Splendid zombie apocalypse road trip action-RPG Death Road to Canada [official site] recently launched another hefty update, and another one is soon to follow. Friday's update was mostly systemic, introducing a new progression system to unlock perks, traits, and persistent bonuses. A magical gnome is involved. After this, developers Rocketcat Games have plans for a big content update bringing everything from hats to Swole Mountain. Friday's update did sneak in a little more content, mind, including new events and characters including a diddy kaiju and, ah, Bort ↑ up there.
Death Road's old perk upgrade system has been replaced with Zombo Points, which are earned by surviving siege and gauntlet events. Perks already unlocked in the old system will be converted, then this is the way forward now.
Why the change? Rocketcat say:
"We're hoping that people like the new unlock system! We partially did that to try to address some complaints with new players, without messing up what I wanted to do with the design. I want the game to appear more fair, though I also want the game to be one where you can die from eating a bee that flies into your mouth.
"The unlocks should add smaller, persistent goals for players to reach for. The new perks and traits you can get add more build options for your characters and teams, to deal with more situations. There's also a new trait where half your body can explode, turning you into a walking skeleton.
"I'm mostly happy with the difficulty from watching people play the game on streams. I can see people that get obliterated by the game at first. Then they get used to it, and the early game modes become trivial for them, with streak victories. The tricky part is making the game appear fair to new players, so they can get to this point before deciding the game is too RNG."
Full details on updated endings, events including the Strange Vending Machine and Giant Spider Ambush, Bort, Cloud Strife's weird twin, toilet upgrades, toilet genies, the magical Trader Gnome, and more are in the patch notes. That also talks about plans for future updates, starting with the one due on July 21st -- the game's first birthday -- codenamed 'Duodenum'.
That'll include new locations, weapons, characters, events, music, and maybe more.
"This anniversary update will also likely get unlockable cosmetic options," Rocketcat say. "New hats and other pieces to build characters with. We may also get to do the idea of new rare trading camps, like the Ren Faire and Swole Mountain."
Yes please to the post-apocalyptic Renaissance faire.
Death Road to Canada is my favourite of recent games inspired by The Oregon Trail, building that basic model of travel and resource management into an action-RPG with a flair for the weird and funny. Graham has written a bit about his time on the death road to Canada.