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Thief and System Shock dev leads new roguelite mixing FPS and strategy

Wild Bastards comes from one of the minds behind Thief, BioShock, and System Shock 2 to marry roguelikes, FPS games, and strategy.

Wild Bastards GDC interview: a robot cowboy

Wild Bastards has quite the elevator pitch. It’s a roguelike strategy FPS game with bitesize immersive sim shootouts punctuated by broader long-term strategy planning, underpinned by a bold prism of colors and a sci-fi setting. We had the chance to talk with the game’s audio director Ryan Roth at GDC all about the project, and how it channels its immersive sim pedigree from Thief, BioShock, and System Shock 2 into something totally new.

A successor to Void Bastards, this year’s upcoming Wild Bastards is developer Blue Manchu’s – helmed by Thief, System Shock 2, and BioShock developer Jonathan Chey – bigger and better swing at the roguelike game and strategy FPS genre – try saying that five times fast.

That immersive sim DNA is a key part of what Wild Bastards aims for: shootouts are bite-sized and on an array of vibrant planets, you have 13 different outlaws to choose from, and there are so many systems on top of these that intersect to make choice the name of the game.

“[Jonathan Chey] did Bioshock and System Shock 2, and those games are not about the visceral, it’s more about being an immersive sim. So that’s why we call it a strategy shooter,” Wild Bastards audio director Ryan Roth tells us at GDC. “The team is just more versed in designing a little bit more thoughtful combat.”

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When you’re not fighting off the smart AI in the bitesize encounters, you’ll be making your way around a world map, managing resources, healing and leveling your 13 outlaws, and evaluating a planet’s terrain and traits before jumping back in.

Void Bastards did a lot of similar things but on a smaller scale, where you were boarding derelict spaceships and finding resources as you engaged in tense FPS shootouts. Both games let you level up your outlaws and get some permanent upgrades, but Wild Bastards wants to keep layering on ideas to take that further.

“I think we’re bringing [Void Bastards] to the next level and I really don’t honestly see anybody being able to replicate that in a meaningful way. There are so many systems and, layers to the metagame, and how that relates to the combat.”

Wild Bastards GDC interview

If you played Void Bastards, Roth says, “There are several orders of magnitude more strategy in this game,” explaining how you’ll have the macro strategy of choosing which planets to go to and paths to follow on the planet, while also engaging in micro strategy in these condensed shootouts.

“It’s all about looting the planet, getting upgrades for your outlaws, and then eventually unlocking new outlaws. So getting to the end of the sector allows you to unlock a new one that’s permanent.”

You’ll find Wild Bastards on Steam right now, where you can wishlist the game ahead of a full launch.

While you wait for Wild Bastards’ full release sometime in 2024, you can keep yourself busy with some of the best strategy games and FPS games currently available on PC, to get in the mood for this hybrid to end all hybrids.

You can also follow us on Google News for daily PC games news, reviews, and guides, or grab our PCGN deals tracker to net yourself some bargains.

Additional reporting by Ed Smith for PCGamesN at GDC.