To play Viscera Cleanup Detail is to be an enemy of environmental storytelling. It’s a spacejanitor simulator where we sweep into levels and sweep away all the bodies, burns, blood, bullet holes, detritus, and alien goo that paints a clear picture of a terrible sci-fi incident. Once we’re done, no one will ever know what will happened. (Well, unless we end up accidentally making even more mess.) Perhaps we’re an agent of exposition, creating a blank slate so our dark masters can snare the next schmo with lengthy cutscenes. Whoever our spacejanitors are, thanks to another free update we can now enjoy a new level introducing something new to clear away: expository graffiti.
An environmental storytelling enthusiast might be excited that the new map, named Uprinsing, appears to show tensions boiling over between spacejanitors and robots. They might relish the opportunity to pick through spacejanitor corpses and fried bot frames, collect protest signs, read protest graffiti, and pore over hints of the prophesied janitorial saviour Bob.
To us serious spacejanitors, all this is simply mess to clean away. Burn the bodies, collect the bullet casings, mop up the blood, buff out the bullet holes, and clean that graffiti. While we can scrub the scrawling and pictures away, it’s a lot quicker to grab a vial of acid and smash it against the wall, eating the exposition. All this while trying to avoid tracking bloody footprints around, spilling buckets, setting rooms on fire…
If you haven’t played Viscera Cleanup Detail, let me assure you: this really is what the game is about, and it’s great. Pip and I chatted about cooperative cleaning a while back, and to me multiplayer is certainly still the best way to play. Alex Wiltshire also had a look at what makes this physics-driven comedy of errors really sing.
Oh, speaking of: the update introducing this level also added an option to improve the physics accuracy, trading performance for the benefit of fewer objects in bins and buckets freaking out and causing terrible accidents as they collide and clatter. I’ve blamed those bin physics for a great many accidents that were definitely my fault, so I’m not sure what I’ll do now. Blame it on the Big Banger, maybe.
What else have developers RuneStorm been working on? Other projects, they say, but they can’t tell us. The explained in the update notes:
“One major project we hoped to reveal, as it’s seen a lot of attention, won’t be happening just yet. This is because we’ve been pursuing multiple things, and at this point, we’ve got a number of interesting projects being explored, so we cannot say which will be chosen in the end.
“This is good though, because it’ll allow us to settle on something we feel is both really interesting and can also be done right.
“We really jumped head-first into VCD, which worked out great, but also left us with a number of obstacles we either never fully overcame or had to play catch-up with (networking, I’m looking at you!). We hope to make things a little smoother on the next project.”
I would entirely understand if they wish to make something other than Viscera Cleanup Detail. At the same time, I wouldn’t say no to a sequel on firmer foundations either.
Ta to co-op cleaning pal Dan for pointing this out.