Darklands - CRPG Addict Retrospective
The CRPG Addict took a look back at Darklands and found it a highly-original and innovative game.
Well, what a ride. Darklands offers perhaps the most original approach to role-playing that we've seen since the inception of the genre, and in several dimensions. The experience wasn't always a joy, but I never stopped admiring what the developers were trying to accomplish. In this case, the primary developer ("original concept" and "project leader" in the credits) is Arnold Hendrick. It was his only RPG. Hendrick wrote responses to 13 pages of questions on Steam between 2016 and 2018, participated in a three-part interview with Matt Barton in 2010, and submitted to a long interview on RPG Codex in 2012. Thus, I was able to pepper my summary below with many of his recollections.
(Hendrick, I should add, is a fairly unique game designer in that he came from a background of board and tabletop gaming and never learned programming. It reminds me of how Irving Berlin became immortal writing hundreds of hit songs while never actually learning how to read, write, or play music. I sometimes wonder if I could make a go as a game designer or a composer with a similar lack of foundational skills. Perhaps--but I don't think I'd ever have the gall to put myself out there as such.)