How the Darksiders 2 delay benefits you
Snow. Item balancing.
Last month THQ delayed promising action game Darksiders 2 to August 2012 - a decision that disappointed some eager fans.
Developer Vigil insisted the extra time would make for a much better game. Now, it's explained how exactly.
"To be honest, it's a lot of things that aren't totally apparent," associate producer Jay Fitzloff told Eurogamer. "It's final detail."
One visual improvement Vigil has been able to make to the game as a result of the delay is the addition of snow to the CrowFather level (the game's first), which was demoed to press at a London pre-E3 event last week.
"Even two weeks ago there was no snow blowing across the level," Fitzloff revealed. "You think it's obvious. But I played this game constantly and I was like, ah, it looks great, and then all of a sudden that blowing snow gets in and I'm just like, wow.
"It's all these tiny little details that if they weren't there none would be the wiser, but they do add a solid atmosphere element. It's just polish. You don't notice the little details but when they all come together it does make a big difference and gets you into the game more."
One of Darksiders 2's more interesting mechanics is its randomly generated loot system. It's designed to present that player with thousands of items as they play the game - something that poses a balancing problem. The delay to the game affords Vigil more time to refine its solution.
"Say for example the fire ability is obviously better than everything else so everybody ends up taking those weapons," Fitzloff explained. "We want all the abilities to have a valid reason you'd keep them. It's hard. That's probably the hardest thing gameplay wise to work out, to make sure all those abilities are balanced within the random loot."
Fitzloff said Vigil will step in post-launch with an update if players discover balance breaking builds and set-ups.
"Obviously that's when you get your biggest play test. There will absolutely be the arguments, I've made this build and I think this is superior, or I did this. But if somebody does invent that game breaker that just becomes obvious, we'll have to consider it.
"If it's like, yeah, this weapon is the only one worth keeping, you don't want to create a hundred thousand items and have one be the only one anyone uses."