Dark AllianceJune 21, 2021
It’s been more than 15 years since Dark Alliance hit screens across the globe but tomorrow the action-rpg returns…with a bang.
Dark Alliance releases tomorrow on Xbox One X|S, Xbox One, Xbox Gamepass, PS4, PS5, Steam, and Epic. It’s a third person action rpg, published by Tuque games. The game features up to four player co-operative play, with each player taking the role of an iconic member of the Companions of the Hall including Drizzt, Catti-Brie, Wulfgar, or Bruenor.
(For those that don’t know, The Companions of the Hall feature prominently in the writings of R.A. Salvatore.) Salvatore has been actively involved in the development of the game, which follow the events of his first D&D novel The Crystal Shard.
Making the game
Translating an iconic series, with beloved characters isn’t easy. Every reader has a unique expectation from the characters, which could be hard to navigate. According to Jean François Champagne, Lead Mission Designer on Dark Alliance at Tuque Games, “[t]he most difficult thing is finding that balance between paying respect to the character’s origins while still making him/her fit with the kind of game you’re making. It’s more an art than an exact science as you make decisions about what is untouchable versus what can be safely adapted.”
In a four player co-op experience, each of the characters is going to bring a unique set of powers to the party.
Bruenor – he’s the king of the Battlehammer dwarves who lost his home to an invading force of enemies. Bruenor uses his axe and shield to attack and protect. “[He’s] a tank who can shield and buff others and also take a beating. But he can also be played offensively just like the other characters.” Sounds like you don’t have to turtle if you don’t want; though you can. May be the most flexible character (and possibly the most suited for a solo player.)
Catti-Brie – was raised by Bruenor and his clan. She fights from a distance with bow and arrow. “She’s a ranged / general who keeps her distance from enemies and many of her abilities center around allowing her to control the battlefield. [But] she’s deadly when played up close.” Battlefield control can be life or death in a game like this and she’ll be welcome in a party of two or three players.
Wulfgar – is a warrior that was imprisoned by Bruenor. He learned that petty conflict isn’t the only way. His massive hammer, forged by Bruenor himself, is a formidable weapon and can crush any enemy brave (or stupid) enough to challenge him. “Wulfgar is the Powerhouse DPS. He’s a big barbarian with a huge hammer, so, you get the idea!” See enemy. Point Wulfgar toward enemy. Watch enemy get hammered like nail.
Drizzt – is a Drow who was outcast from his home in the Underdark that found acceptance in the wastes of Icewind Dale. Drizzt’s dual scimitars (and his mastery of of them) is legendary. “Drizzt is a fast DPS character who is all about speed and tactical positioning with in-and-out attacks.” Lightning fast strikes is the hallmark of Drizzt, but he can’t stand up to the punishment that Bruenor can. Played smartly, Drizzt can bring the pain.
What can you expect from Dark Alliance?
At its heart, Dark Alliance is an action RPG; and both of those elements are equally important in the game. Jean François thinks that fans will be surprised by the depth of their combat system. “We think fans will be surprised with how deep the combat system can be. This level of depth is often reserved for single-player experiences and to find it in a co-op setting is…unique.”
Tabletop RPG fans who may not be familiar with the genre will find familiar elements in Dark Alliance. “The references to [the tabletop game in Dark Alliance] are obvious.” While the direct impact of your attributes or abilities may not mirror the tabletop game exactly, you’re going to get a sense of how they’re connected.
Altogether, if you love D&D (or action games, or RPGs, or…well…just, fun) Dark Alliance looks worth picking up!
The game releases tomorrow.
Thanks to Jean François for chatting with me
Images copyright Dark Alliance and used with permission