The Darkness 2 Panel
Excited to jump back into the world of The Darkness and take Jackie Estacado and his tentacles along for the ride? 2K Games presented their "Spreading The Darkness: From Comic Book to Video Games and Entertainment" at Comic-Con, with Top Cow president Matt Hawkins, creator Marc Silvestri, voice talent and musician extraordinaire Mike Patton, along with Sheldon Carter from Digital Extremes to talk about how the game journeyed from the comic book to the video game realm.
Silvestri explained that he came up with the idea for The Darkness back in 1993 as a concept while at San Diego Comic-Con, but it got backburned when Witchblade became so popular. So they used Witchblade as a launchpad for The Darkness later, using the popularity of that title to bring The Darkness to a wider audience. Matt Hawkins chimed in to say they decided to focus on more supernatural-based characters instead of all that "spandex shit" that DC, Marvel, and a million other companies have nailed down.
"Jackie, in my head, was the exact opposite of Superman. The guy bored the hell out of me. I found Clark Kent more interesting than Superman, and I wanted someone who didn't have the advantages of Superman. He comes to a planet, has amazing powers, and is adopted by these amazing foster parents. Jackie is the direct opposite of that. He's had nothing but ultimate betrayals in his life."
Silverstri explained that he grew up on sci-fi, horror, and fantasy, and not superhero comics, and he wanted to include those elements in the books and characters he created. Witchblade was a step in that direction, and they knew they were on to something good. The Darkness is a good deal, well … darker, and it reflects that credo of "No heroes with their underwear on the outside" that Top Cow and Silvestri were striving for. In Jackie's world, according to Silvestri, he's "His own worst enemy and his own greatest asset."
As the gatekeeper to this ultimate power, that represents the only thing he's afraid of. He has to keep that power bottled in and sacrifices his own humanity in the process in order to save mankind. That's exactly what they've tried to port to the video game adaptation, and that's exactly what Matt Hawkins thinks they did. "When I got that game for the first time I played all the way through it sitting in my office, playing it for about ten hours straight." He pointed out that there are comic-book movies and video game adaptations all the time, but that many of those tend to suck. So their main goal was "not sucking," and he feels like they nailed that.
"2K is not a company that puts out plug and play pieces of shit," said Hawkins, "We have a-list talent in digital extremes, a-list writing, and a-list voice acting with Mike Patton." Which prompted Silvestri to talk about hearing Mike Patton do the voice of The Darkness for the first time. Silvestri said "When we first heard that, we turned and looked at each other and thought 'Wow, there's real magic happening here.'" Patton said he originally viewed the property as a musical, and thought of The Darkness as a musical character that he had to inhabit. Hawkins loved the voice so much that he took a piece of recorded dialogue and made it the ringtone for when his ex-wife calls.
The Darkness II takes place two years after the events of the last game, and Jackie is now the don of the Estacado crime family. In creating the title, since this was their first experience with the title (the original game was developed by Starbreeze Studios), Carter explained that they decided to build the game from the ground up, and went to the source material: the comic books. "They're just so beautifully done and they have all of this amazing stuff in them. It was the perfect source material." They also turned to the forums on the internet, taking into account what the fans wanted, and often times making changes to the game directly based on fan feedback and what they liked in the first game.
Case in point is the quad-wielding that's now in the game. Players watched the end of the last game where Jackie goes crazy with the Darkness powers and guns and everything else. But, that part of the game wasn't under player control. So of course, players said "I want to play that!" So that's one of the reasons while you'll be quad-wielding in Darkness 2 - two guns and two tentacles. Jackie's definitely more amped this time around, and having four options to attack with at any time reflects that.
In a surprise announcement, Hawkins dropped the news that Mandeville Films (they produced the Academy Award-winning The Fighter), will be producing a live-action feature film of The Darkness, which is currently in development. They said they didn't want to do it if it sucks (Silvestri took a nasty swipe at Green Lantern saying "I don't want to see another Green Lantern film"), and it will be a full-blown, true Hollywood movie. "This will not be a watered down version of The Darkness" Silvestri said.
The Darkness 2 will be out 2/7/2012 for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, and in some form or format on the WIi U.
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