Mutation is an under-explored idea in games, isn't it? I know I'm inviting a flood of comments about games that do play with the idea. Those are all welcome - yup, The Binding of Issac and Nuclear Throne are both fab - but I'm struggling to think of anything that's dealt with the long term consequences of physically evolving a body in different and potentially unwanted directions.
Or else I would be struggling if I wasn't about to tell you about Din's Legacy, a freshly announced action RPG from Soldak Entertainment. As the name suggests, this is a followup to Din's Curse, an RPG with a dynamic quest system that Quinns sung the praises of back in 2011. It's also a followup to Zombasite, which saw the same fantasy world get afflicted by a zombie apocalypse. More details await below, but I'll tell you now: time has not been kind to the orcs.
First of all, you need to know about the orc schism. This actually happened in some DLC for Zombasite: "During the Orc Schism, the entire Orc race was violently split into Dark Orcs, Zombielords, and the Mutated. The Mutated are tainted with Orc blood, a zombie parasite, and necromancer magic."
That sounds unpleasant enough without worrying about being judged for having an unstable physiology, though it sounds like that might actually be their main problem: "This makes people seriously mistrust and even fear them. The fact that they slowly mutate over time makes it even worse. Who is going to trust you when you grow horns overnight?"
I would, orc friends. I would.
Here are the features featured on Soldak's website::
- Experience your character mutating over time for good and bad
- Guide your character's evolution (choosing/improving skills, suppressing unwanted mutations, etc)
- Use mutation points to mutate your character towards another character or sub-class
- Uniquely created worlds for every game, with different scenario, win/lose conditions, areas, monsters, items, and quests, give the player a new experience every time
- Explore a dynamic, evolving, living world
- Your choices truly impact the game
- Co-op multiplayer to adventure with friends
The non-mutation related points on that list are scrawled over Din's Curse too, which sounds fascinating but I can't bring myself to play a game from 2010 that reminds me too strongly of Runescape's blobby character art. Adam liked it too though, so maybe I should swallow my distaste and give it a go anyway.
Oh, and in case you're wondering who this Din chap is, he's a "trickster god" who got intrigued by the Mutated's "chaotic mutations and burning desire to prove themselves to the world", and offered to keep bringing volunteers back from the dead so long as they try "to save the world wherever Din sends them". I'm generally happy for games to hand-wave away (or completely ignore) gamey mechanics that don't really make sense, but I still appreciate it when stuff like that gets folded into the story.
The devs are "planning on some kind of Early Access in the near future", and aim to release Din's Legacy for realsies near the end of 2018.