A fan­tas­tic com­pen­dium fea­tur­ing over 80 artists emerges from the ashes of the aban­doned Dark­siders fran­chise

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

Ed­i­tor Paul Richards

dPub­lisher Udon En­ter­tain­ment ark­siders, re­leased in 2010, and its 2012 se­quel neatly com­bined Zelda-es­que quest­ing, Devil May Crystyle hack-and-slash and a beau­ti­fully ex­trav­a­gant art style. It looked a world away from its con­tem­po­rary ac­tion-RPGs, with chunky character de­sign and gothic lev­els cast in pur­ple and green neon light.

Alas, the col­lapse of THQ last year led to Dark­siders de­vel­oper Vigil Games be­ing dragged un­der, too – and the pos­si­bil­ity of a third in­stal­ment to Dark­siders went with it. How­ever, Vigil Games’ con­cept artist Paul Richards in­vited artists to con­trib­ute to a what-if book of Dark­siders 3 art, ask­ing for ev­ery­thing a pre­tend AAA ti­tle could re­quire, in­clud­ing char­ac­ters, en­vi­ron­ments and even lo­gos.

Many artists re­sponded to the call, and Paul whit­tled them down to the 80

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Avail­able Now stage and a fun­gal zom­bie back­ing it up. His work starts out with grace and seren­ity, but be­comes more night­mar­ish as the chap­ter goes on – which is ex­actly what we want from a book on Dark­siders.

It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing tome, and one which can be wildly in­co­her­ent and in­con­sis­tent, but this is part of the an­ar­chic charm: it’s a glimpse into what AAA games would be if they weren’t con­trolled by men in suits more in­ter­ested in pro­tect­ing their bot­tom line than hav­ing fun. We hope that it rekin­dles in­ter­est in the po­ten­tial of Dark­siders 3. After all, most of the hard work has al­ready been done.

Miroslav Petrov’s lush fan­tasy land­scapes earned him a place in the book.

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