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BioMutant: The Next Big ARPG Hit?

by Lisa Hayden
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In a videogame industry currently dominated by AAA franchises, spin-offs, and microtransactions, a breath of originality is always welcome. Developed by Experiment 101 and published by THQ Nordic, Biomutant is an action RPG set in a uniquely diverse world and features mechanics that make it stand out from the competition.

This will be Experiment 101’s first ever game to be developed after being acquired by THQ Nordic. And, as far as the trailers are showing, it’s shaping up to be a rather memorable experience for those who would try it.

What is Biomutant?

Since this is a new IP, and an unreleased one at that, there isn’t much to go about. All that could be gathered from the story is that it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world. Holding this world together is a Tree of Life, which naturally gives life to every living creature. However, poisonous substances have infected almost all life.

biomutant release date

It is up to the player then, one of the few among the remaining sane tribes of Biomutants, to rid the world of the infection. Through their decisions made in-game, they may even find a way to restore the Tree of Life and save their world from total annihilation.

THQ Nordic has promised for Biomutant to be an immersive experience, with multiple branching paths and a story with several twists and turns—and that’s more than enough to pique the interest of gamers, especially ARPG enthusiasts.

Release Date

For some reason, the release date of Biomutant has been changed several times. First, it was to be released in the latter half of 2018. When the first deadline was near, that release date was pushed back to a vague “2019”.

When 2019 came, THQ Nordic promised that the game will be released in the summer. Also, leaks have shown that the publisher is setting up for the release to be on the 1st of July.

However, July has come and gone and Nordic has gone silent with Biomutant’s release date. There might be a few possible reasons as to why the publisher is pushing the game several release dates up.

Optimization

- As a new IP coming from a fairly untested developer, there’s still a lot that Biomutant has to prove. As such, many things could go wrong, which could make the game leave a rather negative first impression.

It’s quite understandable for publishers to hold back on releases until they’re completely satisfied with the pace (or polish) development-wise. After all, gamers have been none too pleased with the “release now, patch later” culture prevalent in many AAA game publishers right now.

Instead of releasing a broken game and promising to fix it later, perhaps THQ Nordic is pushing Experiment 101 to make Biomutant stick its landing. The less negative press an untested game generates, the more viable it is to build a franchise on.

biomutant rumours

Timing

- With the rather finite spending resources gamers have nowadays (despite what EA is implying via their emphasis on microtransactions), it’s highly possible that THQ Nordic is also finding the right timing for releasing the game.

Their safest bet would be fall, as this is when gamer activity peaks for the entire year. However, this also means that they would have to contend with the release of other AAA games.

While this seems to be a good enough reason for the delay, it’s the most unlikely to be true. Tech companies will, after all, soon start introducing new standards for video processors and data storage. If Biomutant is released a little bit too late, then it would be made on already obsolete tech which could affect its overall first impression.

However, it is still likely that THQ Nordic is just releasing the game before the year ends and where gamers are going to spend the most for their hobby.

Switch Compatibility

- Given THQ Nordic’s past record of supporting Nintendo’s Switch, it is also possible that they have delayed Biomutant in order to work on a Switch version.

The layout of Nintendo’s latest console is actually quite different from standard consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One. The ability to quickly change from console to portable device means that games on the Switch have to be reworked to include a seamless transition between the two modes.

And, developing a Switch port is something that has worked for other publishers who released their previous games there. Bethesda’s Doom 2016 is considered one of the best FPS games in Switch right now, along with Elder Scrolls: Skyrim which runs on an old engine.

If this is the primary reason for the delay, then it only means that Nordic is trying to make sure that Biomutant is readily available for all major consoles in the current generation.

Keep in mind that these reasons are purely speculation and might not reflect the true reason why Biomutant has been delayed. It’s up to THQ Nordic then to keep the hype alive for this game until it is finally released.

And on Experiment 101’s side, the delay just gives them an opportunity to polish their first ever IP to the best version it could possibly become.

What The Trailers Have Shown So Far

THQ Nordic has been aggressively marketing Biomutant in almost all major gaming conventions. It made its first public appearance on E3 2018 where gamers got to experience the game first-hand through a live demo. Further trailers have also shown the different aspects that people can expect from the game when it gets released.

As such, here are a few things that the game is set to feature as far as the demo and trailers are concerned:

An Open World

Biomutant’s world is designed for open gameplay. As such, every corner can be reached and every height can be scaled. Nordic has promised that the game will feature different tools and travel modes that will make traversing this world easier.

