Dark and Darker's rising popularity suggests 'Skyrim x Tarkov' is more than a gimmick

Four adventurers journey into a dim dungeon
(Image credit: Ironmace)

The latest Dark and Darker playtest suggests that the multiplayer dungeon crawler's early success is more than just a fluke.

A new Dark and Darker demo launched with Steam Next Fest this week, and it's already reached a peak of 102,124 concurrent players, as SteamDB shows. That's up from a peak of 69,533 during the last playtest a few months ago, and it quite comfortably makes it one of the biggest games on Steam - the eighth-biggest, as of this writing. Dark and Darker has more players than GTA 5 or Warzone 2 on Valve's platform right now, and while it remains to be seen how it stands the test of time, these rising numbers indicate it's got a solid foundation.

If you haven't encountered Dark and Darker yet, just imagine Skyrim mixed with Escape from Tarkov. No, really. It's a dark fantasy dungeon crawler where you've got to infiltrate unfriendly places, fight with the monsters guarding their treasures, and compete with other players to get out alive. As part of a three-player squad, you take up a class like a bow-wielding ranger or party-buffing bard.

Dark and Darker is currently in alpha, and there's still no clear indication of when the final game is set to launch. Players are clearly eager for that launch, though, as the game is now the ninth-most wishlisted title on Steam, ahead of the likes of Ark 2, Kerbal Space Program 2, and Hades 2. If you want to jump in now, the current playtest lasts until February 13.

Check out our Dark and Darker class guide if you're trying to decide your playstyle.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.