David Szymanski's 2018 shooter, Dusk, was one of the vanguards of the retro FPS craze, and it's still a tough one to beat. But just five years after launch, its creators are adding the option to make it a little less retro—Dusk HD got its first big showcase since a tease in the 2022 PC Gaming Show at this year's Realms Deep event.
New Blood head Dave Oshry says Dusk HD started as "'HD' remakes of the game's weapons and enemies to put up as packs on the upcoming Steam Workshop for Dusk in order to give people some cool content at launch." That original pitch reminds me a bit of Half-Life: Blue Shift, or one of those HD weapon packs for Deus Ex someone seems to make every few years, but it didn't stay that way.
"We were then approached by a community member named 'Garumin' who was inspired by what he saw and wanted to remake everything else," Oshry explained. "Every texture, every model, every asset. It was an insane task. But he'd already gotten started… and his work was… good?"
Garumin was brought onboard and paid to continue that work, and he even went so far as to touch up beta weapons and assets that hadn't made it to the final game. At this point, Oshry estimates that nearly every asset in Dusk has been remade, and the last step for the project is a final pass to ensure the new assets all "fit" together. It's insurance against the classic bad HD texture pack vibe—they're going for Halo 2 Anniversary here, not Halo 1 Anniversary. "That means changing texel densities, redoing textures, redoing weapon models and textures, redoing weapon models again, redoing enemy models, redoing enemy textures. It's… a lot."
I don't think we're in any danger of Dusk HD feeling like a bad graphics overhaul from the Fallout 3 Nexus—the screens and footage released so far look great, and the models really capture the spirit of the original art. My favorite of the new bunch has to be the HD rework of what was already my favorite Dusk weapon: the broadsword. Its HD iteration has this real Conan the Barbarian, Hyperborean, jagged edges and runes thing going on.
If Dusk HD is not quite to your tastes, that's ok too—it'll just be a download through the Steam Workshop, with the potential for it to be upgraded to an in-game option (including on the console versions) should the pack be positively received.
Dusk HD will get a more in-depth trailer on Halloween, with a tentative release date of "around" December 10. This wasn't all New Blood had to show at Realms Deep either—the noir immersive sim Fallen Aces got its longest gameplay trailer to date, as well as a 2024 release window.