A spiritual successor to 2001’s is coming next year, Wizards of the Coast announced tonight at the Game Awards.
Called Dark Alliance, the action role-playing game is based on Dungeons & Dragons’ Forgotten Realms campaign and will follow the exploits of the dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden, created by fantasy writer R. A. Salvatore. Like the original game, Dark Alliance will have couch coop and focus on cutting down orcs, wolves, and other baddies in search of experience points, gold, and ever more powerful loot. Up to four players will be able to play locally or online, taking on the roles of Drizzt’s companions including the archer Cattie-Brie, dwarf Bruenor, and barbarian Wulfgar.
Tuque Games is the studio making Dark Alliance. Based in Montreal, it began working on the game in 2017 and was eventually acquired by Wizards of the Coast earlier this fall. The studio’s previous game, Livelock, was sort of like an apocalyptic, top-down shooter version of Diablo, so the switch to trying to make a modern Dark Alliance game, which also had strong Diablo overtones, makes sense.
“The exhilaration of working together as a team to overcome the odds and that final release of tension when (hopefully) everyone makes it out of the mission alive is something we are really striving to capture as part of the co-op experience in Dark Alliance,” Kevin Neibert, the game’s lead designer, told Kotaku in an email. He specifically mentioned games like Vermintide 2 as one of the modern examples of that experience the studio is looking to.
The original Dark Alliance was a PS2 game whose development team included Planescape: Torment and Fallout designer, Chris Avellone. What it lacked in deep RPG systems and storytelling, it made up for with meaty action where every sword slash and lightning bolt felt impactful. No one from the original game is working on the new Dark Alliance, but Neibert said Tuque is trying to stay true to that same style of fighting and impending sense of dread.
One thing Neibert declined to comment on is whether Dark Alliance will be always online, even when playing alone or in couch coop mode. The game is slated to come out sometime in fall of 2020 on both PC and consoles.