Comic-Con  2011 – The Darkness 2 Panel

A while back the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 were blessed with a very different First Person Shooter based on a Top Cow Comic called “The Darkness”. Following Jackie Estacado, who worked for the Franchetti Family as a Hitman, he fought against them when his Uncle Polly turned on him. The Darkness turned against him as Polly shot Jennie, a life-long friend of Jackie's, as it held him down to break him. This game takes place two years after the events of the first game. Jackie is now the Don of his Family. The story picks up there …

The panel itself contained a lot of useful information about not only the game but the comic itself. Present were Mike Datton, Marc Silverstri, Malt Hawkins and Sheldon Carter. Mike and Marc came from Top Cow while Malt and Sheldon came from Dynamic Games to show off the Darkness 2.

Marc opened up talking a bit about Jackie's history. His life has been full of betrayals, ultimate betrayals. The Darkness is something that Jackie never dreamed of. Then he talked about the relationship between Jackie and the Darkness. He likened it to the classic movie, “The Forbidden Planet” where parts of one's consciousness could emerge. Marc talked about how Jackie is not Superman, as Superman is not crazy. That everyone has issues, an id, the thing about Jackie is his is manifest. This puts him in the unique position where he is his own best ally and worst enemy.

Matt took the floor next talking about the Darkness itself and what it affords Jackie. He remarked that the Darkness is a very powerful force, that it allows him to even create something. Beyond that he talked about the concept that Jackie embodies. That they were only willing to do something that is cool. They wanted everything to be a good fit to create both the Darkness and its games. People need to want to be him. He talked about how he was afraid at the start of the video game project that it would suck, as many comic to games have. First he talked about how Starbeeze took the reigns and made what was to become a classic game. Digital Extreme got it next and they have so far shown a lot of promise. It also helped that Sheldon and Malt are also comic book fans of “The Darkness”. They wanted to be sure to keep the narrative that they came to love from the first game for the emotional payout that it offered.

Sheldon finally took the floor and talked a bit. He wanted people to feel a connection. While the game was slowing down it offered the player a chance to catch their breath before there would be something intense. He wanted to continue the story that the first game had offered up with all the hooks it had contained. He wanted to make good use of the many features that had shown up in the first game. He wanted to make better use of the Demon Heads that the Darkness gives you. With this, they came up with Quad Demon Heads: Grabby, Slashy, Bitey and Shooty. Many people remember how toward the end of the first Darkness game they saw Jackie loose control of the Darkness and witnessed it run rampant. They wanted to control this opposed to just seeing it. Dynamic Games wanted to create something dynamic themselves. He talked about how they wanted to create a game where there was a lot you could do, sometimes forgetting that you had to stay alive. He also talked about how they wanted to change the art style, going for something they called Graphic Noir. Everyone looked over their collections of “The Darkness” Comics and started to incorporate the palette from those into the game itself. He also talked about how they had a team of artists create all the textures of the game.

The next questions were directed toward Mike, the voice actor for the Darkness itself. He told us that he had not done too many voice acting gigs but it did offer something of an experience itself. He likened it to doing a song. He thought about it as channeling Teenage Death Metal. Marc was surprised that he was able to channel something so complex as the Darkness as easily as he did. Mike also told us a bit about the new lines that he was recruited to do for the new game. He liked to get a visual on it first but only had a few stills to work with. It was enough though. He was able to bring back the voice to the same ballpark. He talked about how he could do marathon sessions since he “trained his whole life” for the Darkness since he loved to simply scream.

Next Sheldon talked about how they were lucky to get Paul Jenkins to write for the second game as well. Matt commented on how Paul had done 25 to 30 issue of the Darkness. He had also done some games prior to the Darkness. He had proven his worth doing this prior to being asked to do this for Starbreeze and Dynamic Games. Marc told us that that was exactly why they approved of him doing the script of the game. He commented on how it was an advantage to being a smaller company where they could be more hands-on.

Next Marc talked about the fit with the Darkness between the Comic and the Game. He was ecstatic to hear at one point The Darkness was banned in Singapore and appeared for it in over one hundred newspapers. He felt that it was appropriate, as everyone who played it had a demented smile. This made him more than pleased with the game.

Malt did make one more very interesting announcement. He announced that Mandeville films has been approved to do a live action motion picture of “The Darkness”. They all agreed that they must approach the movie as to make something awesome. They told us they were aiming to make an origin story of it.

That brought the Darkness Panel to a close. Still, for a small comic company Top Cow had a lot to say over one very amazing game. They will be offering pre-order bonuses for those who reserve the game as well. This puts it as one of the many games that have been announced that are worth investigating.