Lee Petty, who is known for his work on the retro-futuristic Metroidvania gem Headlander and Elijah Wood headlined point-and-click adventure Broken Age spoke to us about Double Fine's upcoming 3D top-down roguelike Rad at PAX East just recently. In the lighthearted interview (as expected from a chat with a Double Fine project lead) we spoke about the vision for the game, the ever-mutating protagonist and the sacrifice one has to make when cleansing the wasteland one calls home.
"The game is set in a post-post-apocalyptic future, and in the game, you randomly mutate each time", said Petty, and continued, "Our trick was to really make the player have to play the game differently each time, that's kind of the joy we like about roguelikes, that unexpected drama. So when you're given a mutation it has a button, it has a use so you see it manifest on your character because we really wanted the character to go with this transformation too. When you use it it has an obvious use and maybe a couple of hidden uses. In one game you might be playing direct damage, shooting fireballs and in others, you might grow a tail out your backside that lays little eggs that make little babies that look like yourself, all sorts of crazy stuff".
When it comes to the mutations in Rad, the player isn't the only one experiencing growing anomalies either. "You can get weapons that you can combine with your mutations", Petty commented before explaining how the wasteland changes as you move through it.
"When your character is remade to absorb these toxins from the wasteland and mutate, they also kind of purify the world as you're walking through it and that means that you're leaving behind new grass and new growth, kind of like healing the wasteland as a by-product. It'll help you know where you've been in this overlapping world. You can grow new fruit out of your "happy trail" as we call it and you can use that fruit to heal yourself or plant things in town" Being able to cleanse the wasteland may seem swell, but there are consequences to embarking on such a journey: "when the world gets better, you become less human, so you get mutated and become weird and that's your sacrifice to fix the world".
It's clear to us that Rad isn't your typical rogue-like action game and this fact becomes even clearer when you realise how the game is built.
"We wanted to make our game (set) in the outdoors, not all inside small interior spaces so it's not a room by room procedural game, it's like a free-roaming landscape with elevation and hidden caves and other underground entrances and so we spent a lot of effort trying to make that feel like an actual place. That means our procedural levels are a little bit bigger and you have a little bit more navigation based gameplay"
Rad releases this summer for PC, PlayStation 4, Switch and Xbox one. Are you as excited as we are?