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Nidhogg 2 to be Released on August 15

Nidhogg 2 will be released on August 15 of this year for PlayStation 4 and PC, according to the official PlayStation blog.

This game, though, looks shockingly different (hint: less stick figures) from the first game in the Nidhogg franchise, Nidhogg, which was released in 2014. The developers of Nidhogg 2, Messhof, revealed why they chose a new art direction for this game.

“We were proud of the original Nidhogg’s visual style, but that’s not to say we weren’t a bit surprised by how well the chunky, featureless pixels were received,” said Mark Essen, creative director and co-founder of Messhof. “We were pushing the limits of old-school aesthetics, after all. What many people didn’t realize was that Nidhogg’s style actually grew out of practicality more than some daring vision.”

The game design from Nidhogg even won the Game Design award at Indiecade 2013 according to Polygon. Many people and critics found the game design to be one of their favorite parts of the game, as it reminded them of an old-school arcade game.

Nidhogg received a score of 81 for PC on Metacritic. One reviewer from PC Gamer gave the game a score of 93.

“A brilliant marriage of mechanics, level design and music that will be played and talked about for years to come,” said the reviewer from Metacritic. The full review for Nidhogg can be found here.

Despite winning these awards, Messhof wanted to continue to push the envelope in design for their next game, Nidhogg 2.

“I had been experimenting with 2D bone animation programs, which allow you to independently animate separate body parts instead of redrawing entire character sprites,” said Essen when discussing how Messhof made this change in art style. “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.”

Essen said that the Messhof team had thought about what they wanted to include in the original Nidhogg game that never came into fruition. Now, with Nidhogg 2, they had time to really create a vision they wanted for the game.

“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,” said Essen.

Nidhogg 2 was originally announced back in September of 2016 according to the trailer for the game, available on PC Gamer’s official YouTube channel. While the art and design of the game have taken a new direction, players will still be able to fight to the death (spoiler alert/trigger warning: body parts and blood will be flying everywhere and there will be lots and lots of painful screaming).

Many of the comments for the trailer, though, expressed distaste in the new art direction.

“I’m a huge fan of the original Nidhogg, and I feel like this isn’t a great step forward,” said Lythero, a verified gaming and animation YouTuber with over 100,000 subscribers. “The first game’s art design was great, the game mechanics were perfect (easy to learn, hard to master), but it looks like both of these aspects have been muddled with. Adding more weapons complicates that perfect battle system you already had. And I’m clearly not alone when I say I don’t find anything appealing about these character models (I honestly thought this WAS a knockoff Simpsons game at first glance).” Lythero’s YouTube channel can be found here.

It has been around nine months since that trailer was posted, though, so hopefully fans have since come to appreciate the new direction Messhof wants to take with the Nidhogg franchise.

Pre-orders for Nidhogg 2 will start on July 18. The original Nidhogg is available on Steam for $9.99. More information on Nidhogg 2 can be found on the Nidhogg official website.

Featured image via Flickr/BagoGames.

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