By: Nick Lehner
-January 4, 2020- 1:00 am EDT-
Breaking Down Biomutant
Unraveling the Kung-Fu RPG
Described as an open world “kung-fu fable” action RPG, Biomutant captured gamers attention when it was revealed in 2017. A launch date was then slated for the following summer with anticipation building all the while. Segway then to January of 2020. THQ Nordic is no stranger to delays; Metro Exodus being delayed till the spring of 2019 as the most prominent example. Regardless of that familiarity, a year and a half after Biomutant’s supposed release Experiment 101 is finally getting closer to debuting Biomutant. So, with that in mind, let’s unravel the mystery of one of the most intriguing RPG’s coming to consoles.
The Tree of Life is dying, its five roots are bleeding out death as evil creatures called World Eaters devour them. The six tribes are divided as the apocalypse unfolds around them; what happens now is up to you. Make enemies or forge alliances, in Biomutant each choice, impacts a karma scale resembling those in Fable. This will then affect how NPC’s view and react to you. Kill the World Eaters to ensure the worlds survival, unite the tribes once more, or bring it all down.
Your choices significantly influence the world you explore, and in true RPG fashion everything is in your control. Each area you go to poses different challenges and different threats. Biomutant is a delightfully over the top story driven experience saturated with cartoony aspects and colors. The post-apocalyptic 3rd person RPG resembles the Kung Fu Panda meets Fable mosh up we didn’t know we needed.
The character & their Automaton
In Biomutant customization is a major focus point for developers. Character creation and development sat center stage in this regard. Each player can customize their anthropomorphic racoons genetic code. This includes strength, vitality, intellect, agility, and luck. Players can take things even further with bionic mutations affecting physical attributes, (spiked tails, mantis claws, ect.) as well as psionic mutations altering their DNA and giving them abilities such as levitation and telekinesis. Not happy with your genetic code? No worries, you can change it at any biohazard pool within the open world.
Then comes your characters Automaton. Not a lot is known about the scrap metal side kick. In gameplay videos the bejeweled cricket is all but absent, and in interviews developers have never touched on Automaton’s purpose within the game. The only facts known are that some NPC’s within the game can craft (and presumably upgrade) automatons. Automoton could be used as a scout like Ikaros in Assassins Creed Odyssey, or possibly play a much larger roll along the lines of Claptrap from Borderlands.
Weapons & Combat Style in game
Weapon crafting in Biomutant is taken up a notch compared to your average RPG. Developers boast over half a million combinations that can be crafted. Whether you prefer melee weapons, revolvers, rifles, or something more unique you can craft it in Biomutant. Crafting then goes a step further allowing players even more options. Add physical modifications such as chainsaws, cork screws, bio contaminated sludge, or radio-active material.
The best part of the weapons in Biomutant? No hunting and hording ammo, guns use a cool down mechanic in Biomutant to allow the player full immersion on the task at hand. That leads us to the combat style of the game. In a recent interview at Gamescon 2019, Head of Studio at Experiment 101 Stefan Ljungqvist described the combat style as something close to Batman Arkham and Devil May Cry. Developers goal was to create free-flowing gameplay that allows players to utilize their given playstyle with as much creativity as possible.
The world of Biomutant
Biomutant allows players to explore the world around them, but just how big is that world? In an interview during Gamescon 2018 head of studio Stefan Ljungqvist specified the maps exact size as eight kilometers by 8 kilometers, not including the height and depth of the mountains and bunkers within. Players face a diverse landscape of seven different areas to explore. Each with different modes of transportation, unique enemies, and environmental challenges.
Bio-contaminated wastes and radioactive bunkers require players to craft and dress accordingly to survive the elements. Explore the world using a goop (water-ski) to cross open water, or a Puff Blimp (air balloon) to get to the high mountain tops. Finally, the world will experience seasons. Going to an area in the Spring and then revisiting that same area in the Winter will leave you with an entirely different set of challenges to overcome.
Release & Platforms
After two years of delays when will gamers get their hands on Biomutant? Experiment 101 is a small development team consisting of about 20 people. Regardless, Stefan Ljungvist has emphasized the quality of his crew. During a 2019 interview at Gamescon he touched on a few key questions. When asked about where the game was in development, “It’s more refining features that we have, because we have a lot.”
When asked about a launch date, “We haven’t announced a final date, we have set a time span before, but we want to be sure that once we set the date, that’s the date we’re going to hit….we aren’t going to ship this game until we know it is stable and nice”. Biomutant will most likely launch in the first or second quarter of 2020. It will release on Xbox One, Plyastation 4, and rumors out of EB Games in Canada suggest it will also be released for Nintendo Switch as well.