Vigil Games co-founders – creators of Darksiders – Joe Madureira (best known for his work as an artist in the comic book industry) and Ryan Stefanelli have created their own new indie studio, Airship Syndicate.
In an interview with Gameinformer, Madureira and Stefanelli announced they had already commenced production of a new game. The duo commented that the game would be based around RPGs, the adventure genre and creating a more intimate connection with the gamer. Madureira elucidated: “I think that adventure is a big thing for us. That’s why we sort of settled on the Airship Syndicate, as far as getting that vibe of exploration and otherworldly technologies.” The pair averred the game would be playable on PC and possibly tablets.
When asked about their possible involvement in Darksiders III, Madureira mentioned earlier talks with Nordic. Clearing up any misnomers that the game they’re developing is Darksiders III. Stefanelli commented further, “We love it, though. I don’t think we’d ever dismiss it entirely.”
Their crew is formed from developers and designers, around twenty individuals in total, who were involved with the Darksiders series. Madureira said that the twosome were happy to return to the simplicity of a small team. “It’s nice to feel like you are hanging out in a room with your friends,” he said, “it almost doesn’t feel like work. That’s how it was when we started Vigil, and then it grew into something crazy. We want to take it back to the roots.”
The developers’ venture into Air Syndicate was born out of the ashes of Vigil. In January 2013, Vigil games filed for bankruptcy following the financial troubles of publisher THQ. The abrupt closing of the studio, known for the Darksiders series and its aborted project Crawler, led many of its producers and developers to move on to other companies. Publisher Crytek picked up the Darksiders IP and a number of staff members – before losing a large number of them during its own financial issues earlier this year. Others, like Madureira, decided to go it alone and start a new company free from publisher control.
Wesley reviewed Darksiders II back in August 2012 and awarded it a very impressive 9/10. “Darksiders II is everything you want from a game,” he wrote. “Puzzles are the right level of difficulty, combat is fast and eventually becomes a dance where Death glides from one enemy to another with grace, and it’s big. It took me 21 hours from start to finish and still there’s another 15 or so hours of side quests, the crucible, and weapon hunting. Then when you factor in New Game+, you realize just what a good investment Darksiders II is.”