stats together, and have a customization system. That's been pretty exciting, I remember when we first started getting the loot I had to spend hours looking at all the different loot. So that's been pretty exciting.
TEM: So that's one of my other question, what was the the driving factors for wanting a loot system? How did you make it fit into Darksiders?
Hadyn: It was one of those things we really wanted to do in the first one but we thought it was stretching ourselves too far. So the first thing we wanted to improve was that we could do the type of action-adventure game we wanted to do. And the things like the loot system, lots of NPCs and things like that were on the table for the first game. We did some itemization in the first game but we didn't do too much. We thought it might be too much work for the project, but now that we have all the core systems from the first game, we can kind of go with that and commit to something pretty robust and deep loot system. I mean, especially when you see more of the game later on you'll find out how deep our loot system is.