Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
|Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden|
Cover art featuring three playable characters (from left to right): Bormin, Selma and Dux
|Developer(s)||The Bearded Ladies|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Release||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
|Genre(s)||Turn-based tactics, tactical role-playing|
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a turn-based tactical role-playing video game developed by Swedish studio The Bearded Ladies and published by Funcom. Based on the tabletop role-playing game Mutant Year Zero, the game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in December 2018. A Nintendo Switch version of the game was released on July 30, 2019.
After the outbreak of the deadly Red Plague and global nuclear war, humans have largely become extinct, with the few surviving ones becoming mutants, having been affected by radiation. The Elder, the only person with the knowledge of the past, resides in the Ark, a fortified settlement that serves as the last bastion of civilization. With severe resource shortages, the base sends out special mutants called Stalkers who scavenge resources in the surrounding wasteland known as the Zone. However, the Zone is also populated by Ghouls, human survivors driven violent and insane from the aftermath of the bombings who worship the old world civilization as the Ancients.
Two Stalkers, Bormin (a humanoid boar voiced by actor Enzo Squillino Jnr) and Dux (a humanoid duck voiced by Jared Zeus), are tasked by the Elder to head north to search for another Stalker, Hammon. Hammon is a technical genius and is the only person capable of keeping the Ark's systems running, but he and his team disappeared during an expedition, and his absence puts the entire Ark at risk. Bormin and Dux set off to find Hammon, finding clues that he journeyed north to investigate a strange craft that crashed from the sky, believing it holds the key to finding the mythical promised land of Eden. As they travel north, they find and rescue Selma and Magnus, Hammon's fellow Stalkers. They also learn of the Nova Sect, a group of fanatically religious Ghouls who seek to restore Ancient weapons technology that can be used against the Ark. The Nova Sect was able to capture Hammon, and are attempting to force him to assist in their plans.
The Stalkers journey to the Nova Sect's headquarters, the Spear of Heaven. Along the way, they recruit Farrow, a Fox mutant determined to get revenge on the Nova Sect for destroying her settlement. They attack the Spear of Heaven and break into an Ancient underground bunker where they find Hammon. Hammon reveals to them that Eden does exist as a secret Ancient facility that holds information on the origins of mutants. However, the Nova Sect were able to read his mind and discover Eden's location, and are heading there to learn its secrets. Hammon directs the Stalkers to beat the Nova Sect to Eden to ensure its knowledge does not fall into the wrong hands. In order to reach Eden first, the Stalkers will have to travel through the Forbidden City, the ruins of an old Red Plague quarantine zone populated by hostile Ancient robots.
Disobeying the Elder's orders, the Stalkers journey through the Forbidden City, where they find the Nova Sect and their leader, Plutonia, attempting to break into Eden. The Stalkers are able to eliminate the Nova Sect and kill Plutonia, and Eden's gates mysteriously open for them. The Stalkers enter Eden and explore the facility, discovering that the Ancients were experimenting with creating mutants before the project was shut down. They are then shocked to find out that the Elder himself was one of the scientists in charge of the experiments, and they remember how he smuggled them to safety to prevent them from being destroyed. At that moment the radio activates and they hear a voice calling for "Command Center Sweden."
The game was described by publisher Funcom as a "tactical adventure" game, played from an isometric perspective. There are three difficulty levels for players to choose from. Players control a party of three characters as they navigate the game's world. Different characters have different abilities and skills. Selma, a mutated human character, is an expert in explosives; Dux, a duck hybrid, is equipped with a long-range crossbow; Bormin uses shotguns as one of its weapons. Each character also has their own passive, minor and major mutation attacks that can be activated and customized. The team as a whole levels up as the game progresses, and new weapons and gears could be unlocked. The game also features a skill tree, and a branching story. There are five characters for players to choose from, including three default characters and two recruitable ones.
Gameplay alternates between turn-based tactics combat and real-time exploration. The Zone is a series of interconnected maps that players can freely explore. In the Zone, players could collect different artifacts, scraps and weapon parts which can be used to purchase new gears and tools in the Ark, the game's hub world. To explore the world, flashlights can be used to spot different objects, though this draws unwanted enemy attention. In real-time, players can split up the party and guide them in different tactical positions to stage an ambush. Once players enter combat, the game shifts to a turn-based mode, similar to Firaxis' X-COM reboot series. After players finish a turn, enemies controlled by artificial intelligence (AI) would move and respond. Players can also kill an enemy stealthily. If other enemies are not alerted to the player's presence, players can continue exploring in real-time.
The game was developed by Swedish developer The Bearded Ladies, a team founded by former IO Interactive developers. The designer of the Payday franchise, Ulf Andersson, served as the game's creative consultant. The game is based on the Swedish tabletop role-playing game Mutant Year Zero. Initially, the team planned to create an open world game, but the team scrapped the idea because it did not blend well with the turn-based combat. Permadeath and recruitable soldiers were planned, but they were removed as the team believed that this would compromise the game's story. To facilitate players' exploration, environmental storytelling became one of the team's focus.
Funcom announced the game in March 2018. The game was released on December 4 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. It was also part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription programme. In addition to the standard edition, players can purchase the Deluxe Edition, which includes a book, the game's original soundtracks, wallpaper, and other items.
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