A Whole New World – Update on Rend from Frostkeep

Mar 23, 2018 by

This year at GDC we had a chance to sit down with a few members from the team at Frostkeep to discuss the progress on their upcoming game, Rend.

Since PAX West 2017, Rend has grown a lot. There are new biomes, creatures, weapons, and a bunch of features to be excited about. Here are three of the key aspects we discussed in our meeting at GDC 2018.

The World Has Grown

First off, the map size of Rend’s world has grown immeasurably. When we spoke at PAX West last year, the map was on its way to becoming three times its original size. Now, the developers are saying they aren’t sure exactly how much bigger it is, only that it has grown considerably past their original goal. In addition to size, the variety of the world has also changed significantly, with a total of 11 biomes being in the game at present. I got the opportunity to see three of these new biomes in action in the form of swamp, highlands, and the deep forest.

The swamp is noxious and full of terrors

What’s interesting about these areas is the challenges/rewards that they face players with. The developers at Frostkeep envision the biomes as an interconnected web, each with their own set of hazards for the player that can be solved by visiting other areas in the game. As an example, players will find the gasses in the swamp to be incredibly toxic and may only survive a few minutes without a proper breathing apparatus. However, if they journey into other parts of the world, they can find materials native to other biomes that will help them survive.

Yes, spiders are mountable

In addition to hazards and stunning visuals, biomes also have unique animals that can be hunted, tamed, and in some cases mounted. Each animal will have taming aspects specific to its style. For example, while some might require a pen and some food, others might need to be dominated in 1v1 combat for a player to earn their allegiance. Each of these animals will have a unique set of benefits to the player to be used in the world.

Frostkeep Loves Modding

During my brief chat at GDC, the developers at Frostkeep said something that was music to my ears.

“Beyond just being a place for modders to modify Rend, Rend can be a game engine that they can use to make entirely unrelated games in if they want to.” [Jeremy Wood, CEO]

This is a lofty goal, but if the game even gets close to it, it will be a huge source of longevity and creativity for players. The team is apparently well on their way to meeting this goal, with new features that were not originally designed in the game being developed using only the modding engine with no engineering support.

One of the main goals for the team is to have a robust steam workshop available, and they’re not shy of drawing comparisons to games like Skyrim that have remained relevant for years thanks to mods. Frostkeep wants players to feel like they have no limits when modding Rend allowing them to create new creatures, weapons, or even entirely new mechanics. As an example, one of their developers was able to create a hornet’s nest in game with entirely new functionality, all through the modding tool. While the tool may not be fully developed at launch, it sounds like Frostkeep is making a major investment in its players and providing new experiences for years to come.

Lore is Key

When Rend was initially teased, the lore wasn’t heavily touched on, but it seems that has changed. Just from looking at the game’s new skybox, thematic elements are apparent. Set beneath the shattered remnants of Midgard, players will find themselves in a proving ground of sorts. Many of the familiar old deities have died away, and it’s time for new ones to take their place. This allows for interesting in-game elements such as Thor’s hammer coming crashing to the ground from the sky above. Players will have to fight each other to obtain relics like this, but once they do, they can wield them with godlike power.

In addition to new items, the developers also briefly mentioned some of the features that will carry over from game-to-game. As we discussed in our last piece on Rend, each round (approximately 2-3 months in length) is a race to rack up souls, and once one team hits the limit, the world resets. All player items are gone, all bases are wiped away, and the world begins anew. However, not all a player’s progress will be lost. While it is unclear exactly what form some of these bonuses will take, players will get cosmetics and potentially abilities to showcase their god-like status as they play the game for longer. More details on this system will likely come around E3 or closer to the game’s release.

When can we play it?

It’s clear that there’s a lot to be excited about in Rend and it sounds like we’re not going to have to wait too long to get in the fight. The team at Frostkeep is aiming for a release later this year into Steam Early Access. We’ll have more coverage on the game through the first closed alpha period soon!

Thanks to Jeremy Wood, CEO, Evan Berman, Community Lead, and Michele Cagle, Executive Director of Global Communications for taking the time to talk with us!

About Ashton Macaulay

Ashton lives in the Ewok village that is Redmond Washington, enjoys gaming, writing, and a good pug.

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