Well hats off to THQ Nordic for the surprise announcement! I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was more than a little excited to see the reveal of a third Darksiders game. With that being said, however, what happened to Darksiders!? It had been around five years (not counting the remasters) since the last entry was released with absolutely no news after that. Sure, there was speculation here and there, but nothing really concrete to go on. This left many fans scratching their heads wondering if THQ was ever going to bring another game to light, which they eventually did. However, this leaves a certain question unanswered; what happened between the timeframe of Darksiders II and III? Well before we get into that, let’s do a quick catch up on the Darksiders series as a whole.
Starting off, we have the first entry into the franchise, Darksiders, which was released in 2010 (Riveting stuff, I know.) In regards to actual gameplay and story, Darksiders filled in a nice gap between both but was quickly deemed the classic ‘God of War clone’, such as Dante’s Inferno and the like. Move away from the similar gameplay, though, and one would be able to find an interesting story following one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. Specifically War. (huh… what is it good for? Okay, I’ll stop.) The plot goes as such; during a battle on Earth, War mistakenly answers the ‘Call of the Apocalypse’ before his time. Being seen as the cause for the fake Apocalypse, he is thus removed from the battle between Heaven and Hell and is set to be punished by the sacred Charred Council for his error. War is taken aback by this and vows to hunt down the individual who actually started the conflict in hopes of not being damned for all eternity. So although the gameplay was a bit ‘God of War - esque’, the plot itself worked well enough with it anyway, so it hardly mattered. All in all, the original Darksiders was a decent first entry into the series and was well-received by fans and critics alike, with the only one big complaint being the numerous amount of fetch quests that were littered throughout.
Darksiders II did not fix the above errors either. Still an enjoyable game, for the most part, Darksiders II felt like it was designed with the thought that ‘people were big fans of the fetch quests from the first one’. A thought that didn’t sit too well with players. What was fixed, however, was the gameplay itself. Being a significant upgrade from the first, it added more free-flowing and dynamic elements to it. Elements such as having Death, the main character, be faster and more maneuver based with the inclusion of teleporting and quicker dodges. As far as the plot for the second game goes, Death, another of the Four Horseman, attempts to prove to the Charred Council that his brother, War, is innocent. How he goes about this is in a violent, murdery sort of way. Again, as mentioned before, the game itself is quite solid just like the original, but the issues that plagued the first still resided in the second. Which, unfortunately, hinders what could have been a great experience overall. With all that being said, Darksiders II was a hit reception wise, being praised for its style and fun gameplay. It was, however, not a commercial success.
After Darksiders II released in August of 2012, it would end up turning a profit by being the best-selling title for that month. Moving past August though, according to THQ it, ‘didn’t perform as well as they hoped’. This would be another in a long line of financial troubles for the company as they struggled to maintain a presence in the games industry. Having called for bankruptcy in late 2012, THQ would eventually leave the scene after re-acquiring some of their licenses. It wouldn’t be until 2016 where another big move would take place.
After a four-year hiatus, Nordic Games would pick up the THQ trademark and merge with the former studio, the end result being the newly named THQ Nordic. Some of the products that would find their way to the newly developed studio would include that of the Darksiders series, The MX vs. ATV series, and the Spellforce series to name a few. The interesting thing was, back in 2013, Nordic had acquired the Darksiders franchise during THQ’s liquidation period. After which, when discussing their new product with website Joystiq, they mentioned that fans shouldn’t expect anything new from the series in the near future, which was true considering that was four years ago. Jump to 2017 and here we are now. Looking at the upcoming Darksiders III for a 2018 slated release
So, to change up what is usually done on ‘Whatever Happened To…?’. Instead of asking the question “whatever happened to Darksiders?”, I’ll be asking, “Why was the wait so long?”. To be as clear as possible, the financial issues that were coupled with poor sales figures from Darksiders II would find THQ in a difficult position with regards to the future of their studio. After a liquidation period and THQ selling off the licenses to their products, Nordic Games would pick up the pieces and merge with the former studio when they acquired the THQ trademark. With a fresh start to go off, it would only be a year before an official announcement was made for Darksiders III. Until next time!