Of all the things I saw in my time playing Remnant 2, by far the coolest parts were the procedurally generated worlds I spent my time battling my way through. Like the first game, this soulslike sequel creates a fresh set of areas and enemy spawns for each player, so your time fighting the enemies of humanity feels bespoke and unique. But where Remnant: From the Ashes mostly changed up the rooms and enemy spawn points depending on what you rolled, Remnant 2 designs its randomization to change up absolutely everything: from the biome and enemy types within it to the bosses you face – even the NPCs and storylines you encounter along the way.
One area I saw in my time with Remnant 2 was Yaesha, which returns from the first game but has now been completely taken over and corrupted by The Root. But each time I played through it, I saw completely different versions of this world that were shockingly unique. In my first playthrough Yaesha appeared as a heavily wooded area filled with lizard-like creatures that would crawl down from trees to ambush me, but in my second run, those woods were replaced with a series of floating islands that were home to hovering tentacled aliens that attacked from above and surrounded me with deadly, homing attacks. In a third blitz through the exact same area, I found myself inside a dark temple almost the entire time, where I was required to make use of my flashlight as creepy cultists waited to sacrifice me to their dark deity.
It’s not just that rooms were procedurally generated – every playthrough felt like a completely different biome altogether and was home to a unique set of enemies that, while definitely part of the same family of baddies occupying Yaesha, were starkly different experiences. When you first visit Yaesha in whatever version of it you roll, it will be generated from several different options, meaning you might end up in a cultist’s temple while your friend finds herself fighting squid-like enemies on floating islands.
And that’s not by accident. As Gunfire Games’ CEO, David Adams, explained: “The way that works in the game is that all the quests, all the events, are all randomized. So if you go in and you fight a miniboss, and another player goes in and fights a miniboss in an area, they might have a completely different boss. You might have different events. There’s different random events that occur in the game, and even the layouts of the dungeons change.”
That’s right – the bosses you come across in Remnant 2 will be randomized based on which storyline or version of the world you end up with. When I played through the version of Yaesha that took place inside a cultist temple, the boss I fought at the end was the object of those worshippers’ devotion that threatened to drive my character insane, while the one I fought at the end of the forest version occupied by lizards was a giant monster plant that bombarded me with explosive spores.
Not only that, but the NPCs and quests I encountered in each version of Yaesha differed. In one I met a bizarre musician and tried to solve a musical puzzle as part of my adventure, while in another I met the Pan Empress, who asked me to help her out with a problem threatening her people. Depending on which storyline I rolled, my journey in Yaesha went in completely different directions, which made every playthrough feel completely fresh and exciting. I can only imagine the confusion and amusement that will bring when Remnant 2 is in the hands of players, as they experience vastly different versions of the same game.
“That’s our dream, is you’re either talking to each other while you’re playing or you come back from work, or you’re watching a stream and you’re like, wait, that’s not what I did,” Dave told me, before acting out what that might look like. “‘Where are you stuck?’ ‘Oh, I got stuck on this boss. He’s this guy with big horns and he does this weird move,’ and you’re like, ‘I’ve never even seen that guy. I don’t even know what world you’re talking about.’ And we think that’ll be pretty unique for the player.”
The mission was personal for Gunfire’s CEO, who told me, “The main reason we wanted to do procedural generation is because we didn’t want people to experience the same thing twice. I have an anecdote where I can’t play a game more than once for some reason. If I’ve done something, I can’t do it again. So the huge incentive here was like, hey, I want to make a game that I would actually play through more than once.”
We’ll have much more on Remnant 2 as our exclusive IGN First coverage continues all March long!
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Author: Travis Northup