Thanks to a relatively unknown team, an ambitious new IP, and an attention-grabbing initial showing, the circumstances surrounding Biomutant conjure echoes of 2012 and the hype that surrounded Arkane Studios’s breakout hit Dishonored.
What is Biomutant?
However, Experiment 101’s debut project shares little else with the acclaimed stealth hit. To begin with, Biomutant is a post-apocalyptic open-world RPG, featuring a lurid colour palette and curious sense of humour.
The game casts players as an anthropomorphised feliformic creature who embarks on a quest to save the Tree of Life from both poison and an array of enemies who are destroying its roots. Given this premise, the presence of environmental themes seems almost guaranteed, but they should take a backseat to engaging gameplay.
Biomutant was introduced to the world as a “kung-fu fable,” and one of the focal points in the development process was reportedly the efforts made to balance melee and long-range combat. Complicating matters further are special abilities and the fact that players are able to fully customise the skills of their avatar by altering its appearance. For example, heavier characters will be more resistant to damage, while mechanical legs or wings will allow the user to reach otherwise inaccessible areas.
While the Swedish development team has not previously released a game, Experiment 101 is made up, at least in part, of individuals formerly from Avalanche Studios (Just Cause series, Mad Max), ensuring a strong pedigree in open-world game design. Notably, the studio’s Co-Founder and the game’s Director Stefan Ljungqvist was Avalanche’s Studio Creative Director for both Mad Max and Just Cause 3 throughout 2013.
Why are we excited?
With titles such as Darksiders III and ELEX to its credit, the game’s publisher, THQ Nordic, has, so far, made a noble effort (alongside Focus Home Entertainment) in reviving the AA sector, and Biomutant seems likely to contribute further to this goal. Come the cusp of 2020, the chances of Biomutant being remembered as a treasure of the year seem slim, but it is almost certain to be one of the most interesting.
The vibrant colour scheme is reminiscent of some of the most memorable apocalypses throughout gaming history—including the likes of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and The Last of Us—while the character design bears similarities to the cutesy action-platformers that dominated the PlayStation 2 era.
However, the in-depth customisation marks Biomutant out as being very much a product of the modern age, promising to exceed even The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in the amount of player agency it offers. If the development team is able to make good on this promise, the game could well become the basis for a long-lived franchise.
One other standout feature is the narration. Although some commentators have taken issue with the intrusiveness of the voice that will accompany the player throughout their journey, the playful narrator is reminiscent of Stephen Fry’s contributions to LittleBigPlanet. The voice seems delightfully ignorant about the remnants of human society, as well as providing all sorts of ridiculous names for the myriad enemies that populate the world.
These traits ensure that Biomutant stands out among the crowd of plodding, po-faced adventures that comprise the bulk of big-name releases across 2019.
When can we play it?
As yet, Biomutant has no confirmed release date, though it is scheduled to launch some time around the middle of the year. The title will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Has Biomutant managed to tickle your fancy, or are you keen on some other boisterous AA game coming out this year? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to come back tomorrow to find out what upcoming remake has us salivating.