Dark and Light, as many of our loyal readers may remember was an insanely ambitious MMORPG that launched in 2006, flopped, and was shut down in 2008. There was a load of controversy surrounding the title back then, ultimately leading to the original developer (NPCube) and publisher (Farlan Entertainment) closing quietly after lawsuits filed by VWorld LLC. Well, Snail Games picked up the pieces, and 12 years after it began development Dark and Light is coming back to PCs everywhere this fall.
We did not give the game a very favorable recommendation when it originally launched. Dark and Light, at its core, was surely ambitious but definitely not prepared to be released back in 2006. As former MMORPG writer Thomas Mortensen noted back in 2006:
The new trailer sure is pretty…
“There are a lot of bugs in the game - most of which are more peculiar than annoying - but when fixed, this could be a passable game. The question is, will anyone be around to see it? The game offers a degree of freedom that is rare in online games and its events really brought the community together before being scaled back. The problem is simply that they promised big things and didn't deliver them. The community feels like they were lied to and as a result even the good parts of this game may never have a chance to shine.”
Needless to say, it’s not surprising that Dark and Light didn’t last long in its first incarnation. We’ve reached out to Snail Games since the surprise announcement that Dark and Light (also known as Savage Horizon) would be launching later this year on Steam. The video below, and screenshot comparisons, definitely speak to the game’s updated visuals. The comparisons between 2004, 2012, and now are pretty telling of a much more visually appealing game. But how will it play?
We’ll be organizing an interview with Snail Games, and hopefully we learn some of what they have planned for the MMORPG’s relaunch, but until then let’s try to remember some of what Dark and Light hoped to accomplish back in 2006. Perhaps its initial goals remain intact, now possible with a new developer and much more funding behind its ample ambition.
Dark and Light’s goal was to provide the single largest world in MMOs, and have every single player on the same server. Will that still be the case?
The press release out of ChinaJoy seems to speak to a completely different take on the game, perhaps one more rooted in the theme park aspects than the sandbox:
“With the revolutionary UE4 engine, the difference between the current version of the game and its previous iteration is night and day. The game's lore and setup has also been significantly updated with multiple universes, three races, and a rivalry between the dark and light all setting a new tone for the game.
In addition to the improvements in visual fidelity and changes to the fictional game world, Dark and Light now boasts a more magical fantasy element with the inclusion of sorcerers and aliens, which tie into the central conflict of the game. Players will be able to explore a simulated world that not only feels real and believable but also feels imaginative and new.”
Still, the company is still calling Dark and Light a Sandbox MMO, so we’re pretty damn keen to see just how far it’s come since 2006’s bumbling debut. The potential was always there. But was 10 years and a change in developer enough to make it a better game? We sure hope so. The MMORPG genre could use another check in the “win” column.