Nidhogg 2 creator explains radical art style overhaul

From the looks of all the footage I've seen of upcoming side-scrolling sword combat game Nidhogg 2, the mechanics will be very similar to the original. That's a good thing, because Nidhogg was one of the best games of 2014. The art style, however, will be completely different. 

The first was a minimal, Atari-inspired affair, but Nidhogg 2 is going for an exaggerated cartoon look from the mind of artist Toby Dixon.

In a post on the PlayStation blog, creative director Mark Essen spoke at length about the change in aesthetic. Basically, it came about because the team had crafted lots of new animations and felt it would be "silly to use all this potential on pixelated stick figures".

"What many people didn’t realize was that Nidhogg’s style actually grew out of practicality more than some daring vision," he said. "[For 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. 

"This makes it infinitely easier to combine things like fencing footwork, various upper-body stances, and weapon types. 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," he said.

There's lots of flashy gifs showcasing the game in action on that blog post as well, if you feel like checking it out.

If you want to find out more about the game, James spoke to the developers for his preview last year (there's good stuff about the changes to combat in there too). 

The game is coming out on August 15, and it's available for pre-order at a 15% discount on Steam. It will set you back £9.34/$12.74/12,74€. 

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play.