Remember 2014’s fantasy RPG Lords of the Fallen? If not, we could hardly blame you. Obscured by an onslaught of high profile at-the-time next-gen releases and dismissed by some as a derivative, banal rip-off of FromSoft’s monumental Dark Souls games, Lords of the Fallen was overlooked by many. The game garnered a fairly mediocre 73 on Metacritic with a user score of 6.8, and, six years after release, the Steam user reviews are still mixed, with a paltry 59 percent of players recommending the game. However, that seemingly hasn’t deterred publisher CI Games from returning to the property, as they’ve recently confirmed that a sequel, aptly named Lords of the Fallen 2, is in active development.
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Of particular interest here is the fact that, while CI Games has returned to publish the franchise’s second installment, development has been handed to the newly formed Bucharest and Barcelona-based team Hexworks. Together, these teams form a group of 25 experienced developers who’ve either worked with the publisher in the past or have elsewhere contributed to the development of AAA titles.
“We’ve gathered a kickass team of senior developers with a deep fascination for mature fantasy games,” project Executive Producer Paul Gascon stated in a September eighth press release. “The path has been intense, especially with the global lockdown situation, but … we’ve gathered a great team, mostly from our networks. I can’t wait to share more information from the studio, and show you what we are working on!”
It’s worth noting that the developers behind the original release, Deck 13, have since partnered up with Focus Home Interactive to publish the relatively well-received soulslike The Surge and its sequel. Though initially met with a similar reaction as the first Lords game, The Surge games have managed to escape from the shadow of Dark Souls by iteration on FromSoft’s combat and upgrade systems, as well as by introducing an entirely fresh cyberpunk aesthetic to proceedings. The “soulslike” monicker has become less of a dirty word in the minds of gamers as time has gone no, and, should Lords of the Fallen 2 endeavor to follow in the footsteps of the original development studio, it may instill enough of its own unique identity to avoid unfavorable comparisons to the Souls series.
Yet, one of the first titles to bear the semi-controversial “soulslike” flag, Lords of the Fallen’s core mechanics, gameplay scenarios, and settings will have to be altered. For instance, many complained that the combat in Lords was far too slow and methodical and that the overall pace of the game suffered greatly as a result.
Similarly, the game’s samey gray-and-brown dungeon and castle interiors were confusing at best and outright tiresome at worst. In some ways, Lords’ environments felt almost auto-generated as if the developers fed the original Dark Souls levels into an AI and asked it to replicate them. Enemies were also lacking in variety, as well, with players mostly facing off against generic burly knights and warriors, this being in stark contrast to its inspiration’s multifaceted and often grotesque baddies.
Plus, CI Games has had a pretty rough track record. Known in recent years for their relatively-underwhelming Sniper: Ghost Warrior series and for the poorly-reviewed Enemy Front game, their release library isn’t exactly sterling. That’s not to say that Hexworks doesn’t have the ability to turn things around for the publisher—in fact, they were likely founded partly to do just that—but, given the preconceived notions surrounding both the publisher and the franchise, it seems like it’ll be an uphill battle for Lords of the Fallen 2.
That said, we wish the best for CI Games and their new studio, and we hope to hear more about the development of the Lords of the Fallen sequel in the coming months!
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