In my preview for Darksiders II, I mentioned Death's Ghost Hook weapon which helps you navigate around levels or attack enemies. What I didn't mention was that you don't start off with the Ghost Hook right away so you won't be able to get to hard to reach areas when you start. Obviously this means there's going to be backtracking but it's not going to be as tedious as it was in Darksiders.
As Marvin Donald, Creative Director at Vigil Games told me, "most of [the backtracking] will be optional and it will also be driven by quest content. So you'll have some context to why you're going back and you won't necessarily have to do it."
That alone should be enough to put fans of Darksiders at ease but Marvin went on to explain they're dealing with backtracking even more by stating how they aren't "trying to reuse the same space over and over again. We have a modular system that we're using to build our environments so it's made it a lot faster for us to build new interesting areas, have more complex layouts, actually get them done faster, to modify them and to come up with new sequences for the character to go through so we don't have to rely on the same space as much. It's pretty easy for us to generate more content."
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This new system is also a big help to Vigil as they "don't have a lot of time to put together [Darksiders II], so we had to make sure that we were using the time that we have as effectively as possible. We've definitely made some modifications to our pipeline in various places. The environment team is definitely one of the biggest beneficiaries to improving the way that we develop."
So while there will be backtracking, it will at least serve a purpose and will even have a narrative context to it. That sounds great to me. I don't mind backtracking in general, but there is a point where it can get pretty tedious so I like how Vigil is approaching the matter. How about you?