Ever since Firaxis Games and 2K Games teamed up to release XCOM: Enemy Unknown way back in October of 2012, I’ve admittedly become a fan of not only the franchise but turn-based tactical video games as a whole. I’m constantly fascinated by this genre and how it presents players with challenging obstacles to overcome while granting them either positive or negative results based on how their initial strategies play out in real-time.
Last month, Funcom and Sweden-based development studio The Bearded Ladies announced Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, a new game that is poised to take the turn-based tactical genre to a whole new level. Here’s some more information on the upcoming title and a brief overview of my thoughts after seeing the first official behind closed doors gameplay demonstration at GDC 2018.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden could be best described as a tactical adventure game that combines strategy and turn-based tactical combat with real-time exploration and stealth gameplay aesthetics. Largely based on a wildly popular Swedish pen and paper RPG series titled Mutant, Road to Eden revolves around a team of unlikely protagonists exploring a post-human world filled with hostile territories and challenging adversaries throughout. The title is currently being developed by Payday designer Ulf Andersson and several former Hitman designers including David Skarin and Mark Parker.
The demonstration started with a brief introduction of the three central characters introduced in the cinematic trailer above as they investigate their surroundings within a mysterious Swedish setting. The lead female half human/half mutant heroine is named Selma and she is accompanied by a mutated pig and duck named Bormin and Dux respectively. The Bearded Ladies mentioned that there will be many more original playable characters available throughout the campaign and that we might see glimpses of them at a later time.
At first glance, the gameplay mechanics are essentially the same as XCOM but with the added bonuses of freely picking up nearby items, exploring landmarks and opening loot-filled chests. Enemies have a clearly distinguished circle of sight and sound meaning that they can see or hear you if you step directly into their path and instantly gain the advantage of initiating the first attack. If you are standing outside this radius, you can be the first one to attack them. Stealth plays an integral part in the overall experience and goes hand-in-hand with strategies that you can use during each and every encounter.
The most intriguing aspect about Road to Eden that separates it from other turn-based tactical games lies within the unique skill trees and abilities that you and your squadmates can buy from using level up points earned throughout the campaign. Every character has major, minor and passive mutations that can be used to their advantage depending upon different combat scenarios. For example, Dux has a mutation where he spawns moth wings and flies above enemies to deliver a highly effective headshot. Under other circumstances, he may not be able to perform this same move and players may have to take other measures to assure success. This dynamic is smart because it’s designed to elevate the difficulty level and keep players invested in exploring new mutations for all of their characters.
After taking down a few enemies, the demo concluded with a final intense battle between our heroes and various forms of foes including disgruntled monsters and a massive robot. After seeing this, I gained a better understanding of how all the gameplay mechanics come together and why developing a calculated gameplan is an essential element of this title. As I mentioned before, the mutations are a game changer and it will be interesting to see how they will play a role in every battle.
The 35-minute developer walkthrough video embedded below gives an overview of the entire demonstration with commentary. Please feel free to have a look at it in its entirety below to gain an even deeper understanding of what the title has to offer.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is coming along very nicely and is without a doubt a must play title for every diehard XCOM fan and turn-based tactical strategist around the globe. Stay tuned for more of our coverage on this impressive title and the talented team behind it over the course of the next several months.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden debuts later this year on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Are any of you fans of turn-based tactical games and if so is this title now on your radar? Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on Mutant Year Zero and more in the comments section below.