Action RPGs are among one of the most popular genres in gaming today, which mostly stems from their ability to keep players engaged with a constant stream of challenges to overcome and milestones to reach. From The Witcher 3 to Hyper Light Drifter, games in this category have a tendency of fusing together elements from other genres in order to craft unique experiences and tell new stories.
Swedish developer Experiment 101 seems to have this same goal in mind when it comes to Biomutant, the studio’s first project since being acquired by publisher THQ Nordic in 2017. Co-founded by Stefan Ljungqvist, a former studio art director and game director at Avalanche Studios and best known for his work on both Mad Max and the Just Cause series, the studio has ambitious goals for Biomutant and hasn’t been too shy to share details during the game’s development.
So we’re here to discuss everything that’s currently known about the upcoming game as well as some popular rumors. Make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this story in the future once more information is revealed.
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Biomutant Release Date
The game’s release window has shifted a couple times, with each time bringing us closer and closer to a solid date. First it was 2018, then 2019, then ‘Summer 2019’, and now with a potential leak, it seems like Biomutant may launch sometime in July this year. This would be a good time to put out the game as it won’t have to compete with many of the bigger AAA titles that usually release later in the Fall.
As of right now, we know Biomutant will be available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, possibly as a timed exclusive on the Epic Games Store, which has been the case for a handful of new releases like Metro: Exodus and The Division 2 . There are also rumors that a Switch version may be in the works given THQ Nordic’s track record for supporting the Nintendo console.
Biomutant is set in an environmentally diverse world that’s on the verge of a potential apocalypse after the Tree of Life, the source for all living creations, becomes infected by poisonous oil that’s leaking upwards from the ground. Six tribes of creatures are formed, with three hoping to find a way to save the tree and the other three searching for means of survival following the tree’s imminent demise.
It’ll be up to the player to decide which path their story takes by carefully choosing which side to align themselves with over the course of the game. Their decisions will ultimately determine whether The Tree of Life is able to recover and restore the world to what it once was, or fade away and die, bringing along the end times.
Going beyond basic ‘good vs. evil’ binary decision-making that we commonly see in games, Experiment 101 plans to give the player more than one way to reach a potential outcome no matter which side they choose. For instance, if you choose to save the Tree of Life, there are multiple ways to achieve that goal, such as defeating creatures that are gnawing on the tree’s infected roots or collecting special potatoes that can cure the roots completely.
In an interview with IGN, Experiment 101 co-founder Ljungqvist had this to say, “The world will change with your actions; the team’s goal is to create an interesting and interactive experience. As an open-world RPG, exploration, discovery and interesting characters are all big parts of the game.”
Biomutant’s promise to offer players flexibility in how they choose to play is most evident by the way the game’s tribes plan to alter the experience. The game is heavily influenced by Kung Fu and Asian Mythology and has each tribe, three Yin and three Yang, specializing in a certain fighting style that the players can learn only after they’ve proven their loyalty. To do so, players will need to help claim outposts and wage war against the other tribes.
Regarding the tribe system, this is what Ljungqvist had to say, “It is up to the player to choose how to interact with each tribe. Eventually, you have the choice to help one tribe defeat, subdue or unite the others. That choice, the karma of the last leader standing and your karma, will also affect your ending. So it’s really up to you as a player how to approach the end-goal.”
Aside from the six tribes players can align with, Biomutant is home to a cast of diverse creatures that specialize in different fields and can aid you on your quest to either saving or destroying the world. Some that we already know about include an inventor named Whiz Tinker-Tonker, a mechanic named Gizmo the grease monkey, and a wheelchair-bound one-legged creature called Out-of-Date that seems to know more about the Tree of Life than anyone else.
These characters will play a major role in game progression, with some of them having exclusive access to weapons and equipment necessary for reaching new areas in the world.
Continuing its emphasis on player-freedom is Biomutant’s deep customization system, which allows for players to alter different parts of their character’s physical appearance, including gender, height, fur type, fur color, fangs, etc.
A majority of these variables will have an impact on the character’s abilities, i.e. thicker fur absorbs more damage at the cost of slow movement speed. There will also be opportunities to alter your genetic code even further as you progress through the game, gaining access to new augmentations like a spiked-tail, extended claws, or mechanical wings that allow you to glide.
The game leans heavily into its Kung Fu influence when it comes to combat, utilizing a mix of both close quarters and long range attacks. Throughout the game, players will accumulate an array of parts that can be crafted into different variations of the same weapon type, adding elemental damage and other perks. There are a rumored 500,000+ possible weapon combinations in the game that include swords, shotguns, pistols, bows, bats, and many more.
Remarking on the game’s combat options, Ljungqvist explains, “The aim is to provide as much freedom and as many options as possible when it comes to weapon crafting, both in terms of the “types” of weapons you can craft – a two-handed, single handed or dual-wielding weapon – and its style, such as a slashing, crushing or piercing.”
“The same goes for ranged weapons. You assemble a two-handed, single-handed or dual-wielding weapon where the body part determines the “style” of shooting – shotgun, spray, revolver, handgun, automatic, semi-automatic etc. You then choose handle, muzzle, mag/clip type and size, and mount add-ons to it, like scopes and modules such as frost, incendiary, electric, radioactive etc.”
For hand-to-hand combat, Biomutant features an array of fighting styles that are based off of specific animals, i.e. ‘Chicken-Fu’ or ‘Turtle-Fu’, which are learned from tribe leaders after proving your loyalty to that tribe.
Although a majority of the game revolves around you exploring Biomutant’s world by foot, there are some other known methods of traversal that we’ve seen in trailers and gameplay footage. One of these is a giant bubble of mucus that you can entrap your character in and use to bounce over environmental hazards like pools of toxic sludge. Additionally, the bubble is quite sticky and can pick up smaller enemies during combat, at which point you can pop the bubble and send them flying.
Other vehicles that seem like they may have more limited use are a hot-air balloon, a jet ski, and a mech suit. It’s rumored that many of these will only be made available later in the game and allow you to reach areas that were previously inaccessible.
The Final Word
Creating and releasing a new IP can be one of the most daunting tasks for a new studio like Experiment 101. While a portion of its team have a background in creating huge AAA games, Biomutant seems like an entirely unique and ambitious creative endeavor. The thought of having a personalized story that’s different for each player seems like an incredible undertaking for any developer, even one that’s backed by a publisher as big as THQ Nordic.
We’ve seen a lot of games make claims of offering player-freedom at every turn, but how many have truly delivered? It seems like all we can do is wait and see how Experiment 101’s ideas come to fruition. For now, stay on the lookout for more news as Biomutant Kung Fu hustles closer and closer to release.
If you’re a fan of action RPGs, check out our list for the Best RPGs to Play In 2020 for some great game recommendations.