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DeathSpank is an action role-playing game by game designer Ron Gilbert, who had been working on getting the game made since 2004; it was announced on January 9, 2008 that Hothead Games would publish the game. The game has been described as "Monkey Island meets Diablo". The game was released on July 13, 2010 on the PlayStation Network and July 14, 2010 on Xbox Live Arcade. Three teaser trailers of DeathSpank were shown at Penny Arcade Expo 2008, but did not show any gameplay. On March 30, 2009, Ron Gilbert confirmed on his blog that the game would no longer be episodic. During the '09 Penny Arcade Expo the game was showcased at Hothead Games booth, with live gameplay being demonstrated by staff, along with examples of story elements, and dialog trees.
DeathSpank's world is cylinder-shaped and is rendered without load screens as the player explores its unique goings-on. Gameplay is similar to Diablo, featuring hundreds of pieces of armor and weapons. Advanced dialog options, similar to LucasArts' Monkey Island series, also play a large part in unfolding the game's story. The game is being designed to be playable in short segments, and has three difficulty levels. It contains from 8 to 12 hours of gameplay depending on choices made in-game. In addition to the thirty-three main quests, players have the option of performing a total of 79 side quests. After defeating the final boss, the player can continue to play in the environment, with money in the form of green currency rather than gold coins.
The character DeathSpank originated in Ron Gilbert's Grumpy Gamer comics, created by Gilbert and Clayton Kauzlaric. The character was then later developed further. Gilbert and Kauzlaric created a rough design for the game and pitched it to games publishers for over four years without any success. Previously, Gilbert had consulted for Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness at Hothead Games; he contacted them and a deal was made for the company to publish the game. A more in-depth design for DeathSpank was then produced. Kauzlaric remained involved with the project, consulting on design, story and concept art. DeathSpank was ultimately published by Electronic Arts. Gilbert departed Hothead Games upon completion of the game.
During the development of the game on its official blog it was announced that both EA and Hothead Games are very interested in delivering a PC version, and that further announcements would be made in the future. Since the entire blog has been removed it's uncertain if there will be a PC version. However Ron Gilbert, teased on his blog a few weeks before the release of DeathSpank on XBLA/PSN that there will be a version of the game for another platform in the future. More recently, with the announcement of DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue, Hothead Games stated that for the time they are focused on supporting the two consoles but they also acknowledged that they see some demand for a PC version and such a port could be made reality if they feel there is strong enough demand for it.
DeathSpank has been met with generally positive reviews.
- Joystiq - 5/5 stars
- Wired 9/10
- IGN - 85
- Destructoid - 8.5
- GameSpot - 80
- Gametrailers - 8.0
- Giant Bomb - 3/5
- 1UP - B
- Gamereactor - 8/10
- X-Play - 4/5
- Good Game - 8/10
- Edge 8/10
- Official Xbox UK Magazine 8/10
On 23 August 2010, games review website GameSpot announced that a sequel to DeathSpank had been developed. Entitled "Thongs of Virtue", the title is expected to add new environments, modernized weapons, increased boss fights, and a new multiplayer character. Thongs of Virtue is slated for release September 21, 2010 on PSN and September 22 on XBLA.
- ↑ Androvich, Mark (2008-01-09). Hothead Games to publish Ron Gilbert's DeathSpank. gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved on 2008-01-09.
- ↑ Allin, Jack (2008-01-09). Ron Gilbert set to deliver a DeathSpank. Adventure Gamers. Retrieved on 2008-01-09.
- ↑ Maruccia, Alfonso (2008-09-01). DeathSpank shows off at Penny Arcade Expo... And where are the monkeys?!?. Sir Arthur's Den. Retrieved on 2008-09-06.
- ↑ Gilbert, Ron (2009-03-30). DeathSpank Tidbit. Retrieved on 2009-04-09.
- ↑ EA Games to Slap Us With a DeathSpank!
- ↑ Hothead Games (2008-01-09). "Hothead Games to publish new Ron Gilbert game DeathSpank". Press release. http://hotheadgames.com/news15.php. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
- ↑ Gilbert, Ron (2008-01-09). Ron Gilbert announces DeathSpank deal. Retrieved on 2008-01-09.
- ↑ http://www.deathspank.com/blog/?p=173 Entire blog doesn't work anymore
- ↑ http://grumpygamer.com/9089133
- ↑ http://kotaku.com/5617364/we-get-a-surprise-deathspank-sequel-next-month
- ↑ DeathSpank Named Game of the Century (2009-12-19)..
- ↑ Good Game stories - DeathSpank. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2010-07-26)..
- ↑ http://uk.gamespot.com/ps3/rpg/deathspankthongsofvirtue/news.html?sid=6274256&om_act=convert&om_clk=newsfeatures&tag=newsfeatures%3Btitle