Coming to PSN this Week: Darksiders Demo

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It’s been over a month since Darksiders released with near-universal critical praise, and the team at Vigil Studios is still hard at work. On Thursday, Vigil releases a demo for Darksiders. This isn’t your typical demo, however. It packs an unprecedented 90 minutes of gameplay, encompassing the entire first dungeon of the game: the Twilight Cathedral. I had a chance to talk to Vigil’s Creative Director and comic book legend, Joe Madureira (Joe Mad) — along with composers Mike Reagan and Cris Valesco — to get some more info on the demo:

Now that Darksiders has been out for a few weeks, what do you think about the fans’ reactions to the game?

Joe: We are incredibly excited to finally get Darksiders into people’s hands! The response has been fantastic. We already have armies of ravenous fans clamoring for a sequel, and that’s a dream come true for us. For Vigil, the development of Darksiders was almost as epic a journey as War’s is in the game—so of course, we’re excited to finally see it through to its end. We look forward to hearing from even more gamers over the next few months as they check out the demo, and news of the game spreads.

Let’s talk about the demo. What can fans expect from the demo, and where does this take place within the main story?

Joe: In this demo, War has been tasked with retrieving the heart of one of the Destroyer’s chosen. Tiamat, a massive demon queen is not about to give it up without a fight, so you’ll have to pry it from her cold, dead body. Luckily, this is just the sort of thing that the Horsemen of the Apocalypse are good at—and War is probably the toughest of the bunch. Of course at this point, War’s powers have been stripped from him, so he’ll have to use every weapon at his disposal, and locate the ancient artifact called the Cross Blade. Its mastery is vital to navigating the Cathedral, and ultimately bringing down Tiamat. The Cathedral itself is chock full of puzzles and other hazards, and of course, it is home to a host of the Destroyers minions. Be especially wary as you approach the walking pile of cadaverous flesh that is—the Jailer! When you meet him, you’ll see why…

Darksiders is obviously a game with an epic scope. Why choose to focus the demo on the Twilight Cathedral?

Joe: It’s true, there is so much to do, and so much to see in Darksiders, that it was difficult to pick one area to feature. We liked the Cathedral because it’s a self contained chunk of the game that’s fairly early on, so it’s easier to pick up and play. It’s also the first ‘dungeon’ experience in the game, so it’s a good one for players to learn the game’s structure. The dungeon exploration, using keys, solving puzzles, mastering the dungeon’s gear item ( Crossblade ) and of course, introducing tougher enemies and boss battles. It really gives you a taste of the adventure aspect of Darksiders, and hopefully will show gamers just how far from being a typical hack-n-slash Darksiders actually is.

After playing the demo, what do you want fans to know about the rest of the game?

Joe: By the time you beat the demo, you’re going to realize one thing—this is an adventure game! That’s right, you can go back to any area even after you beat it. You’ll want to do this because War is not equipped to find everything his first time through most areas. As War gains new abilities and items, he will be able to unlock areas of the levels previously unattainable. This creates an interesting pace, where combat is carefully balanced with exploration and puzzle solving. It’s not just a button mashing combat drill! That said, I do think it’s important to note that we at Vigil just LOVE to create kick ass enemies. There are some truly cool looking creatures in this game that make for fun and memorable battles! The bosses in particular are a lot of fun and end in a rewarding mess of gore! So what are you waiting for? Check out the demo, and pick up a copy today. YOU MUST OWN THIS GAME PEOPLE!!!!

If you’ve been on Home lately, you may have seen the occasional Angel, Demon, Horseman, or Man-Horse walking around. We wanted to give the denizens of Home a chance show their allegiance to Heaven, Hell, or the Horsemen. We tried to pick some of the more iconic images from the game – including angel wings and demon horns. It’s a real credit to Joe and the rest of the team at Vigil that the characters and costumes look just as cool in the “real-world” Home environment as in the “comic-inspired” game environment. What’s most impressive is that we were able to take some of the in-game models and port them directly into the Home environment.

We recently released War’s armor with the Mask of Shadows. My favorite item, however, is the Ruin horse head mask. It’s at the same time awesome and disturbing. I can’t deny the fact that I was partially inspired by a certain burlap-skinned character from one of my favorite side-scrolling platformers. If you’re a Darksiders fan, or just want to show your good, evil, or creepy side – go check out the Darksiders virtual items!

Lastly, I spoke with composers Mike Reagan and Cris Valesco about the incredible music in Darksiders. You may not know their names, but you definitely know their work – God of War and God of War II being two of their most well-known titles.

What other games have you worked together on?

Mike: This was really the first project that Cris and I truly collaborated and wrote a theme together. Previously, we had both been hired individually to work on the God of War series.

Cris: Mike and I have previously worked on the God of War series together as well as Van Helsing. However, this was the first time that we were actually able to collaborate on actual music. In the past we’ve always just worked on our own music independently. This time we were really able to brainstorm on the Darksiders Main Theme and I think it really shows.

What was your inspiration for the “sound” of Darksiders?

Mike: Spiritual warfare was a key motivator, and we wanted to create a sound that could be heard in complete darkness and convey a haunting experience. The Choir as well as the solo boy soprano sung by Zack Weisberg really added something special to the sound.

Cris: Darksiders clearly has some religious connotations attached to it and we wanted to take advantage of that with the choir. They’re singing in Sanskrit throughout. This language dates back as far as 1500 BC so we thought this would help give the music a sense of weight and age.

What is your favorite track?

Mike: I’m really proud of the Main Theme that Cris and I did together, and the pieces with longer melodies that work really well over the Boss themes as well.

Cris: The Main Theme that Mike and I wrote is probably the stand-out track in the game. It’s definitely my favorite piece. I also really liked the boss music that Mike wrote for the Greaver. Of my own music in the game, I am partial to the final boss music. This track and the Main Theme were actually performed live at the Night In Fantasia ’09 concert in Sydney this last summer too!

Thanks for reading. I hope everyone enjoys the demo!

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