Overlord trifecta rises in 2009

Codemasters prepping 360, PS3, PC sequel, Wii prequel, and DS spin-off that continue last year's minion-mastering action adventure.

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Last year, Codemasters posted its best annual results since the publisher opened its doors in 1985. With revenues spiking 38 percent year-over-year, Codemasters attributed its unequivocal success in part to the darkly humorous action adventure Overlord. It comes as little surprise, then, that the Prince of Darkness and his maniacal little ones will return for a new round of conquests.

Wolves will put up with anything these days.
Wolves will put up with anything these days.

Today, Codemasters said that it was prepping three all-new installments in its Pikmin-esque series: Overlord II for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC; Overlord Dark Legend for the Wii; and Overlord Minions for the Nintendo DS. All three games will ship in 2009.

As it did with the first game, Holland-based Triumph Studios will handle development on Overlord II. In the game, a new sinister Overlord and his merry band of minions have risen up to thwart a Roman-esque civilization known as the Glorious Empire, which has sounded the trumpets of war in an effort to root out and destroy all forms of magic. Additional gameplay details were sparse, but Codemasters did note that minions will be able to mount wolves and other beasts to aid in their wantonly destructive arts.

Climax Studios will handle both Overlord Dark Legend for the Wii and Overlord Minions for the DS. With Overlord II satisfying the sequel slot, the Wii game will be a prequel of sorts, dropping players into the role of an adolescent Overlord coming to terms with his powers. With a story penned by Rhianna Pratchett, Dark Legend will aim to put a nefarious twist on traditional fairy tales, and will introduce new characters such as wicked witches, gingerbread men, and Lil' Red Riding Hood.

Wii Remote controls will be implemented to comedic effect in Dark Legend. As one example, Codemasters said that players will be able to pick up underlings, shake them with the Wii Remote to imbue them with special "Overlordy" powers, and then fire the now-explosive minions at unsuspecting enemies.

In a slight divergence from the action adventure genre, Overlord Minions on the DS will be an action puzzler. The masked ruler will remotely command an army of four--Giblet, Blaze, Stench, and Zap--by solving puzzles and precisely performing touch-screen commands. The series' signature brand of physical humor will again play front and center in Minions as the "Special Farces" squad attempts to thwart the efforts of the Dragon Kin clan, which seeks to oust the Overlord from his supreme position and replace it with their own tyrannical junta.

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