In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor has been released, which means there must be some kind of emergency. Perhaps the title of the game is a commentary on the situation of creators Arcen, who have been making inventive, weird strategy games for years, and found themselves in financial troubles earlier this year. Upsetting news, because not only were Arcen’s games great, their longevity as a company seemed like evidence that such an unusual portfolio could sustain a studio.
Raptor may or may not be the solution. It’s in Early Access now and it looks as odd as the title suggests.
As a long-time Arcen fan, I’ll admit that the prospect of a 3d game (the studio’s first!) that had a wacky title filled me with concern. If a Goat Simulator kinda thing would pay the bills, so be it, but it might well end up being the first Arcen game that didn’t even appeal to me as a curiosity. While there is certainly some zaniness in Raptor – it’s dinosaurs versus robots, after all – Arcen’s games have often been a little silly, and this isn’t a deep dive into nonsensical interactions for their own sake. There are rules rather than pop culture references.
Levels are stitched together procedurally, using handcrafted parts, and you lunge through them, raptoring robots into pieces. That’s pretty much the whole thing at the moment, though new modes are coming as the game prowls through Early Access. There’s a target to reach, once three stages have been completed, but there’s no persistence between playthroughs. Just the joy of raptoring robots. Arcen promise more robots and environments to go with the new modes, and their approach to Early Access has been shaped by their experiences with previous non-EA releases:
Our goal is to make sure that, no matter when you buy this game, it’s an appropriate value for your money right away. Based on that, our intent is to develop out increasing numbers of features, increasing amounts of content, and so forth so long as there is player support for that.
We’ve made the mistake of misjudging the market in the past (with awesome but obscure games like Starward Rogue that we poured money into making huge), and we want to make sure that the experience that we’re delivering is something that makes sense to people — is this something that people are going to see as a bite-sized game that they only want so much of? We’ll take the hint. Or is this something that they see themselves sinking tons of time into, where we just can’t get content out fast enough. We sure hope that’s the case!
Godspeed, furious raptor.
If you’re interested in what Arcen made previously, here’s my recommendations, with links to reviews or other articles: