For this piece, we looked at the tricky position RNG holds when it comes to success and failure in games.
Procedural and random generation are the cornerstones of rogue-like design, and we have seen many games push these elements further than they have ever been. This past year with Dead Cells, and games like The Binding of Isaac, Spelunky, and of course Dwarf Fortress, all provide replayability thanks to those elements.
One game design trap I see is developers trying to build a “Zelda Rogue-Like” experience, and while this may sound like the next evolution of procedural design, it just doesn’t work from a game design perspective.
Thunder Lotus is a studio that knows how to impress from an aesthetics point of view. Their previous game Jotun was beautiful to look at, but did not wow in terms of gameplay. With Sundered, the developers go further in terms of game design with a metroidvania rogue-like mixed with Lovecraft. Unfortunately, questionable design decisions waste any good will that the game’s beautiful aesthetics earn.
For this week’s cast, I sat down with two members of the studio Spawn Point OSK who just released the early access title Gerty to talk about rogue-like design.