When Nordic Games first announced its upcoming remaster of Darksiders 2 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 — the regrettably titled Deathinitive Edition, which if you say it quickly sort of works — a handful of screenshots were supposed to sell the upgrade, but without "before" pictures it was hard to see the improvements.
To remedy that, Nordic sent over three before and after stills, along with this statement from John Pearl, design director at developer Gunfire Games. (Pearl, like many at Gunfire, worked on Darksiders 2 originally, while still at Vigil Games).
When we thought about what we wanted to do for the “Deathinitive” edition of Darksiders II, obviously we wanted to run in native 1080p and increase the resolution of the textures. Additionally, we decided to rewrite the renderer to be physically based like a lot of other current generation game engines. What this means visually is metal, leather, stone and skin look and respond to light as you would expect them to in the real world. This new rendering method meant we revisited every texture and surface in the game, reworking and re-authoring them for the new renderer. To take full advantage of these texture changes, we’ve also gone back and relit the entire game.
So what does a physically based renderer coupled with entirely new lighting look like? Here you go: