Interviews

The Darkness

Starbreeze on its destined-to-be-stellar comic book-based shooter

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MS: Maybe it's all to do with the moment that you pick up the game box and look at the picture on the cover, then subconsciously decide if you really want to play the game or not. With Outcast, the main character looks like a wuss. I still don't want to be him. Maybe you make the decision based on that.

JM: It's not really about the look - but the major difference is that this is a first-person game and you are that person. When you're playing Riddick you are Riddick, and when you're playing The Darkness you are Jackie.

TT: Even though The Darkness is quite a dark character - a hitman. Although he suffers from the normal trials and issues that we all do.

MS: Yes, like 'Who do I want kill?'

TT: On the base level there are always issues.

MS: The feelings are always primal, that everyone can relate to. If Jackie loses something precious to him he gets angry. We all do, I think.

JM: What's my direction? 'You're angry!'

What do you think the Xbox 360 could add to the gaming experience this time round?

MS: You mean technically? There's a huge amount of things that we can now do - one of the obvious things is the stencil-shadow technique (the use of sharp edges). Since Riddick was a lot about moving in the shadows, this technique created really sharp shadows, allowing you to move around light sources. But it's hard to make it look natural because of all the hard edges. In The Darkness we've added light mapping, a traditional technique that allows dynamic use of lighting.

JG: It allows us to build larger-scale worlds, larger-scale environments.

MS: There's also the motion-captured dialogue, where we capture all the facial movements of the actors.

JM: The most important thing I think we did was taking the next-gen leap from Riddick, from the production side of things. We've done a lot of things, but the core is the same, allowing us to do much more and get more detail and extra information in the game. For me, this opportunity wasn't about creating a game that's better in the technological sense, but in terms of gameplay and storytelling. We're at a point now where a lot of companies can make really pretty-looking games, so it's not really about just the looks anymore.

With developing a mature horror title, do you look at other videogame series like Silent Hill or Resident Evil to research how to conceive it?

JM: We didn't have to try very hard!

MS: There aren't many horror elements in the game and those there are aren't particularly strong. We're all movie and gameplay buffs, so it's easy to go into game sections and say this part should be like Silent Hill!

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