Nobody Saves the World Developers Discuss How Personalization Works

Nobody Saves the World, the next game from the Guacamelee developer Drinkbox Studios, is far from playing as Nobody, the hero of this Greendale Human Being-style story. At the core of its gameplay, NSTW allows players to transform Nobody into a number of unlockable forms, ranging from a rat to a monk, a horse, a party wizard, and much more. But Drinkbox smartly doesn’t limit a player’s abilities to just those of his chosen form; As you progress, you will have the ability to mix and match the skills of the forms to suit the mission requirements, perform wild combinations in battle, and generally get creative with your crazy arsenal.

The possibilities are vast, and now even more so as Nobody Saves the World is confirmed to have online co-op when it launches in early 2022. So to learn more about implementing this customization, how co-op added complexity and fun. to the system, and more, IGN spoke with Drinkbox’s Graham Smith and Ian Campbell, and for a crash course on the skill-sharing feature, Look the following videoand read on to learn more about the Drinkbox design.

Drinkbox’s Ian Campbell and Graham Smith made it clear that skill-sharing between forms has been a key part of NSTW since its initial proposal for the game, as it was heavily inspired by things like Final Fantasy Tactics’ work system. and your freedom to let the players train. create multiple jobs and share skills.

“It was a key component of the original vision,” Campbell said, although it has certainly been a process to reduce the powers that ultimately ended up in the game. “There’s a balance between moves that are true to form and have synergies with other things. That just takes you so far, then you put it in the game and think, ‘Oh, it really doesn’t go well with anything.'”

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The team certainly had no shortage of ideas when it came to designing the powers of the various creatures, humans, and other things that players would end up playing with.

Nobody Saves the World Reveals Screenshots

“We have a huge list of forms that we could be working on,” Smith said, noting that testing the powers together often helped narrow that list. “Whenever it was time to put it in another shape or two, we used the idea of ​​synergies. the things we already have? ‘

“That ended up working well. Although sometimes you end up adding a form, you put in some abilities and that completely breaks the game,” he continued, noting that it was a process of always iterating on powers and forms to solve those problems. when they arose.

The pair offered a couple of fun examples of aspects that needed to be scaled, like the monk’s holy light ability hitting everyone on the screen, so if combined with a status effect like poisoning all enemies, the combat loses much of its tension. Similarly, the horse had the ability to graze to regain mana, which, when combined with the healing abilities in NSTW, meant that players could, after each battle, fully refill their health and mana, absorbing any challenge of pushing through the various dungeons of the game.

“If you discovered this exploit, it would completely break the rhythm of the game, if you tried to use it, so we had to remove it [horse] ability to graze “.

“You could put that in any form too, but as soon as we started adding healing abilities to the game, we realized, ‘You can, after every fight, stop, get your mana back, heal, get your mana.’ ‘ Heal. If you discovered this exploit, it would just completely break the rhythm of the game, if you tried to use it, so we had to remove that grazing ability, “Smith said.

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Of course, there are plenty of wacky and exciting power combinations left for players to discover when Nobody Saves the World is released, but the complexity of the system only increases thanks to the addition of online cooperative mode, a first of any Drinkbox game. (Although the studio has worked in a local cooperative mode before).

The feature, which was born out of Microsoft, when talking to the studio about the game, asking if they could implement multiplayer online, raised some questions to the team, specifically about progression and how that would work for both players. Drinkbox eventually came to the conclusion that a Nobody would enter another player’s NSTW instance, so while that player will not carry session progress with them, it can help them progress in their world. The studio worked to keep the progress sustained, but in the end, too many issues kept coming up and the team wanted to make sure they could still finish the game while still including cooperative online support in some form.

“We spent a lot of time discussing how we could make it work the other way around because it would feel good if you had your own saved game and could take it to your friend’s saved game,” Smith said. “The problems we faced were too complicated for us to solve them in a good way. Every time we solved one [issue], there were three others right behind, just so I could finish the game and support online co-op. “

But players will still find a lot to discover by jumping into co-op, including the fun opportunity to combine more powers than they can while playing alone. Drinkbox has gone to great lengths to ensure that players, whether they are a couple of Nobodies playing together, are the only Nobody who wants to save the world, find fun and interest in exploring all forms of NSTW and testing their skills, even if naturally, they can gravitate towards certain powers or forms.

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“We try to make sure that each shape is fun to play and has its own strengths and weaknesses. Each shape has at least two or three things that are unique to give it a defined personality that cannot be changed with different movements,” Campbell said. “So it’s a different personality for the shape and something that you keep in mind when you’re customizing, because otherwise you’d say, ‘Oh, I’ll just put my favorite things on.’

Players will be able to discover all of those shapes, and the incredible number of skill trades that can be done with them, early next year, but for more information, be sure to read our hands-on preview of Nobody Saves the World to learn more. . Fun new twist on the action-RPG genre. And take a look at our Guacamelee 2 review if you haven’t seen the latest Drinkbox game.

Jonathon Dornbush is IGN Senior Feature Editor, PlayStation Leader, and Host of Podcast Beyond! He is the proud dog father of a BOY named Loki. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.