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Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden Explained

If you saw the trailer for Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden pop up during E3 2018, you might remember it as being one of the strangest trailers of the week. Mutated animals, skin morphing women, sentient robots—it looked just weird enough to be intriguing without giving us much information to go by. Now, about two months away form its release on PS4, Xbox One and PC, we’ve gotten to know the game pretty well. Here’s all you need to know about Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden before its December 4th release.

It’s based on a pen-and-paper RPG

The folks developing the game, The Bearded Ladies Consulting, have put a lot of work into bringing the world of Mutant Year Zero to life. It all started in 1984 with the pen-and-paper RPG, Mutant, which spawned several versions. The latest version, Mutant Year Zero (2014), being the inspiration for the upcoming video game. The tabletop game has been described as having a Fallout atmosphere, and features only mutants as playable characters. These mutants navigate a post-apocalyptic world, level-up by acquiring more mutations, and rebuilding a small society call the Ark. If you’re into pen-and-paper RPGs, and you’ve got a solid group, it’s definitely worth trying out.

The Zone, the Ark, and The Gearhead

Bormin and Dux, the Boar and Duck mutants from the trailer, are your main characters in the game. Just like the pen-and-paper game, the survivors you’ll meet all live at the Ark, a small sanctuary in the post-apocalypse, but the Ark needs to be maintained. That’s where Hammon, the Gearhead, comes in. He’s the guy who keeps the machinery running the Ark in top shape, and he’s missing. Bormin and Dux are tasked with going out into the irradiated outside world, called The Zone, to find Hammon and bring him back.

That’s the main mission in Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, but you’ll also use the Ark as your home-base in the game. Every time you venture out into the Zone, you can bring back scraps, weapon parts and gear to the Ark for trade or upgrades.

Real time tactics

Games like XCOM, Banner Saga and even Mario Rabbids have shown that tactics games are getting a lot of love these days, and that’s carrying on through Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. In most tactical games, I personally find myself planning out my moves and taking my time, but in Mutant Year Zero, Bearded Ladies is trying to make it more streamlined. Players will flow in and out of tactical battles, which allows Bearded Ladies to add more real-time narrative, active stealth evasion and experiment with the tactical formula as much as possible.

New mutants will join your team

The reveal trailer showed three characters: Bormin, Dux, and Selma. According to the game’s website, you’ll meet other mutants throughout the game, who will add their unique mutations to the party. Initially, I thought the three mutants in the trailer would be it, but it’s awesome to know that we’ll gain more throughout the game. However, it’s not clear whether you can switch them all out at the Ark, including Dux and Bormin, or if you’re stuck with them for the full game. I’m not really opposed to either, but it seems like with the overall narrative, keeping Dux and Bormin full-time would make sense.

You’ll grow your characters through mutation

In any modern game, leveling up your character means gaining new abilities. In Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, these abilities take the form of mutations, just like its pen-and-paper predecessor. These mutations can be accumulated and combined in interesting ways that will grant the players different ways to approach combat and exploration. We even see Dux (that’s the duck) gaining ragged bat wings in the developer diary. Clearly that would grant the player the ability to attack from above, but maybe it also lets players explore areas that were previously unreachable.

There’s more to come before release…

The Bearded Ladies Consulting team have said they’ll be revealing more secrets and surprised up until the release. Specifically, we’ll get to meet some of the extra mutants that will join Bormin and Dux along their journey. Stay tuned to Level 3 News for more information as it comes, because we’re definitely following this game closely. Tactics games are a lot of fun, and Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is the most interesting one to come out in a long while.

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