The original Darksiders, a dark fantasy action-adventure game published by THQ, is an interesting success story. The game was released in January 2010 and it scored well with critics. Unfortunately, initial sales were disappointing. However, through positive word-of-mouth, the game has developed quite a cult following, spurring efforts to keep the series alive. The sequel, Darksiders II, is slated for release this summer and pre-order volume shows that it’s shaping up to be a blockbuster release.

The summer usually marks a dry spell for high-profile game releases. It’s the period of calm before the dreaded onslaught of fall releases that drain our bank accounts. Of the games that are being released this summer, Darksiders II looks to be among the best, and pre-order totals have exceeded everybody’s expectations. The numbers are so impressive that THQ is reporting that Darksiders II is now their second most pre-ordered game in the company’s history, second only to another THQ success story, Saint’s Row: The Third. The strong promotion of the game is one factor, as well as the “Season Pass” pre-order bonus that is being given away. This pass grants you the first three DLC expansions for free, which provides added value to those who order the game ahead of time.

For their part, THQ is optimistic about the success of Darksiders II, noting that it is now part of their core franchises. This means that the game will be supported through extensive marketing and post-game releases. The planned DLC expansions are scheduled to be released at 30-day intervals after Darksiders II launches, and the publisher promises that these will add a substantial amount of quality single-player content. The first expansion is called “Argul’s Tomb”, which is included with all pre-ordered copies of the full game, along with the Maker’s Armor and Scythe . The subsequent DLC packs will be released on a monthly basis after that.

Darksiders II is scheduled for release on August 21, 2012 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.