Ooh, you don't see many spin-offs these days. Oh, right, Better Call Saul. Well, not in games. Oh, right, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. Look, OK, c'mon, just go with me here. It's pretty unusual for a game series to divert into a spin-off rather than climb aboard the sequel treadmill. Side-on buildy/survival hit Terraria is doing just that however, with an RPG-inclined follow-up known Terraria: Otherworld. It's set in an "alternate dimension" to Terraria prime and everything. Take a look below.
That does and doesn't look like Terraria. Hard to say how it's going to work in practice, but even harder to say that it won't be enormously popular. Here's the official description of what's going on:
Set in an alternate dimension within the Terraria universe, Terraria: Otherworld places the player in a life-and-death struggle to restore a once-pristine world – now overrun by a malevolent force that has corrupted nature itself – to its original splendor. Along with a rag-tag band of survivors, will you be able to successfully harness the power of an array of weaponry, magic, defenses, and even the world itself to thwart the designs of this unseen evil?
Combining the experience of sandbox gameplay with role-playing and strategy elements, Terraria: Otherworld explores the Terraria experience in an innovative and unique way - providing a fresh approach to the “open world” genre.
It vaguely puts me in mind of what Amplitude are up to with the 'Endless' series - using shared aesthetic and thematic sensibilities to explore all sorts of different things. In theory that's far more fun than a straight sequel.
There's no release date, but it's confirmed as a PC and Mac game. We should find out more around about GDC O'clock next month. Meantime, Otherworld has a minimal website and a sub-forum full of people asking very specific questions over here.