One of the things that surprised fans about Nidhogg 2, sequel of the interesting fast-paced indie fencing game from Messhof, is the completely different art style than its predecessor. Today Mark Essen, creative director and co-funder of Messhof, answered that question in a post on PlayStation’s official blog. While he was at it, he also drops the release date for the sequel.
The original Nidhogg rocked a pixelated, minimalist art style and made it work very very well. The simplistic characters and background didn’t get in the way of the frenetic action and fast animations, managing instead to grant the game a unique charm. Nidhogg 2 takes a diametrically opposed path than the original title, presenting an art style very rich in colors and details in both the characters and the backgrounds.
Mark explains that the choice of using a minimalistic and pixelated art style for the first Nidhogg was a move to attribute to necessity rather than a conscious decision. The gameplay of Nidhogg required flawlessly fluid and fast animations, with no frame loss at all. At the same time, art and gameplay were deeply linked during the development cycle to the point that changing a sprite would require Mosshef to redo all the animations that use that sprite.
With Nidhogg 2, the team decided that addressing this issue was their highest priority. The new animation process uses skeleton-based animations with meshes independent from the movement of the joints. This means that they’re able to change the sprites at will without risk of breaking the animation loop.
The new process opened a lot of new possibilities for the studio, they decided to embrace the new state of things by going for a “maximalistic” approach for the art style of Nidhogg 2. This means animated faces, customization and a lot of detailed, vivid levels.
Nidhogg 2 will be released August 15th with pre-orders being available starting July 18th.