At the recent THQ showcase event in Sydney, MCV sat down to talk with Jeremy Greiner, Creative Manager on Darksiders II.
Darksiders wouldn’t have stood out so much this time during the last generation. Competition would’ve been much stronger. Is Darksiders borne of a reaction to that trend away from this style of game?
I think if you look at gaming in general right now, it’s all going super photo-real. All the games out there. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re a shooter or an action/adventure, an RPG, it’s all like that.
Darksiders II is kind of a breath of fresh air. I think that in the next console cycle, we’re going to go back towards videogames and less towards a new representation of reality.
So once the novelty of approximating reality wears off, we’ll see a more stylised feel in games again?
More artistic, more stylised, yeah. I think that’s the only thing that can happen. Everything is really photo-real right now, especially in certain genres. In the next hardware cycle, especially with the new opportunities they’ll present (thinking here about how the landscape in general is becoming more digital), it all runs into us seeing some new things.
Can you tell me a little bit about the process of coming up with the iconic imagery used to promote Darksiders II?
Last summer, you would’ve seen a certain look out there and a different logo, which was very much in that comic niche realm. We decided to take it in a different direction in 2012, so in January we came out with the new logo and new key art.
What we wanted to do was introduce to consumers who weren’t familiar with the franchise, our main character: Death. We wanted to put some mystery behind him, so the first shot was very close cropped, and tight in, just showing the one eye. We didn’t want the image to say that Death was the saviour of mankind or anything like that, because that just fights your preconceptions of what that character is.
So we wanted him to be mysterious and kind of intimidating. Not necessarily evil, but definitely a guy who, if you’re walking down a back alley, you’re staying away from.
And as we went across the campaign from January up until now, we started pulling out the camera, so you started seeing more of Death in poses, more movement, more images which played into his personality and the actual game mechanics (like the wall running shot). We had all these pieces of key art that represented who the main character is in the game, but had to have mass appeal to people outside of the comic space.
Elizabeth Koukeris recently told MCV the title was tracking to be the number two title in THQ Australia’s history. What do you attribute the increase over the original to?
I think it’s a really good game, and when you market a game, if you’re starting from that point, it’s a lot easier to market it.
In the end, that translates over to consumers, their pre-sale awareness and their willingness to go and put money down on something before it’s on the market.
Also, you can look at the success of RPG games this year. They’ve done really well generally. Darksiders II has a huge wealth of content and a lot of those RPG elements baked into the game, a lot of those skill trees, NPC interactions and vast open worlds.
So I think it’s right in the wheelhouse for a lot of people this year.
Often times games which blend multiple genres neglect to satisfy any market rather than appeal to all markets. How does Darksiders II look to combat this?
I think it’s two things – it’s an action/adventure game, and I think that as our genre becomes more set-piece oriented it almost tends towards the shooter space. This is almost a throwback to the action/adventure of old, it’s trying to put the adventure back into action/adventure. You’re doing puzzle solving, it’s got a strong focus on story, and at the same time has all those RPG elements in there. A lot of that is what we wanted in the first game to begin with.
But when you’re building an entirely new engine from scratch for a brand new IP, there’s really only so much you can get in there. A lot ends up on the cutting room floor.
Thank you for your time.
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