There have been subtle signs that the Darksiders franchise has a future in the gaming world in the last few years, but it was tough to take them seriously. The old THQ was forced to give the series a respite after Darksiders II didn’t meet sales expectations, and that appeared permanent after they closed. But Nordic Games acquired the rights to the franchise and reprinted both games so they wouldn’t go out of print again, and slightly remastered and released them for current generation platforms. It appeared they were setting up for an eventual third game, though given Nordic’s small size, whether they had the resources for it was another question.
The chances of a new game increased when Nordic Games became THQ Nordic, and increased further when they established Gunfire Games. This development studio is staffed by former Crytek USA members, many of which in turn used to work for Vigil Games, who developed the previous Darksiders installments. Clearly something was happening with the franchise, despite some of its former team members putting the finishing touches on crowdfunded turn-based RPG Battle Chasers: Nightwar, due for release sometime this year. Now, we’re finding out why THQ Nordic made the aforementioned moves.
Though the surprise was sadly blown when Amazon uploaded their listing too early, THQ Nordic officially confirmed that Darksiders III is in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The first trailer was an all-CG affair revealed through IGN (though it’s now everywhere), who will be exclusively revealing more information about it throughout the month. It showed a shackled War (the first game’s protagonist) being confronted by Fury, another one of the franchise’s Four Horsemen, and taking no pity on him as she walked away in the apparent depths of hell. The trailer, media, and details confirm that she’ll be the main character this time around.
The game will be about Fury’s itinerary to venture to a post-apocalyptic Earth and dispose of the Seven Deadly Sins, the game’s tangible antagonists. Her combat style will rely on her whip and magic, though as a mage, it sounds like she’ll be more reliant on the latter than the former. It will take place in an expansive version of the once-familiar planet, and details imply that it will be an open world title this time around, instead of its progression being similar to the pre-Breath of the Wild Zelda titles. This will depend on how big of a budget THQ Nordic has access to, and if they do, they might as well continue following the Zelda franchise’s pattern. It would be nice if we could have received a sneak peek at its gameplay in the trailer, but they’re hopefully saving that for another “IGN First” exclusive later this month.
Interestingly, the details prove how the developers still have no immediate intention of realizing the grandiose battle teased in the first game’s epilogue. [Warning: I’ll be going into the first game’s ending, which involves spoiling it.] It featured War breaking the Seventh Seal, an artifact that subdued his power, which turned him into a demigod. Despite that, the opposing angels still taunted him, who knew he still couldn’t take them on alone; but that’s when the other three Horsemen, Death, Fury, and Strife, are seen descending from the sky in distant meteor-like forms. Following that…actually, it ends there, on a hell of a cliffhanger.
Instead of resolving that, their plan is to make games starring all Four Horsemen in mostly-solo adventures first. The last two starred War and Death, while this one will have Fury. The next installment should star the gun-toting Strife, and following that, we’ll finally get the game that resolves the aforementioned cliffhanger. It’s quite a risk to plan that many installments in advance, one that didn’t pay off after THQ shuttered following the underperforming Darksiders II, and there’s no telling whether it will pay off now. Hopefully THQ Nordic’s sales expectations for aren’t too high.
Also, perhaps they’ll get creative director Joe Madureira back for the big game if it happens, who sadly won’t be involved with this title. But he’s confident the team at Gunfire can create a superlative product without him.
Darksiders III is yet another title that surprisingly isn’t receiving a Switch version. That’s despite the second game releasing for Wii U at the system’s launch, while the first game will finally release for it on May 23rd. They could be waiting until a later time to announce the port, but that also depends on whether the developers can get the game to run on the system without going through hell.
Darksiders III is scheduled for a release sometime in 2018. As mentioned previously, IGN will have exclusive unveils related to the game throughout the month, and unless they’re purposefully saving it until E3 2017, there should be some gameplay footage. You’d think this would be a guarantee given how we’re talking about a video game, but we live in fun times.