The modern gaming industry is a rather uncomfortable place. Especially when it comes to AAA releases, when at stake are not creativity, but huge budgets. Not surprisingly, many people can not withstand such pressure and decide to go to the indie sector, where budgets are not so much pressure on creative freedom.
This is also true for Arkane Studios founder Rafael Colantonio. In recent years, the studio he created was not experiencing the best of times. Commercial failures, absurd leadership desires, and the backstage war between the Lyon and Austin offices were just some of the factors that made Bethesda part of Microsoft.
Colontonio himself founded a small studio WolfEye, which under the wing of Devolver Digital developed Weird West – an attempt to rethink immersive simulators.
The events of the game unfold in an alternative version of the Wild West, where steampunk and magic are strongly intertwined. In a vast area, migrants are at risk of numerous dangers: witches, pigs, zombies, siren ghosts, werewolves and mysterious forces that are closely watching what is happening.
The player takes on the role of the Passenger – a mysterious person who participates in a mysterious experiment. He has to go through episodes from the lives of five very different characters: a former bounty hunter who pulls out his revolver again to save a kidnapped man and avenge his son’s death; a pig man who wants to find out who turned him into a monster and why; an Indian who hunts the monstrous Windigo; a werewolf to fulfill a prophecy by assembling an army to defeat the witches; a young oneira trying to unravel a tangle of mystery.
The heroes are given a fairly wide area, implemented according to the principles of Fallout. Scattered on the global map are pre-collected locations by the developers, but during the trip there may be occasional skirmishes and meetings.
Admittedly, WolfEye still could not fully cope with such a scale. The fact is that many “unique locations” actually consist of prefabricated blocks. More than once, two players will find cities and caves that differ from each other by only a couple of minor details.
However, the main emphasis is on the variability of the story and gameplay. Weird West is a truly immersive simulator with an isometric perspective. The environment is carefully designed and has many interactive elements.
Can’t get to the building? You can find the key, knock the front door off your feet, jump out the window, jump on the roof of another house, put a few barrels against the wall, and so on. The game encourages exploration of the environment and experiments.
This is noticeable from the battles. No one prevents the player from throwing dynamite into the crowd of enemies, and then finish off the survivors of the shotgun. But there are other ways to eliminate the danger. You can secretly bypass dangerous enemies or secretly destroy them by pulling the corpses into the grass. And you can take advantage of the environment.
A whole range of tools is available to this Passenger. It rains? Lure enemies into a puddle, then throw an electric grenade. And you can destroy a barrel of poison, poisoning enemies, and then set fire to chemicals, setting a fire. However, be careful, because there is a high risk of setting yourself on fire or attracting other enemies, because you accidentally set fire to dry grass at the same time.