First look at The Dark Eye: Demonicon

Be prepared, gentle (or indeed violent) traveler, for Das Schwarze Auge is set to seep into the Xbox/PC world sometime next year. You’d think that only devoted role-players would know what the hell we’re going on about, but the German RPG has actually outsold its more illustrious Dungeons & Dragons forebear internationally since its creation in 1984. A few million long-haired Germans can’t be wrong… can they?

Anyone hoping for a real distinction from D&D will be disappointed – the land of Aventuria on the anagrammatic planet Ethra is home to warriors, ogres, elves, orcs and all the usual boring staff. So how on Ethra can this hope to be a hit?

There’s nothing new about the Oblivion-esque scenery and attempt to match its gameplay (although each quest you undertake will apparently have three distinct solutions and outcomes), and the makeup of your team will be instantly familiar to anyone who does overtime at their local Games Workshop – but the selling point here is that the hunky warrior, sly dwarf and brave archer lass who will be watching your back will all be controlled by up to eight flesh and blood gamers, and every dungeon you explore will be specifically tailored to teamwork, Left 4 Dead-style.

There is a bit of a story arc for your hero – your foster father has been wrongly condemned to death for murder, so you’re after one of those pesky Unnamed Evils which are blighting the land – and the usual laws of character progression and morality will apply to everyone in your team. But ultimately Demonicon is just a chance for die-hard die fans to explore their favourite fantasy world together for the first time in a pretty (though we’ve yet to see it in motion) next gen landscape. More will start to reveal itself soon…

Apr 19, 2010