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Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy to explore the surface next year

Another reveal during E3’s PC Gaming Show, Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy is sequel to one of my favourite action-roguelikes of all time. The original Unexplored was purely limited to subterranean dungeons, but the sequel is expanding the action out into the wider world, and assembling adventures that span multiple generations, hence the ‘legacy’ part of the title. The sequel has a completely new look, upgrading from minimalist 2D to sharply shaded top-down 3D. It’s out next year, and developers Ludomotion are running a Fig crowdfunding campaign with a demo for backers, though it’ll still get made even if it’s not fully funded. Below, the debut trailer.

The original Unexplored was probably the closest I’ve seen to a real-time dungeon crawler capturing the spirit of heavyweight number-crunching roguelikes. Unexplored’s dungeon’s ecology was every bit as important as the loot you’re hoarding. Foliage is flammable and provides cover, animals and monsters have survival instincts, and dungeons are generated around core puzzles and narratives. Cracked walls needing explosives to break? The quest hints may nudge you towards an enchanted bow that fires arrows with explosive force, the prized possession of an orc warlord. Despite being procedurally generated, it managed to feel like authored adventures.

For the sequel, Ludomotion hope to retain that feeling that you’re playing through a story, filled with intelligent creatures in your path. Aside from the more linear overland progression, one of the key changes over the original is the Legacy system, giving the game more of a sense of long-term progression. When you start a new character, you can choose to either generate a new world, or continue exploring the one you previously died in, after the passage of time.

Choices made during one character’s story may have effects on future ones. Killing a pack of wolves with one may allow a village to grow for another to encounter. It isn’t always an advantage, either, as a conquering empire will increase their power with each passing character, increasing difficulty, even if you know the safe routes. It’s an interesting concept that goes beyond Rogue Legacy of Void Bastards style ‘roguelite’ design. I’m excited to see if they can pull it off. Considering that it’s a sequel to one of the smartest games in its genre, I’ve got high hopes.

Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy launches 2020, although those who back the Fig campaign for $25 get a full copy when it’s finished, and immediate pre-alpha access, plus new builds as development progresses. You can also find the game on Steam here. It’s published by Big Sugar.

See our E3 2019 tag for more news, previews, opinions, and increasingly surreal liveblogs.

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