DeathSpank strikes back next month

Thongs of Virtue arrives for PlayStation Network, Xbox Live on September 21 and 22, respectively; sequel adds new settings and co-op character.

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DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue
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Ron Gilbert's DeathSpank was originally announced as an episodic series but was released last month as a stand-alone downloadable title for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The episodic tag may as well have been left on the project, as Hothead today announced a second game in the series, DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue, set to debut next month.

While Gilbert left Hothead Games in April, Thongs of Virtue producer Hamish Millar told GameSpot the Secret of Monkey Island creator had just as much influence on this game as he had on the first game. In fact, development on Thongs of Virtue was finished before the first DeathSpank game launched, which works well for those anticipating a sequel, but came with its own drawbacks.

"By doing two games back to back, we didn't get the opportunity to listen to everybody's feedback and try and incorporate that," Millar said. "But what we did do is take a bit of a guess at what we thought was going to come out of the releases."

As a result, Thongs of Virtue will sport more variety in the types of quests given to players, more bosses, a new cooperative play character in addition to Sparkles the Wizard, and a wealth of new environments.

"DeathSpank 1 was an introduction to the universe for people and it was very much a fantasy action role-playing game," Millar said. "For the second game--and this is a reason it was a separate product, too--we just wanted to redefine what that could be. We just wanted to blow people's expectations out of the water as far as what kind of weapons DeathSpank can have, what worlds he can travel to, and what sort of creatures and characters and enemies he can face."

Screens and art for the game show more modern and sci-fi trappings, with DeathSpank wielding a bazooka, machine guns, and rifles to fend off enemies from giant ants to ray-gun-wielding aliens.

As for whether Gilbert's departure meant Thongs of Virtue would be the character's last hurrah, that shouldn't be assumed. "DeathSpank is a creation not just of Ron but a collection of people, and Hothead is a huge part of that," Millar said.

Thongs of Virtue will launch on the PlayStation Network September 21 and arrive on Xbox Live Arcade the next day. Like the first entry in the series, the game will sell for $14.99 (1,200 Microsoft points).

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