The Darkness Q&A

We talk to Denby Grace, producer for 2K Games, to see how The Darkness is shaping up for its second-quarter release.

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Swedish developer Starbreeze is currently hard at work on The Darkness. The follow-up to its well-received debut The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, The Darkness is based on a comic series from Top Cow and mixes first-person shooting with supernatural powers. The game is set for release late in the second quarter of 2007, and most of the major features are now falling into place. It was recently announced that some of the game will take place in a World War One setting, as well as in contemporary New York. The multiplayer mode will also offer the usual mix of deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture-the-flag modes. We paid a visit to Take-Two's European office to take a look at how it's all shaping up and to talk to producer Denby Grace about what Take-Two is trying to achieve in the game.

GameSpot UK: Run us through the background of The Darkness.

Denby Grace: So the game is based on a comic by Top Cow, and it's being made by Starbreeze Studios--the guys that did The Chronicles of Riddick. It's a first-person shooter primarily but with a lot of superhero stuff thrown in. What we did is we took Paul Jenkins, one of the writers for Top Cow, and he wrote a totally new story loosely based around one of the comics called Resurrection. In the game, you play Jackie Estacado, who is a mafia hit man. But on the day of his 21st birthday, the Darkness manifests inside of him and things go downhill from there really! [laughs]

Denby Grace
Denby Grace

GSUK: It looks like the game has improved significantly over the past few months. What have you been focusing on?

DG: The last few months have been about getting our last bulk of features in as we move into alpha, and then it's all spit and polish really. It's something that we came across in Riddick, and it's something we want to achieve with The Darkness--that final level of polish. Visually, we've put in a few new effects to raise the whole cinematic feel of the game, such as motion-blur and bullet trails. We've got a new, final model of Jackie, and he's looking a hell of a lot better than before.

GSUK: It's been revealed that about a third of the game takes place in a World War One setting. How does this relate to the contemporary New York environment?

DG: Yeah, you travel to this other world for something that we can't really go into because we'd ruin the story. You get transported to this parallel world, and it's effectively a place worse than hell where Jackie gets to battle with his own personal demons. He learns more about the Darkness, he battles for control of his body with it, and it fills in a lot of gaps in the story. It's a good place for us to tell that. Like you say, it's kind of a WWI trench setting, and you have allies that fight on your side. It's very twisted, though, and very dark.

GSUK: You've talked about using the increased capacity of Blu-ray for movies and TV shows that will play within the game. How will this add to the experience?

DG: Yeah, well Blu-ray offers us around 25GB to play with, so we're looking to license old TV shows, adverts, and cartoons to build entire TV channels in the game. You can actually turn on the TVs in the game and watch a film, watch a TV series, anything you want really. It's a little bit gimmicky, but at the same time, it's a really cool feature. Also, we tell mission-specific information through the TVs where it's needed.

GSUK: What were your objectives for the multiplayer aspect of The Darkness?

DG: We want something that's intense and a lot of fun, not something that's going to be picked up by hardcore people in clan matches. We do think that people are going to pick it up and have a lot of fun with it--it's an intense battle. When you're playing as the Darkness, it has a real Aliens Versus Predator feel [as the Darkness can climb walls and attack with their claws]. We didn't set out with a real objective to have a multiplayer that did this, this, and this; it was more that we wanted to transfer the gunplay of the single-player game, as it would be a shame not to use that in a multiplayer arena.

GSUK: Explain the difference between the humans and the Darkness in this mode.

DG: The human mafioso are pretty standard--they can pick up guns and armour. But then, we have a mode of game called shapeshifter too. By pressing a button, you can convert into a darkling. Like I said before, it's kind of like being an alien in Aliens Versus Predator; you can see in the dark, you can climb up walls, you move faster than humans, and you can leap great distances and attack with your claws.

GSUK: Denby, thanks for your time.

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