by Joseph Leray
Crytek USA, the new Austin-based studio built from the remnants of Vigil Games, plans to bid on the “Darksiders” license when it goes up for auction as part of THQ’s bankruptcy proceedings. Late last week David Adams, former Vigil general manager and current Crytek USA CEO, tweeted that he was “going to bid on ’Darksiders’ IP. Put 7 years of heart and soul into that franchise, and I think it belongs at home with its creators.”
Ryan Stefanelli, who co-founded Vigil Games and now works as a lead designer at Crytek USA, later followed up with Destructoid confirming his new company’s plans. “”When the ’Darksiders’ IP goes up for auction, Crytek will be bidding for it,” he explained. “Not much more to say since the rest is left up to courts and legal shenanigans, but we’re all excited at the prospect.”
’Darksiders,’ originally developed by Vigil, was one of the few high-profile series not bought in the first wave of auctions following THQ’s bankruptcy. It is still technically part of THQ’s portfolio, but the company is in the process of a second round of auctions — initial bids were due yesterday.
Crytek’s interest in ’Darksiders’ is out of line with the company’s previously-stated denouncement any plans for future games in the series. In January Crytk’s Jens Shafer said that “Crytek USA won’t work on a new ‘Darksiders’ game,” adding that “at this point in time, it is too early to share any future plans.” In early February, Crytek CEO Cervat Yerli told GamesBeat that his company “didn’t want to continue with Darksiders 3, since that doesn’t fit with our strategy.”
Crytek could simply be indulging its new studio’s sentimentality, but goodwill and nostalgia aren’t exactly the prime directive for a multi-national corporation with nine studios underfoot. Plans change, of course, and Crytek could be considering the possibility of extending the life of the “Darksiders” franchise. They’ve got a game engine that produces, if nothing else, visually beautiful games, and I’m sure fans of the series would love to see the CryEngine put to “Darksiders”’ apocalyptic goth vibe.
Here’s the second wrinkle, though: Yerli has been upfront about his plans to turn Crytek into a free-to-play company within the next five years, starting with an F2P shooter called “Warface.” If — and it’s a big “if” — Crytek decide to use the “Darksiders” franchise, don’t be surprised if it’s somewhat different from its predecessors.