After the development of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena along with eight other games in development had been dropped on July 29, 2008, StarBreeze Studios confirmed on September 24, 2008 that The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena was nearing its completion, with Atari announcing in October 2008 that they would be publishing the game. The game was subsequently released on April 7, 2009 to North America and April 24, 2009 to Europe under the genres of first person, action-adventure and stealth, with an ESRB rating of M for Mature. It was developed by Starbreeze Studios in collaboration with Tigon Studios for the Xbox 360 platform. The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena was supposedly developed as a remake because Microsoft could not make the Xbox 360 backward compatible with Escape from Butcher Bay in an attempt to get the Escape story to a larger audience before progressing further. It is said that the graphics have been improved with the addition of a multiplayer mode as well as an expanded version of the single player mode to include Riddick escaping onto a mercenary ship called Dark Athena. The voice and likeness of the title character belong to Vin Diesel who was also involved in the production of Assault on Dark Athena.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is made out of several disparate components of varying quality, making it difficult for players to come to grips with such a release. The main attraction of the game is the slick retooling of 2004’s Escape from the Butcher Bay which holds up beautifully, exquisitely building tension before settling into a satisfying, smouldering pace. Not only that, the other single-player component offered is the sequel to Butcher Bay, Dark Athena. When compared to its predecessor, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is positively limp, monotonously falling into a rut of predictability that the original always avoided. To add to the inconsistent puzzle, there is also an interesting but uneven suit of multiplayer modes that is mildly fun in spurts but too awkward to standout. In terms of the Butcher Bay, it has been freshened up a bit and looks surprisingly spiffy on a high-definition display, showing its age as the stiff character models move awkwardly and exhibit scant expression, as well as the low-definition textures which betray the graphic engine’s last-generation roots. However, the remade original impressively still stands tall, partially because few games have tried to duplicate its blueprint. Not only is that, the numerous gameplay elements are also well balanced. In the game, players play as the gruff criminal Richard B. Riddick whose main goal is to break out of Butcher Bay, the intergalactic equivalent of Alcatraz; a menacing, unforgiving and nearly inescapable prison. In order to do so, Riddick will require a quiet command of multiple talents, and correspondingly, a number of different gameplay devices to guide him out.
“The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is a difficult game to judge. The first half of the game, Escape from Butcher Bay, certainly shows its age, but is still an innovative game. The sequel, however, comes off as a poor imitation. It’s far more frustrating and seems more shooter than anything else. It’s not a terrible game for a sequel, but it’s inferior to Butcher Bay. If you played the original back in 2004, then there’s little reason to pick this game up. However, if you never played Riddick’s first adventure it (and its modest follow-up) are worth checking out.” (IGN, 2009)