Comic heroes brought to life

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The highly anticipated role-playing console game Darksiders distributed by Ster-Kinekor will hit South African shelves tomorrow.

The creative design of Darksiders was headed by comic book artist and Vigil Games creative director, Joe Madureira, of Marvel Comics fame.

Madureira told ITWeb that Darksiders is not just an adventure role-playing or shooter game, but a completely different genre on its own. He says it will pave the way to a different technique in the way games are created.

The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world in a battle between angels and demons. The four horsemen of the apocalypse have been betrayed and cast down to earth. Players take on the role of War, the first of the four horsemen to embark on a quest to take revenge on the forces that betrayed him with the help of his steed named Ruin.

Madureira says: “We're taking people's notions of what a typical hero is and turning it upside down. Typically, you don't get this level of polish and complexity in the combat system of an adventure game.”

Sketchbook to screen

He points out that game development is evolving: “I think that publishers are investing in games more than ever before. There will be a lot richer presentation, more complex storylines, tactics have become more important and overall quality will become a lot more important.”

According to Madureira, being the creative director for a game is very different from designing comics. “It's a lot more difficult working with games as there aren't many dependencies when you're working in comics. There's a lot of tricks in gaming animation; you may have something that looks fantastic on paper, but it could be too complex to integrate into moving animation.”

However, he notes that as technology evolves and graphics cards improve, technical limitations will fall away and this will bring rich artistic concepts into gaming reality.

“I think money and time are bigger limits than the gaming consoles themselves. It's a matter of investing money and time and it will become easier and faster to do these things in the future.”

He adds: “We had such an amazing creative team working on the game with everyone contributing energy and creative ideas into the project. I was amazed at how much it took a life of its own and transcended so that the vision stays true. Everyday is full of new surprises.”

Madureira was the regular artist for X-men, Deadpool and the Ultimates 3. He also started his own sword and sorcery series called Battle Chasers for Wildstorm Comics.

In July 2007, Vigil Games' Darksiders was revealed to the public, and after many years in development, the title will be released on Sony PS3 and Xbox 360 tomorrow.

Madureira is currently working on online multiplayer game Warhammer 40 000, which does not have a release date as yet.

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