Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden Preview Gameplay Footage Shows Plenty of Tactical Action

At GDC 2018, developer The Bearded Ladies gave us a sneak peek of their upcoming strategy RPG, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is an upcoming tactical RPG which combines the turn-based, tactical combat of XCOM with a more engaging narrative as well as stealth and exploration. The game is being developed by The Bearded Ladies, a team which includes former HITMAN leads and the designer of PAYDAY, and is based on the popular pen-and-paper RPG Mutant: Year Zero. The game is set on a post-apocalyptic version of Earth, having been ravaged by global warming, plagues, and nuclear war, where the original humans are gone and have been replaced by mutants.

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In a part of this ruined world, there is a remaining civilization on an island, while the land which surrounds the island is known as the zone. It has been suggested by a person known as The Elder, the only known non-mutated being in existence, that there is nothing in the zone for others to see, although this information cannot truly be clarified.

To protect the island, teams known as Stalkers are deployed throughout the zone. This is the occupation of our three mutated main characters: Selma , Boarmin, and Dux. Being in the zone, these stalkers also explore and discover more information about the surrounding world by finding new areas and artifacts. The three characters can also be separated for a more thorough exploration of the area.

mutants creeping through a dark forest in Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

While exploring, the team of stalkers will have to fight against different types of ghouls, robots, and other dangerous enemies. An attention circle will appear around these enemies, and combat will not start until a character steps into one (if you’re noticed first, however, then the enemy will have a first-turn advantage). Nearby cover can also be used for sneak attacks, and some enemies may not even notice you after attacking, which may be a better choice depending on the situation. Between exploration and combat, the camera will switch from a top-down view to a behind the shoulder, third-person view.

Each characters has their own special weapon. Selma has a silenced pistol useful for sneak attacks, Dux has a crossbow which can be utilized for long-range attacks, and Boarmin has a special pistol which can deal fire damage but is loud when shot. Additionally, different types of bullets can be equipped for different effects, such as elemental damage and knock back. Other tools, such as various grenades, can also be purchased from the market.

Characters can also be equipped with armor, and all armor in the game differs from each other, so players will never have to worry about having different armor pieces with the same exact abilities. For example, Boarmin’s armor in this footage is fire-resistant, and as such, allows him to absorb fire damage.

In addition to weapons and armor, characters can be equipped with different mutations which allow them to gain new abilities. For example, Dux can activate moth wings which allow him to fly and attack from above, and Selma can use vines to keep enemies in place for several turns. Unlike other games, mutations don’t have a standard skill tree, and points to purchase more mutations are gained through progression. Mutations can be swapped out at any time so players can appropriately adjust to different situations.

Players will be able to revisit different areas for new experiences. Higher-level enemy camps will provide a greater challenge but will also yield greater rewards, in turn adding more replay value.

Although the game is a tactical RPG, it’s still accessible to players of all types. It’s said that the Easy mode is best for those who want the pure narrative experience, and veterans of the genre can add features such as permadeath if they want more of a challenge.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden looks to be a promising experience for both newcomers and veterans alike. The game is slated to release for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2018. You can see the previously released cinematic trailer here.

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Erroll Maas
Writer pursuing a career in Games & Entertainment media. Specialties include coverage of non-Pokémon monster taming RPGs, event coverage, indie game coverage, and coverage of various Japanese games.