Too soon? Last week’s announcement that The Culling 2 was in development came as a bit of a surprise, not least because the first game only left early access last October, before being left fallow a couple of months later. Though it grew popular in the pre-Plunkbat early access killing fields, the players drifted off, leaving the finished product bereft of contestants.
Developer Xaviant argues that it’s not too soon, however, because two years have passed since The Culling first hit early access back in 2016 - something that proved to be a process that didn't work out at all well for them. Which is why The Culling 2 will not be going down the same path.
"On the PC, the vast bulk of our audience really only played during the first few months after we launched in Early Access in March of 2016,” director of operations Josh Van Veld told PC Gamer. “We did dozens of patches and content updates after that, but we never saw our sales or player numbers return after the initial boom died down. To be honest, apart from a passionate core audience, the majority of PC players haven’t seen or thought about The Culling in two years. That’s a healthy timeline for a sequel to roll around."
Its inability to keep players murdering each other doesn’t really scream ‘sequel material’, but Van Veld thinks that their mistake was releasing it early and trying to develop a competitive multiplayer game while it was live.
“Before the game is shown to the public, a developer is free to recklessly experiment, introduce bugs, and generally make a lot of mistakes. Once people have paid you for a game, it now belongs to them. It’s a big responsibility and in retrospect I think we initially failed to appreciate how big changes could be disruptive for a live game, Early Access or not."
There will be no early access for The Culling 2, then.
While the original game focused on melee, traps and makeshift weapons, leaked assets from the sequel suggest more conventional gear, bringing it closer to the likes of Plunkbat. On the surface it seems like a terrible idea, since there are plenty of PUBG-likes already, and The Culling had an actual hook all of its own. A list of assets doesn’t tell the whole story, however.
"The direction we chose to take with The Culling 2 is to embrace what the genre has evolved into over the last couple of years, while preserving the core and spirit of The Culling,” said Van Veld. “First and foremost is melee combat. While The Culling 2 now features a full suite of ballistically-accurate firearms, our robust melee combat system remains intact and is more deadly than ever. Combined with specific Perks (another system we’re bringing back from the original game) and a more intimate Battle Royale setting, it is possible to build yourself as a fast, silent assassin capable of taking out gun-toting opponents."
No release date has been announced yet.