The sequel to the popular multiplayer fencing game Nidhogg finally has a release date. It’s going to launch on August 15th, on Playstation 4 and PC. The news comes via a post on the official Playstation blog, in which creator Mark Essen also talks about the game’s art direction.
The underlying premise is the same as in the first game – you play against another fencer, clashing your swords until there is only one. You parry or avoid their blows, while trying to strike them down when they make an opening. What’s different is that there are more weapons this time around, as well as more levels and a detailed character customization system. And of course, the drastic change in art direction.
As Essen explains in the post, the first game’s style was born of neccessity. They needed a simple look that could be adapted on the go. Their design process involves a lot of iteration, and he states that the ability to make changes to both the design and the look on the fly is what allowed them to even finish making the game. This time around, a change in tech allowed for a visual change:
I had been experimenting with 2D bone animation programs, which allow you to independently animate separate body parts instead of redrawing entire character sprites. This makes it infinitely easier to combine things like fencing footwork, various upper-body stances, and weapon types. Plus, it means you can swap out the sprites without breaking the animation.
It seemed silly to use all this potential on pixelated stick figures. So, instead of minimalism, why not try out some maximalism? Animated faces, sweet outfits and hairstyles, bustling environments – the doors had swung wide and Nidhogg 2’s visual style was born.
It does take some time to get used to it, but we’re more interested in the changes that happened under the hood. We’ll obviously know more once the game is out, on August 15th.