The new owner of the Darksiders IP is keen to speak with the series' creators about making Darksiders 3.
Overnight publisher and distributor Nordic Games emerged as a surprise victor in the latest THQ asset sale, picking up Darksiders, Red Faction, the ill-fated uDraw, MX vs. ATV, Destroy All Humans, Summoner and many more for just $4.9 million.
Speaking exclusively with Eurogamer today in a phone interview, Nordic Games Group owner and CEO Lars Wingefors said the company had no intention of developing Darksiders 3 itself. Instead, it wants a studio with a proven track record to do it.
"We are not a developer," he said. "We should not create a sequel. We need to find the best creative team to look into a sequel. We will look into various options to make sequels.
"In the last 24 hours we have been approached by people who seem to know that product very well. However, if those discussions lead anywhere, I don't know."
Darksiders creator and developer Vigil Games went out of business when publisher and owner THQ went bankrupt.
However, just a few days later Crysis developer Crytek stepped in, forming Crytek USA in Austin, Texas, and picking up many former Vigil staff, including ex-CEO David Adams.
Adams had expressed his desire to pick up the Darksiders IP in a tweet, but as it turned out Nordic were the only ones to lodge a bid.
But there is still hope that the creators of the much-loved action series may get a stab at a third game.
"Without saying we have been in contact with Crytek USA, I'd love to do something with them if we can find the right set-up," Wingefors said. "If they can prove they can make a worthwhile sequel, why shouldn't we talk?
"I have a great respect for those guys. They made very good games. But I'm sure they have a full agenda. Making games takes time."
When asked whether Crytek USA was top of his list of potential Darksiders 3 developers, Wingefors replied: "They are the best-suited people in the world to make a sequel, that I'm aware of. But if someone else has a better set-up, they should step forward."
He continued: "We take one day at a time. I'm sure we'll get the chance to speak."
Without saying we have been in contact with Crytek USA, I'd love to do something with them if we can find the right set-up.Nordic Games boss Lars Wingefors
Darksiders 2 launched in August 2012 and failed to set tills alight. It later released on Wii U, but it didn't prove enough to save embattled publisher THQ from its inevitable downfall.
Nordic isn't known for funding high-budget games. Perhaps the Austrian-based company's most high-profile release was the PC version of Remedy's previously Xbox 360 exclusive Alan Wake.
Does Nordic have the cash to make Darksiders 3 compete with other triple-A game series?
"Even if I had my own cash to buy these assets and we're financially a very solid company, I do not have $100 million, or whatever THQ spent making Darksiders 2," Wingefors admitted.
"We have to find creative solutions to make a game of that size. I'm not worried. If you have a great product and an idea, I'm normally good at finding a solution to it."
"What's commercially reasonable?" Wingefors replied when asked how much money would be given to development of the next Darksiders. "We could make things more cost-effective just by the fact we are not THQ. But most important for me is that we find the right set-up and people. There is no market for a Metacritic 60 game. You need to be 80 plus or even better, 90, to make it commercially viable."
Most important for me is that we find the right set-up and people. There is no market for a Metacritic 60 game. You need to be 80 plus or even better, 90, to make it commercially viable.
Given the ink on the contract has yet to dry, Darksiders fans shouldn't hold their breath on a new game in the series arriving any time soon.
But it's a safe bet it'll launch on PC, given Wingefors' fondness for that platform and Steam. There, "It's so much easier to make a commercially viable product," he said.
But what about the next Xbox and PlayStation 4?
"Potentially yes," Wingefors said.
"If Sony and Microsoft stand up and say, hey, we love Darksiders and our platforms are suited to making this happen..."
Crytek USA chief David Adams issued Eurogamer the following statement: "Following their recent acquisition of the Darksiders IP at auction, I would like to wish Nordic Games all the best with their future plans for the series. Darksiders is a franchise I'm naturally very passionate about. Over a period of several years, I and my close friends and colleagues at the former Vigil Games invested a lot of energy into the series and we're glad to know Darksiders continues to excite and generate a high level of interest among players, publishers and developers.”
That's not much to go on, but Crytek USA staff who worked on the series have already spoken out about what they'd like to see from the sequel.
In a thread on the Nordic Games forum calling for feedback on Darksiders, Ryan Stefanelli, co-founder of Vigil and lead level designer/principal designer on both games wrote: "all I can say is... make it adventurous.
"And do what we would've done: let people know what happens when those other three comets land on Earth! Four player co-op or bust!
"Good luck to you guys. You've adopted our baby."
Ben Cureton, ex-Vigil Games lead combat designer and also now at Crytek, wrote: "If you actually ever go forward with the Darksiders franchise, be sure to focus on the things that made DS and DS2 cool. Things like... that feeling of adventure (that Ryan mentioned), the fast-paced combat, the sense of scale, quality voice acting, and don't forget that Strife and Fury need to be BADASS... whatever you do, don't forget to crank the BADASS meter up to 11. If you are ever in doubt of what to do... just add more skulls!
"Oh yeah... it has to be four-player. It's a must!
"That being said, if you decide you don't want to continue making games for the series, let me know. We'd be more than happy to take the IP off your hands. In fact, you can even have all of the money that DS1 and DS2 continue to generate! =)"
And do what we would've done: let people know what happens when those other three comets land on Earth! Four player co-op or bust!Ryan Stefanelli, co-founder of Vigil and lead level designer/principal designer on both games
As part of the deal for Darksiders, Nordic picked up the Red Faction IP. The first-person and third-person shooter series was created by Volition, now owned by Deep Silver and hard at work on Saints Row 4.
The last game in the series, 2011's Red Faction: Armageddon, was a commercial flop. But that hasn't put Wingefors off the idea of investing in another game.
"The last game, I wouldn't say it was a failure, but it was a set-back," he said. "It was a disappointment. We realise that. That is included in the price tag for it.
"However, there are millions of fans who really liked the first product. It's a good concept. You just need to make it good.
"We have been approached by some good people today on that as well. It's a top-notch independent European developer, which has the resources. I can't say any more than that."
It should be noted that Nordic picked up the rights to Supreme Commander as a licensed product, that is, distribution-only rights.