Dark Sector Update - Remaking the Game

Digital Extremes' next-gen action game is alive and well, though it looks a little different than you may remember it. We checked out a brief demo.

Have you wondered lately what's been going on with Digital Extremes' Dark Sector? We have, considering the game was unveiled back in April 2004 with an evocative trailer and was touted as the first game being designed entirely for next-generation hardware. Since that time, next-gen has evolved fully into this-gen, with a number of impressive titles like Gears of War, Resistance, and Twilight Princess appearing on all three of the shiny new consoles. And yet there's been no word on what's happening with Dark Sector--until now. Digital Extremes and publisher D3 recently gave us a brief real-time demo of Dark Sector in action to bring us up to speed, and we were surprised to find that it's not the game we were expecting based on our first look way back when.

For starters, forget everything you saw in that trailer. Gone are the futuristic corridors, powered armor, and Metal Gear-in-space trappings you saw well over two years ago. They've given way to a slightly more mundane setting that Digital Extremes says will serve to underscore the unusual and exceptional nature of the game's new main character, Hayden Tenno. Tenno is a CIA "cleaner," the guy they call to come in and fix situations gone awry, the guy who "makes plausible deniability happen," according to the developer. At the game's outset, Tenno will head to the fictional former Soviet state of Lasria, where some sort of horrific biological weapons research has been taking place in secret. His mission is, of course, to mop up the situation, but that mission will be complicated when he encounters two factions at war with one another: a group of powerful mutated humans known as the infected, and a well-armed paramilitary force trying to stop them.

Besides, Tenno's got his own problems. Primarily, he's been exposed to the toxic goop himself, and it's mutated his arm into a gnarled, armored instrument of destruction that can spontaneously grow a three-bladed flying weapon called the glaive. This weapon forms the cornerstone of Dark Sector's third-person action gameplay, which looked similar to games like Resident Evil 4 and Gears of War, given that you can shoot imprecisely from the hip (with no targeting reticle) or zoom in to a tighter, over-the-shoulder aiming mode when you want to get serious. Of course, you'll have access to an array of conventional weaponry as well, such as assault rifles and the like, and you'll be able to perform one-hit melee kills if you manage to get up-close and personal with your foes.

Tenno's glaive will be your primary means of attack, and it'll come in handy for puzzle-solving, too.

The glaive is the real star of the show here. When you go to your aiming mode, you'll get a little ball of light that acts as a crosshair, and then you can hurl the glaive at your target and have it come flying back to you. This makes it effective as a conventional ranged weapon, and even if it gets stuck or destroyed somehow, you can grow another one in an instant. But the glaive has an interesting secondary power that we weren't expecting, one that takes its cue from Zelda rather than traditional shooters, according to Digital Extremes. The glaive can absorb different kinds of energy, so if you fling it into a fire, for example, it will return to you wreathed in flames. Fire it into a light fixture, and it will not only disable the light but come back to you electrified. You can use these bonus properties to fight enemies--an electric glaive will automatically electrocute an enemy, for instance--but naturally this ability has myriad puzzle-solving applications as well. The only example we saw of this was using a flaming glaive to detonate an explosive crate and clear a path, but the developers promise you'll use the glaive in other interesting ways as the game progresses.

We didn't get to see a lot of Dark Sector in action, though Digital Extremes took us through a short demo in which Hayden navigated the streets of a dilapidated, deserted town presumably located in Lasria. After dispatching several grunts from afar with the glaive, he entered an old house and fought up-close with a few machete-wielding soldiers who used a gas that reduced his power and created a really freaky, unique distortion effect that made the enemy appear to be two or three enemies (you'd have to see this in action). Finally, Hayden entered an attic area, at which point the game switched to a cutscene in which he encountered his first infected--a sinewy, fully mutated beast that seemed to have superhuman strength and agility. We figure these guys will be a royal pain to deal with later on.

Digital Extremes' Sector engine seems to be doing a good job of pumping out nice-looking visuals.

Dark Sector certainly made a splash back in early 2004 when Digital Extremes unveiled it as the first game in development exclusively for next-gen hardware. Plenty of great-looking games have shipped since then, but Dark Sector looks as though it's still holding its own, running on the company's internally developed Sector engine. We were particularly impressed by the lighting effects--at one point Tenno walked by some boarded-up windows and we saw the light. There's also some nice detail in the characters. For instance, when the player melee-killed one of those machete soldiers by snapping his neck, the attack actually knocked the guy's mask upwards, and we were able to see his fully modeled face behind it.

