The Darkness II will be a sequel to the comic-book-inspired action adventure game that put you in the shoes of hit man Jackie Estacado. This time around, Jackie has moved up in the world, and his ability to control the mysterious power known as The Darkness has also improved. In addition to being able to use The Darkness to sprout two new limbs (so that he can wield guns in both of his hands and in his Darkness-powered limbs quad-wield guns), he'll have new powers to subdue his foes and even abilities that make him a deadlier shot. We sat down with producer Seth Olshfski to get the details.
GameSpot: We understand that in The Darkness II, Jackie will gain plenty of new powers and abilities. Tell us about the upgrade process. How does he unlock upgrades for his various powers?
Seth Olshfski: To understand how Jackie gets more powerful through The Darkness II, we should start with the idea of dark essence. Jackie discovered somewhere between the first game and the second that all dark, chaotic acts create some amount of the stuff. Dark essence is a kind of psychic splatter that can be harnessed for different effects. Sometimes it gets absorbed into objects (such as the knife of the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper), and other times, if you know enough about how it works, you can absorb that energy yourself. That's what Jackie's learned to do: He absorbs the dark essence generated when he kills enemies and turns that into extra awesome Darkness powers and talents.
In the game, this means that there are certain places in the world--we call them talent shrines--where Jackie can spend his dark essence. Just click on the talent shrine and you'll see all the powers available to Jackie in the talent tree.
GS: Tell us about some of Jackie's new and improved powers, such as swarm and black hole. What are some of the new ways he can use to dispatch his enemies?
SO: Swarm is a pretty awesome power that we haven't talked about yet. It's an active power, so functionally, the player presses a button in combat to summon the power and then the demon arms vomit out a green fire infused with dark essence. That fire clings to and burns a couple of enemies and fully immobilizes them for a few seconds. On top of that, you can upgrade swarm so that it lasts longer, hits more enemies, or does damage to them. Swarm can turn a tough five-on-one fight into a cakewalk while Jackie shotguns down his helpless enemies.
GS: We also understand that in addition to his offensive powers, Jackie will have some tactical abilities, such as stun and distraction powers, that he can use to temporarily neutralize his foes. How do these powers work?
SO: In addition to swarm, another good example of a tactical power would be demonic lift. This power is part of the demon arm tree and lets you immobilize airborne enemies. So, before you upgrade to demonic lift, you can slash enemies vertically and send them flying into the air and crashing into the ground. After you upgrade to demonic lift, you can vertically slash enemies up into the air, and they'll be suspended at about gun level, completely helpless for a second or two. This lets you do pretty much whatever you want to your enemies--grab them to do an execution, slash an arm or leg off, or just fire off a shotgun blast to the face. You can also combine this with other unlockable talents like ground pound, which creates a gib-infused explosion if you slash an airborne enemy into the ground.
GS: We also understand that Jackie, being a hit man by trade, can do some neat tricks with his firearms in the form of gun channeling. How does this system work?
SO: Gun channeling is an active power that replaces Jackie's bullets with the power of The Darkness. So when you activate the power, you are suddenly doing way more damage and no longer need to worry about ammo or reloading. I personally like gun channeling when I'm dual-wielding UMPs; the carnage potential is huge when you can fire off a couple hundred bullets without letting your finger off the trigger.
Gun channeling can also be upgraded to last longer and recharge quicker. You can also buy the heart of darkness talent, which lets you see through walls--and even shoot through them--when gun channeling is active. And if you upgrade this ability even further, you can purchase gun kata, which turns ammo into heart-seeking bullets that home in on heat targets.
GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about the game?
SO: Jackie's quad-wielding abilities afford the player so many options to upgrade not just his abilities to fire guns and wield the demon arms, but also darkness powers and the simultaneous use of these powers while in combat. The deeper, more complex upgrade system really adds another dimension to the combat system in The Darkness II, and we're really excited for people to try it out.
GS: Thank you.