And, since this is a post-apocalyptic setting, gamers can expect for the environments to be rather diverse in ever zone. So far, the demo has shown zones that feature crumbling cities, lush forests, and decrepit industrial sites. Of course, there will be secret areas that only the most observant and skillful of players can discover.

The other areas of the world are yet to be shown but both Experiment 101 and THQ Nordic have promised that the title will feature vastly unique styles, which should keep the gameplay from going stale. The open world gameplay also lends well to Biomutant’s other major feature which is…….

Branching Story Paths

As far as narrative is concerned, Biomutant’s story is far from linear. As the representative of one of six major tribes, you are expected to fulfil multiple roles as the story progresses.

Would you uphold the objectives of your tribe? What alliances can you form along the way? Will you save the world you are in? All of these are decisions that players naturally make as they play through the world.

biomutant trailer

It also helps that each major story objective you choose can be achieved through different paths. For instance, if you opt to restore the dying Tree of Life, you can do so by attacking the monsters that are gnawing at its roots or you can gather special plants that can cure the infected areas of the tree.

If you choose to go to war with the other tribes, you can do so by directly attacking other tribesmen or one of their different outposts. As to be expected, every decision you make will result in consequences that will ultimately change the world.

It is this level of non-linear gameplay that will make every player’s experience in Biomutant virtually unique.

Tribal Politics

There are six different tribes of biomutants to choose from in the game. Three of these tribes are set to finding ways to cure the dying Tree of Life. The others, on the other hand, looking for ways to survive after the Tree’s seemingly imminent death.

The tribe that gamers choose will also affect their gameplay. Some tribes are proficient in close combat and martial arts, while others are more effective in ranged fighting. Naturally, there is a hierarchy of sorts in each tribe, with players rising through the ranks as they finish more missions and side quests.

Once you’ve reached certain positions of leadership in the game (or specifically, in your chosen tribe), more options are provided that will considerably affect how your tribe interacts with the other five. What’s interesting is that you can make alliances, declare war on hostile tribes, and even subdue them.

The choice that each player makes as the tribe leader, and the type of friends they make, will considerably affect the ending of Biomutants. As such, it is really up to the player what kind of story they want to deal with in the game. Whether it is a story of hope in restoring a dying world or a tale of conquering hardship after the apocalypse is something that players must choose as they play.

Characters and Enemies

Aside from the setting, the characters in Biomutants are as diverse as they are unique. Instead of the usual worn-out humans fighting to survive after the end of the world, Biomutant features anthropomorphic animals which have been altered by the Tree of Life.

biomutant leaks

Players can get to determine how their biomutant looks like, which could also affect gameplay. A biomutant with a lighter build might excel in fast-paced closed combat or long range attacks. On the other hand, a heavier biomutant can hit harder and can fulfill heavy assault roles.

Even superficial features in other games, like choosing between furs or scales in the skin, can alter how much damage your character can take in Biomutant.

There are also other characters found in the world that can help or hinder you. An old creature named Out-of-Date knows quite a lot about the Tree of Life, and helps players looking for a way to cure it. Other characters like Gizmo and Whiz Tinker-Tonker can also supply players with items and gadgets that will support their play style.

How each player relates to these characters will affect the progression of the story. Upon reaching a certain level of loyalty, these characters can provide players unique weapons and gadgets that open up more areas of the world as well as new ways to approach the game.

Combat and Gameplay

The combat in Biomutant is quite reliant on player choice. It’s essentially a mixture of long- and short-range fighting, with specific focuses on each. For long range players, each fight is a focus on ammo conservation as well as positioning. For close-range fighters, it is a contest of skill as they block, parry, dodge, and counter-attack.

Here’s something a bit more interesting: THQ Nordic and Experiment 101 promises that there will be roughly half a million unique weapons to find in the game’s world or assemble yourself. Each weapon can fall into several categories, which would make them effective to certain types of enemies yet ineffective on others.

biomutant 2019 beta

Augmenting gameplay even further is the ability “mutate” your character. By choosing to focus on certain attributes, the appearance of the player’s character will change to reflect that creature’s progression. As such, every player could end up with a biomutant that looks and plays different from others at the end of the game.

Final Thoughts

From the gameplay to the story, it is apparent that Experiment 101 is placing a strong focus on player agency with Biomutant. The ability to make your own decisions and have those decisions result in game-changing consequences does make it a rather interesting game to play through.

With that being said, it’s only a matter of time before THQ Nordic feels sufficiently confident with the product and finally be ready to release it on all major consoles. But, the builds as shown in the demos and trailers have proven that Biomutant is shaping up to be a rather interesting, if not thought-provoking, gaming experience.

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