Darksiders III has finally been revealed after vague comments made over the years. Players will take on the role of the Horseman Fury as she travels to Earth to kill off the Seven Deadly Sins that have laid waste to the planet after baby brother War sort of broke everything and started the Apocalypse way in advance. Given that it’s set roughly during the same time as the second game, which is set before the first game (yeah, have fun working that out), you can likely guess the ending if you’ve played at least one of the other games.
So, spoilers for Darksiders I and II: in the first game, War breaks the Seventh Seal of the Apocalypse and is restored to full power. Furious with the Charred Council for framing him, he declares that he’ll take the fight to them, but he won’t do it alone. In the background, you see three comets fall down to Earth, signifying the arrival of the other three Horsemen: Death (who gave his life to restore his humanity at the end of the second game), Fury, and Strife. The music swells as the three comets shoot towards the screen, cutting to black and giving the game one of the coolest and most promising endings in all of modern gaming. Given that the Horsemen are the last of their kind, the Nephilim, and what we’ve seen of two of the Horsemen at their full power is pretty great, the promise of all four of them together was a juicy one.
That’s a kickass ending, one that the series has basically been basing its entire future on. Darksiders II ended similarly, relaying the first game’s ending for newcomers and showing the Four Horsemen standing together, the promise of more adventures to come. It ramped things up even further by showing Lilith–ostensibly the mother of the Nephilim–conversing with a Prince (let’s assume he’s Lucifer or the universe equivalent to the Devil’s son) angry at Death restoring humanity. The pieces are all in place for an eventually epic confrontation between the Horsemen and the (even more) forces of evil in a war between Heaven and Hell. But “eventually” is the key word here, and there’s going to be a point where we’ll need to make genuine progress in this story for it to feel impactful.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad that we’re getting a Darksiders III. Even when you take the remasters of the first two games into account, the possibility of a follow-up felt like a pipe dream not dissimilar to KOTOR 3 or Agent. Under the circumstances, this is the best thing that could’ve happened. But this “one Horseman gets a game to themselves” story runs the risk of feeling like the developers don’t entirely know where to take things going forward. That’s not to say that Fury’s solo outing couldn’t give us something interesting to work with–she seems to have the worst relationship with War, which makes sense after he nearly killed her–it just feels weird that as much as these four are seen together in outside media, the games have yet to really capitalize on this. In the first two games, this was easily justified by War being the only one to pay for his crimes, and Death loved–or whatever counts as love for these guys– his brother more than Fury or Strife apparently did, hence why he went on a solo quest to prove his innocence.
Going off the information released so far, Darksiders III seems like a missed opportunity to not include Strife alongside Fury’s bounty hunt. Not only would it be a good indicator of how the developers plan on having co-op work when they eventually bring all the Horsemen together and know what we’re in for in terms of combat, but it’d just be nice to see a brother/sister duo roaming the world and killing demons. It’s not something you always see in big budget games especially–NieR: Automata’s 2B and 9S are that way, until they… aren’t–and since Death is the oldest and seems to be closest to War, the younger brother, one has to imagine that the middle two siblings connect with one another more than they do with the others. (Plus, we still need to find out just how Strife’s guns ended up out of his possession.)
The promise of Darksiders as a franchise has been one of playing alongside your friends as the most powerful beings in existence. While I’m still very much into the idea of becoming a giant, flaming dragon or a giant Reaper with an equally giant scythe or whatever Fury and Strife’s ultimate forms are, there needs to be some actual progression to the Horsemen meeting up. Even if this means that Strife’s solo outing has to be a $15 digital expansion, that would be more preferable than stretching out a story and not getting to the main event. The Horsemen have been in the stable long enough, and it’s time to let them all ride together once more.