No Multiplayer in Darksiders II
Disappointing as it may be that Darksiders II will, like its predecessor, have you playing solo, it wasnt because of a lack of interest in multiplayer. On the contrary, developer Vigil Games has been interested in multiplayer since it began development on the first game, but the challenge of implementing it has proven to be too much thus far.
"When we put together the pitch for Darksiders 1, we wanted it to be multiplayer then," Director Marvin Donald told IGN. "Its just too much work when youre starting a brand new studio with a new [intellectual property] and youre building your own technology. Were also evolving the series into more of [a role-playing game], which was something else we wanted to do from the beginning, but we just didnt have the resources or time or money to do it the first time around and do it justice."
Donald explained that each character -- War in the first game, and Death in the sequel -- has its own animation set consisting of 800 to 1,000 animations. That might not be an issue if animations could be shared between characters, but thats not possible because each has different proportions.
"Of course theres balancing with the different abilities," Donald said. "Were going to want them to play differently, so we wanted to spend some time developing each of the characters individually."
He clarified that this doesnt mean there will be four different single-player Darksiders games before co-op or some kind of multiplayer is implemented. "I hope the next ones co-op, but it just depends on the resources that are available, the size of the budget and whether or not Darksiders II does well," he explained. "There are a lot of factors that are going to drive that. Its too soon to say."
Adding multiplayer to previously single-player franchises has been a controversial subject as of late; many were unhappy to hear that Dead Space 2 and then Mass Effect 3 would be implementing multiplayer. Gearbox Softwares Randy Pitchford has spoken out against the practice of shoehorning multiplayer into games that dont demand it -- in his mind, just because the blockbuster games include multiplayer doesnt mean your game has to have it too. He believes "the concept has to speak to that automatically; it cant be forced. Thats the problem."
Thats not to say Darksiders multiplayer doesnt make sense. It is admirable, however, that it isnt being tacked on in Darksiders II for no reason other than being able to list it on the back of the box. While it might initially sell more copies of the game, it ultimately would be a disservice to everyone involved.