Dark Sector is looking like a solid first next-gen effort from Digital Extremes, from the little we got to see of it. We'll be interested to see if the game can deliver on all of its potential when it ships in late 2007. Stay tuned for more on the game before then.

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Discussion

166 comments
TheReproducer
TheReproducer

The original concept was very interesting, this new take looks like a snoozefest...

quietguy
quietguy

The change makes sense on a macro-level.

gravina
gravina

Looks cool. Personally I had hoped it would not be a copy of halo/ other lame futuristic combat games. Oh well but I like the misty feeling of this game. Fingers crossed it will be great!

lardmister
lardmister

really bored of all games having the same ideas. Bored of spacey shooter fps games. I think the game, if successful could work really well and have more of a compelling storyline rather than just a "shooting bad guys to save the day". Looks very interesting. Hope it works!!

Ian_Michael
Ian_Michael

for those that already don't like the game before it's even out...why don't you try it first before shooting this game down. So when it does come, take it for a spin an then tell me you don't like it.

cartman_eric666
cartman_eric666

the first version may look better but this version looks good but we wont know until it comes and i bet u guys will be writing good reviews about it

cartman_eric666
cartman_eric666

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ironcreed
ironcreed

I actually think the new concept is much more appealing. It has an edgy, dark look that looks extremely fresh when compared to the common theme of steroid freak space marines in oversized armor. And I find it quite hilarious that some of you are actually complaining that it does not follow that same generic trend. Yet if it did, then you would simply call it a Gears of War rip-off, lol. D3 tried to give it it's own dark (pun intended) style and look, yet you guys complain because it is not a Gears of War or Unreal Clone in design. I applaud them for scrapping the old look in favor of something more original looking myself, and I cannot wait to get my hands on this great looking game.

lion2447
lion2447

Looks like yet another game with unoriginal ideas. It seems to have depictions of WW2, which the game industry is saturated with. They should of stuck with the orginal idea as it was more appealing and looked more interesting. The original idea had a silent hill feel to it mixed with being in space instead of being in a town on the ground.

Renaissance247
Renaissance247

The new idea is stupid. The original idea was what most gamers like to get out of a game. This is like a cross between Prince of Persia and something else, and I don't like it. What attracted me to the game in the first place was all the cool powers you had. Now I think it's going to be a mediocre 7.0 game that's just like everything else on the market. Not innovative at all. I have more to say, but I think I have said enough for now.

JoseMIP
JoseMIP

Go To Hell B-itche-s The New Idea Is **** Great If You Don't Like It You Should Get Your Ass Checked.

neozeus
neozeus

I fully agree with Biggvis and komradandre! Nothing to add.

komradandre
komradandre

Yea, I agree biggvis. I was Far more intrigued when it was the original idea, after seeing the current gameplay footage i felt that it lost alot of it's mystery and originality.

danopix
danopix

It seems to me like they took something original and made it look like everything else. Design by commity probably. Never a good idea.

guile_charlie
guile_charlie

They waited because they are smart, think abou it........... They wanted to see what everyone else was squeezing out of the consoles first, then find a way to make something that is TRULY next-generation. They need to have games to compete against if they are going to top them!

biggvis
biggvis

I liked the original gameplay idea....scifi etc.....the new look is similiar to resistance

sangoanuta
sangoanuta

I hate Halo myself, cheap idea in my opinion. I didn't even know that this game was futuristic at the beginning, the first SS that i saw he already had the metal arm. And it was like early 2006. This game is gonna be nice, unfortunately this DX9 - DX10 transition is making game devs to forget the PC for a while, i hope win vista run 360 games.

NND1
NND1

I am glad to own a 360!!

alidanwer
alidanwer

Atleast the Name of the GAME Is Nice People who dont have reviews will buy it when they hear the title.

rmjones1
rmjones1

Personally I like that they changed the setting. Gives it more depth and not just another futuristic shooter that's been done too many times over. I'm glad they turned it away from being a Halo clone. I may be in a very small minority, but I never really got into the Halo setting much. It's nice to see something fresh rather than something everybody is already familiar with.

