One of the joys of E3 is not just getting to play and see games that are coming out later this year, but seeing games coming out a year from now. Early builds being shown generally have some problems (I saw a few crashes and freezes during my three days on the show floor), but seeing a game early in its development cycle is exciting. Dark, developed by Realmforge Studios and published by Kalypso is one of the most promising surprises with and anticipated-2013 release.
A stealth game with no weapons, Dark has you playing a vampire protagonist who doesn’t want to be a vampire. In Dark, vampires aren’t like most vampires you are used to, though I was not given any details as “that is part of the story of Dark”. I was promised there are no “sparkles” though.
Speech wheels, a trend in gaming now, give you options to learn more about the world by asking various questions, though the choices you decide don’t reflect themselves in the game.
I was shown a few missions with the protagonist sneaking around, killing some guards and draining others. All of the moves were available in the demonstration I was shown, though I was specifically told “you have to play through more than once in order to get all of the abilities”.
The biggest eye-catcher of Dark is the graphics. It’s not often I see cell-shaded graphics, but when I do, oh boy do I get excited. This particular art style is not used enough, though I’m sure if it were used more it would start to lose its appeal. Each level progresses through two stages, each being drastically different in style. The first half of the stage I was shown started in a dark setting, while the latter half was a gorgeous in-doors forest.
Dark takes a different approach to the stealth genre. The combat looked fluid, the skill set was plentiful and the art style was stunning. Only a small handful of games surprised me this year that I didn’t know about going into E3, and Dark was one of them.