Video and computer games have been shockingly devoid of parody for too
long. Pardoy, in its own funny way, confirms success - something has to
be familar and recognizable in order for its caricature to achieve
is one game that seeks to redress that imbalance, but instead of making
humor the focal point of the game, Magicka
is also a surprisingly innovative and enjoyable couch co-op* game
(*provided you have a couch in front of your PC and a glut of gamepads,
four players can play at once).
But if a spellcasting system powered by clever combos (each button
press representing a differnet element) isn't enough to catch you
attention, maybe a DLC send-up entitled Magicka: Vietnam
And with a name like Magicka: Vietnam
Bad Company 2
reference is hard to miss. "We're big DICE fans, and we were sort of
wondering how they'd take it when the press release went out."
Pilestedt, CEO and Founder of Arrowhead
games, explained. "Then we saw
the link [to the Magicka: Vietnam
trailer] on their official page."
isn't the only game or meme due for roasting in Magicka: Vietnam
The sheer number of pop-culture references alone is dizzying. Johan
Pilestedt quipped that the dubious Virgil-esque vampire Vlad will
return and channel a taciturn military demi-god somewhere between
Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now
and Solid Snake, that the DLC will offer a POW camp fresh from Rambo
(but don't expect robe-ling misery inside... "Everyone inside is
well-fed and cared for," Johan explained), a "Get to the Choppa!" last
stand straight out of Predator
with a side of Left 4 Dead
and even a mysterious LOST
Nor does Magicka's
next DLC take its cues entirely from fiction. The venerable M-60, the
cheaty automatic weapon that players received with a guitar-strumming
growl in the original, is back, along with the other Vietnam must-have
munitions: the M-16, the RPG, the bolt-action Mosin Nagant, and the
AK-47. These weapons will have their own quirky sense of realism: both
incorporate authentic weapon-firing sounds, and the M-16 is more
accurate but can only fire 3-round burst while the AK goes full-auto
with Soviet-era, foliage-fuzzing inaccuracy.
All in all, the new weapons are about what you'd expect, if you had any
expectations for a fantasy Vietnam game where you're facing down
GoblinCong by the score. "We didn't need MGs that shoot sausages,"
Johan laughed, noting that the overarching concept of the game provided
all the gritty comic intensity that Magicka
developer Arrowhead Studios was looking for. (If the playerbase asked
loudly enough for the sausage gun, Johan and company might not have a
choice, though.) Yet Johan let it slip that one kitschy new staff will
be added to the game, the Patriot Staff, which lobs Liberty Grenades -
the game's nod to artillery barrages.
Also new for Magicka: Vietnam
is a cover system (which is itself almost a pop-culture reference
straight from Gears of War
and Napalm Casting, apowerful new Magick (or button-combo that creates
a powerful attack or ability). Napalm casting comes complete with an
F-4 flyover and a trademark wake of flames. Johan couldn't comment on
whether or not it smells like victory.
Napalm casting is the first hint of how DLCs will impact the base game.
This particular magick will be available to all players, whether or not
they buy the DLC. Johan promised that his team wouldn't be putting
players on the DLC treadmill, however; that the team would alternate in
free DLCs and patched content as well. "We want to make free and paid
DLCs equally intense," Johan explained. "If all we release are paid
DLCs, people are going to eventually feel like they're being ripped
off." Hear hear, BioWare!
As to what the future holds for Magicka
beyond the Vietnam
DLC, Johan dropped a few hints. "We don't want to alienate the fantasy
players," he explained with totaly honesty, noting that a concrete
percentage of the fanbase purchased Magicka
as a fantasy game, and he and his team wish to honor that. He alluded
noting that an eerily close version of Diablo's
Tristram theme (close yet totally distinct, for the copyright lawyers
out there) is already in the game. The words Magicka
and 2 were also used in close proximity, but as with Magicka
the line between a send-up, a laugh, and a surprisingly solid and
innovative game is often blurred.
No exact release date or price point for Magicka: Vietnam
but Johan felt April was likely. Thanks to Johan Pilestedt and the
Arrowhead and Paradox folks for making time for Ten Ton Hammer at GDC