Demonik is a canceled action game published by Majesco Entertainment, in partnership with John Woo’s company Tiger Hill Entertainment, and developed by Terminal Reality around 2005-2006, only for the Xbox 360.
In Demonik, the player assume the role of Volwrath, a demon who is summoned to Earth by humans seeking revenge against those who’ve done them wrong in some way. To do so, Volwrath has multiple supernatural powers such as telekinesis or even the possession of spirit’s human being.
The game was first announced as a brand new IP in May 2005, when an agreement between Tiger Hill and Majesco was reached. Horror master Clive Barker was attached to the project as writer and director of the game:
“Demonik is set to launch in 2006 on next generation consoles and is being developed simultaneously as a feature film by acclaimed filmmaker and writer Clive Barker. Barker is set to oversee the story, character designs, cinematics and voice talent for the game.”
“Clive Barker adds “Demonik will be an intense gaming experience. I’m having a lot of fun enriching the game’s mythology and polishing the characters till they shine. And, of course, adding a little bit of Barker darkness.”
“Demonik is the latest game from award-winning developer Terminal Reality, creators of Majesco’s hit BloodRayne series. Demonik is a detailed third-person action game that allows players to control the ultimate bad guy — wreaking havoc with a variety of innovative and spectacular powers and abilities.”
The game was shown at E3 2005 where IGN and Gamespy were able to unveil further details. Gamespy was writing a short preview:
“In Demonik, players take on the role of a powerful vengeance demon named Volwrath, who is summoned to Earth by humans seeking revenge against those who’ve done them wrong in some way. Although bound by his human masters, Volwrath gets stronger and stronger with each summoning, ultimately becoming powerful enough to break the chains that bind him and take over the world of those he once served.
Volwrath faces off against a variety of opponents, both human and supernatural. Luckily, Volwrath has more than a few otherworldly tricks up his sleeve. Volwrath has the ability to jump from body to body at will, corrupting those he controls in the process. Volwrath also has access to a total of twenty five different demonic powers, allowing him to do everything from spreading a lethal plague to flash frying anyone in sight.
I had the chance to check out a hands-on alpha preview of Demonik during a behind closed doors session at Majesco’s E3 booth. I was thoroughly impressed by what I saw. The game uses a dynamic multipass lighting system and a realistic physics engine that work well together to bring the world of Demonik to life.
Other key points highlighted during the presentation included details on the game’s single-player and multiplayer capabilities. The game will include 10-12 single-player summoning missions, as well as a few missions in Volwrath’s Underworld home. For the multiplayer side of things, gamers will be able to compete against each other in one-on-one demon combat, or in five-on-one human versus demon battles. It was also pointed out that the game is still in the early stages of development, and that more multiplayer options could be added prior to the game’s release.”
While IGN told us:
“Volwrath has immense power, which you’ll need to grow and harness throughout the adventure. While lighting strikes and plague-infection powers come later in the game, the two key abilities are Volwrath’s Devil Hand and possession ability. The Devil Hand looks a lot like Psi-Ops, where Volwrath can lift objects and enemies and toss them around like dolls. The 360 difference is that everything in the environment can be interacted with. Everything. At a chemical facility, Volwrath can pick up humans and toss them into acid vats and watch them bubble and vaporize. Throw crates, toss barrels. Consider it your innate gravity gun.
Possession allows Volwrath to enter human hosts and assume their identity. The longer Volwrath stays in a host, the more powerful he becomes as he slowly feeds on the host’s lifeforce, but this also slowly turns the human form more and more demonic. Stay long enough and Volwrath will fully emerge from the host. You can leave a host at any time, which instantly places you in a first person “Redeemer” cam. As a spiritual entity, you can’t go through solid objects and the further you get from your previous host, the weaker you become.
The applications of possession are pretty awesome. You can possess a security guard and start shooting your buddies then leap out and head into another area of the room to take over a scientist. As the scientist scurries away, the other guards start attacking their brother in arms, who has no idea why everyone is suddenly taking shots at him. Let chaos reign. Run into an enemy who can see your demonic form emerging from a host and you can leap right into the enemy as he sprays the first bullets at your former host.
Demonik features eight different powers (plus the devil hand). Each power can be upgraded three full levels and you can choose which powers to upgrade first. Powers can also be chained, so if you curse an enemy with the Plague, you can then use the Devil Hand to throw them into another group, infecting the whole lot.
You can affect every human in the game, except for the Demonic Hunters. This special group of humanoids hunt your peeps and are immune to all of your powers. Fortunately, they aren’t immune to bullets. And Volwrath has no problems bustin’ a cap in people or opening up with a few powerful fist blows. And don’t forget that you can chuck objects at enemies and cause mass destruction to the environment.
Though the framerate’s a little shaky at this early stage, Demonik shows the power of the 360. Everything is normal-mapped, has dynamic lighting and looks fantastic.”
However, after it’s presentation at E3, the game was canceled in the beginning of 2006, alongside Martin Scorsese’s movie tie-in video game Taxi Driver, after Majesco ran into big financial trouble as we can read on Engadget:
“Majesco is “shifting its product strategy away from the premium console game market” to focus primarily on value and handheld games. As a result, expected high-profile titles such as Taxi Driver and Demonik have been cancelled. This follows the sale of the rights to The Darkness and Ghost Rider back in December.
Losing $70 million in a year can be tough on any publisher, but it can be crushing for a struggling one like Majesco. The commercial failures of the trumpeted sci-fi epic Advent Rising and the Schafer-produced gem Psychonauts did nothing to help things as the company only made $4.6 million in revenue (not profit) in the 4th quarter of 2005.”
Demonik was featured during a scene in the 2006’s movie Grandma’s Boy.
Article updated by Daniel Nicaise