Teenage mutant ninja rodents
It’s no surprise that a racoon-ratthing would survive the apocalypse. What’s slightly more surprising is that they would mutate into a race of intelligent beings, learn martial arts, and then have to save the world from a second, even worse apocalypse. These guys can’t catch a break. Before you take charge of
Biomutant’s mutated rodent kung fu master, though, you first must choose what kind of fighter you want your hero to be. The choice is important— your stats will change depending on the height and weight of your character. Finding the right mix of damage, health and agility, as well as making your furry little guy (or gal) look completely badass, is important.
Once you’re ready, it’s time to save the world. And that world is huge, divided into five areas that you can visit in any order you like. It might look like a paradise waiting to be explored, but there’s a darkness hidden beneath the lush green grass.
“At the start of the game, there’s kind of an equilibrium,” explains Stefan Ljungqvist, founder and studio head of Experiment 101. “The Tree of Life that stands tall at the world’s center is struggling to survive, seeping death from its five gigantic roots that stretch out in all directions across the open world. There are huge creatures gnawing at the end of each root, slowly corrupting the Tree.”
So far, so RPG. But there’s more to this game than a simple ‘kill five bosses’ quest. Yes, you can choose to find these beasts in any order that you like, but you can also tackle them in a number of different ways. “You have a choice to seek out any of these five creatures at any time in the game and try to defeat them, or enter into a pact with one of them,” says Ljungqvist. “It’s up to you, and you can be sure your choice will have a big impact on the world and your personal end of the game.” But you don’t have to confront the creatures if you don’t fancy a fight. If you prefer, you can search the world for Nono— small spirit potatoes (yes, really) that can cure the roots, and give the Tree of Life the ability to take a stand against the creatures itself.
But it’s not just giant beasties and… um, smaller beasties that populate this ambitious game world. Tribes are living here too—at the start of the game, you’ll meet the Yin and Yang tribes. Each have a headquarters and outposts across the map. “If you choose to ally with and help a tribe, their Sifu [Master] will offer to teach you the tribe’s style (for example Chicken Kung Fu or Turtle Kung Fu) and eventually you’ll have a chance to earn the Tribe’s relic weapon…” teases Ljungqvist. He had us at Chicken Kung Fu, to be honest. Team up, and you can help one tribe conquer the other’s outposts, strengthening your chosen tribe and weakening the other. If enough outposts are defeated, the tribes will wage war, and you can be a part of the battle.
“The outcome of the battle will leave the strongest standing,” says Ljungqvist, “and the leader’s karma and your choices will have an impact
“Making your furry little guy look completely badass is important”
“We try to provide as much freedom as possible when it comes to weapon crafting”
on the fate of the losing tribe and their leader—which will also play a part in your ending.” Eventually, you’ll have a choice. Your chosen tribe can defeat, subdue or unite the others. Your choice, and the karma of the last leader standing, will also affect your ending.
We know what you’re thinking though. We’ve just strolled through that last paragraph, causally sprinkling the word ‘karma’ as if you know what the hell we’re talking about. Let us clear that up for you. Every choice you make in the world will change your level of karma, good or bad. At a basic level, dialogue choices may affect the quests, options and conversations you have. Your karma level will also affect how certain characters greet or talk about you.
“Essentially this also plays into your personal ending—there’s no right or wrong in this, it’s the way of the world, and the choices you make affect it,” says Ljungqvist. “Your choices will quite often take your karma into consideration, even on a conscience level.” He’s not being philosophical here, either—there is literally a ‘voice of conscience’ that will act as a guardian of what you think, feel or do.
This sounds like a game of serious scope, right? And that’s before we’ve even started talking about the character abilities, weapons and armor—this is an RPG after all. Experiment 101 has created a system that will incorporate two styles of mutation, as well as Bionic Enhancements, to power your character up. Add to that the customizable weapons and gear that will affect your stats (we’ll get to them in a minute) and you’ll understand that this isn’t some RPG pretender. This is the real deal.
The Bio-mutations, PSI-mutations, and Bionic Enhancements all have a major impact on how your character looks, as well as what they can do in battle. There are at least five types of each one, and each of these has five upgrade levels. If this is starting to sound confusing, don’t worry— Ljungqvist reassures us that the team has carefully considered each one. “We want to make sure that they all have a meaning in the game, and add something to your creative toolbox to enhance a certain style of play in combat or exploration of the world.”
Bio-mutations, such as a growth on your back that lets you deflect bullets, will have a visual impact on your character, but PSI-mutations will give you psychic powers, allowing you to shoot sparks from your claws, or use telekinesis to fling objects or enemies around like toys in the weirdest playroom ever. You can also ‘re-code’ your molecular structure at bio-pools, alternating your DNA to adjust your physical shape, size and basic attributes. So if you made a fat, neon-pink cat with green stripes at the start and immediately regretted it, you can remold your character into something less vomit-inducing.
Of course, having a cool character is pointless if they’re wielding a crooked stick and shouting ‘bang!’ instead of holding an actual gun. Thankfully, not only are there guns and melee weapons, customization options let you create your own lethal combinations.
“We try to provide as much freedom as possible when it comes to weapon crafting,” says Ljungqvist. “So for example, you’d be able to weld a concrete slab to a baseball bat and fit pieces of broken glass, a screwdriver and a module with bio-contaminated sludge to it, to make a crush-style melee weapon that makes the target vomit.” This is just one example, but we think it’s a damn good one. It’s the same deal for ranged weapons, too—there are different styles of gun, from shotgun to automatic rifle, as well as attachments and different ammo types that can freeze, ignite, or electrocute your enemies.
If there’s one thing we learned from our chat with Ljungqvist, it’s that the team at Experiment 101 aren’t messing about. Biomutant is an ambitious RPG with all the elements you’d expect from a triple-A title. Can it bring them together and create a game that’s truly unforgettable? Only time will tell, but things are shaping up well.
Main Equipping gear will give you different buffs and abilities. For example, you’ll need a gas mask and oxygen tank to enter the Dead Zone…