Freddyk14
Freddyk14

idk what u guys r talking about, this game looks absolutely amazing.

chubear700
chubear700

Man, I'm just soooo disappointed with the change of gameplay and game setting. This game looked like it was going to be one of those games people have longed for - somehting fresh and new but alas they go and play it safe and do the same ol gameplay thingy. I know it's their first game and may be afraid to venture out but damn, no guts no glory man. This game may very well do good but compared to the original idea this new turn for the game really sucks. There's only been one all canadian gaming company with balls to do great things. I just wish these canadians doing this one had some too. I will most likely be giving it a rental... probably

lawfrye
lawfrye

The first idea was awesome, what their doing with the game now is very boring...at least from what I've seen so far. The charater now has a glave as a weapon? Well that's really original, can you say Krull! I hope the game is good however I was really looking forward to a futuristic sci-fi shooter and what their doing now with the game seems like its been done before only with better graphics. I'm not in the least bit impressed, and who's the idiot who decided to completely re-think the entire game anyway? FIRE HIM!

hovan316
hovan316

I wonder if this game will look/run better on the 360 or PS3? Or will it be a dead even match?

L0n3W01F
L0n3W01F

Looks pretty good. Lets wait and see.

F4ll3n_1
F4ll3n_1

I think this game looks fantastic, its been a while since ive gotten really hyped for a game (i was for GEOW but ive been waiting a while now, hopefully for xmas). I agree with Full-Life about the apocalyptic settings, but I love those settings, epic.

xtremeg4m3r
xtremeg4m3r

This game looks awesome. But will the game be difficult?

XxFull-LifexX
XxFull-LifexX

I have to say I'm happy about the direction DE has decided to go with this game. At the last E3 I couldn't tell if the main character was a chick or what! It seems alot of games have been moving towards post-apocalyptic settings for their story/content.

termadoyle
termadoyle

looks good. can't really say how it'll be like right now though.

self-aware
self-aware

The camera seems to be Resident evil 4ish

DragonBlade035
DragonBlade035

Dark Sector will really put games around its release a run for there money for sure!!!

007saeid
007saeid

dark Sctor is Best Game .

silent-9
silent-9

Yeah this game does look good. It comes out this time next year so im guessing at that time both ps3 and 360 will be at its full potential as far as creating games...this game should be awesome.

playstation_boy
playstation_boy

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Tungsten88
Tungsten88

IMO, the newer look is so much better than the confined spaces. Now, it'll be like Prince of Persia or Gears of War. Saw the IGN trailer in HD too. Was this ever a 360 exclusive?

SkipyMcBoomboom
SkipyMcBoomboom

They shoulda stuck with their original idea and tuned up the graphics engine, in my opinion. But the game looks good either way.

GoDspLaNhOmiE
GoDspLaNhOmiE

I like the gritty feel...those futuristic games r dead already... the engine looks solid..needs more polish...BETTER story...it looks like a bite off of tomb raider..wit a lil bit of resident evil..splinter cell stealth...N last but not least devil may cry...i'm hopin dey don't fuk it up

GigaKaiser
GigaKaiser

"Devil May Cry 4 anyone ?" funny, i'm pretty sure Vampire Hunter D did that years before DMC...

PackersRock
PackersRock

Looks cool... I'll wait for the reviews before getting excited though.

sali5377
sali5377

This dude has a mutated arm ---------------->>>>> Devil May Cry 4 anyone ? His arm has a Demon though

wafuls05
wafuls05

looks a lot like resident evil 4 all next genified, which, hey, I have no problem with. I would gladly play another resident evil 4

Natdaddy
Natdaddy

Man, I remeber back in the day when this was one of the first next gen glimpses we had which was sorta impressive, but now it just looks like another average next gen game.

SilverGuy999999
SilverGuy999999

This game looked really interesting back when I first remember seeing the screens of it in EGM back in 2004, but the new approach to it looks really bad.

manolobrown2
manolobrown2

From what GameSpot says this game is going to be awesome!

Thanos_of_MW
Thanos_of_MW

I thought the original concept was good. Now we have this. I'll definitely wait for a review before even thinking of buying the game.

boozak
boozak

Personally i thought the game looked better roughly 2,3 years ago, i know the futuristic power suite has been done befor but so has mutation @ least you didnt play in the desert like dozens of other games that have, or are coming out. (GRAW & HALO3..) but regardless if the games engine is fun to play it will be good.

Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

Rubbish story but the game looks quite cool, its violent and dark so I will be watching this one !