Since its reveal at Gamescom 2017, BioMutant quickly picked up a buzz on the back of its gorgeous looks, original game world and bizarre twists on the open-world RPG. After all, it’s not just every game that lets you play a mutated rodent riding a mechanical hand that fires rockets by making a finger-gun shape. Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming debut Experiment 101, comprised of many former Just Cause developers.
This is an apocalyptic world, but it doesn’t bear much resemblance to its contemporaries. All life in the world is threatened when a poisonous oil starts leaking upwards from somewhere under the planet’s core. This is especially bad news, because it’s infecting the Tree of Life, whose five roots give life to literally every being in the world. Six tribes are at odds as to what to do about their impending doom - three factions want to save the tree, and another three think they can devise a way of survival without it. It’s up to you to influence those tribes with your actions in the world to decide BioMutant’s narrative arc. The Tree of Life might recover and flourish, breathing new life into the world - or it might wither and die, hastening the end times. A happy ending certainly isn’t a sure bet in this game.
There’s a deep customisation element baked into BioMutant, as its name suggests. At the beginning of the game the player can adjust their gender, height, fangs, fur type and other variables, each having a knock-on effect on the character’s abilities. A bigger critter with thick fur is able to soak up more damage, but they can’t move as lithely as slimmer builds. Tiny beings with big fangs might have an acrobatic advantage, but will struggle in combat against lumbering foes. As the game progresses, opportunities arrive to remix your genetic code a bit (read: a lot), and add barbed tails, mantis-like claws, or even robotic wings to your character. However you originally devised them, your avatar might look considerably different by the game’s end. Growing a tail will do that, we’ve heard.
Drawing heavy inspiration from kung fu, BioMutant melds slick melee combat with ranged weapons. By collecting weapon parts throughout the game, players can create their own weapons and use Affixes such as cryogenic and electrical parts to deal varying damage types. Since you’re able to swap weapon types on the fly, you can even stack damage types for better effect - freezing someone in place before unleashing a high-powered attack, for example. Your melee kung-fu styles are - stay with us for this - governed by particular animal fighting styles, eg ‘Chicken-fu’ which mirror their namesake’s movements in varying disciplines . By levelling up and interacting with other characters in the world, you’ll learn new combat moves and gain new skills and fighting styles. New body parts and vehicles also offer up fresh fighting options - those mantis claws are pretty handy when things get tasty.
The open world is traversable on foot, but other modes of transport such as a hot air balloon, jet ski, and a mech, are available. Often these new vehicles unlock previously inaccessible parts of the map in the process of adding some style to your journey.
A robust crafting system allows the creation of thousands of weapon and item variations, many of which serve a purpose beyond simply hurting the bad guys. You can make a bow whose arrows provide climbing points and then grab onto it in mid-flight, careering towards your climbing surface. Or simply use a grappling hook or hang glider to get up there. In total, over 500,000 weapon combinations are possible when you factor in all the different collectible parts.
BioMutant has an as yet unspecified 2018 release date, although it’s public knowledge that development began in summer 2015 just after Experiment 101 was founded by former Avalanche developers (of Just Cause fame). That means… carry the one… square it by the number of years.... No, it’s still an unspecified 2018 release for the moment. Stay tuned for further announcements.