Today, Joar Jakobsson, artist and programmer at developer Videocult, took to the PlayStation Blog to provide more details about its upcoming game Rain World.
The blogpost starts off by providing a bit of an overview of the game, stating that Rain World is a dark, dank, and grimy industrial landscape that is crumbling under devastating rain, intense enough to crush the bones of any caught outside in it. In the game, you play as a little animal called a Slugcat, nimble and clever, but outgunned in terms of raw killing power when compared to virtually all the other beasts and critters inhabiting the dripping ruins all around you.
Jakobsson continues the post talking about the game’s unique living ecosystem:
With Rain World, we are doing quite a lot of things differently from the standards of video games. As much as a game, we’ve built a kind of living ecosystem simulation where creatures exist independently of the player and autonomously search throughout the world for food and shelter.
The slithering neon lizards you encounter have brutally dangerous claws and teeth, but are also individuals that can learn to recognize you. The mighty vultures swooping down from above are fierce hunters of both lizards and slugcats, but they’re not mindless machines — if you wrong one it may decide to track you specifically and you’ll never again be able to pass under open sky without an anxious eye upwards. The scruffy scavengers rooting through the garbage heaps are distrusting and dangerous, but save one from the jaws of a vulture and you might make a friend, or eventually even gain the trust of the entire pack.
The blogpost continues by emphasizing the fact that as a slugcat, you are no mighty hero. Instead you are an “insignificant inhabitant of a large and chaotic food chain.”
Often in games even the elements meant to hinder you are in some way pandering to you — they’re intended as obstacles for you to conquer. We wanted to create another experience, where the world and its inhabitants give you no special treatment. You as the protagonist don’t get an easier time than any other creature, but surprisingly a fearsome beast might pass you over because you’re just not the most delicious prey around!
According to the artist and programmer though, what slugcat does have to set it apart, is its wit. A crafty and clever critter, slugcat (you) will gain knowledge about how other creatures work such as their hunting habits and taste in prey. Thus, you can learn to trick, or even manage to play them against each other. By knowledge, Jakobsson is not referring to stat or equipment gains, but “the knowledge you accumulate that makes previously insurmountable obstacles possible to overcome.”
As mentioned above the game has a living and breathing ecosystem, so if you stay hidden for long enough, you will see this ecosystem come to life via scenes such as a mighty leviathan emerging from the deep to feed on scurrying tadpole fish, or rival lizards fighting over territory until one loses and leaves. Choosing the right moment to emerge or intervene, will often determine your ability to remain un-eaten.
Later in the post, Jakobsson brings up survival and exploration, calling them the main objectives for slugcat.
Survival and exploration are the main objectives for slugcat. However, as a backdrop to the struggle for survival lies the remnants of something larger — buildings and machines clearly constructed by someone more resourceful than the animals that now inhabit them. Slugcat is intelligent enough to harbor a suspicion that the rusting machines once had a purpose, but a full understanding is just out of reach. There are connections between the old metal, the peculiar symbols, the rain, the strange dreams, and the vast structures looming above.
The answers to these mysteries can be vaguely sensed, but pragmatism takes the day — first you must eat and avoid being eaten. But who knows, perhaps those who become true masters of survival can catch a glimpse of these larger schemes…
Being published by Adult Swim Games, Rain World is set to release for PS4, Mac, and PC sometime in 2017 at an unknown price point. It is personally among my most anticipated games for the year.
Below, you can watch the game’s latest trailer: