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The Real Reason Biomutant Is Taking So Long

Biomutant was originally revealed in 2017. The announcement came out of nowhere, but updates dried up just as quickly. The game was supposed to release in 2018, but its development studio, Experiment 101, missed that window and failed to explain the delay to eager audiences. In fact, the studio pretty much failed to tell gamers anything at all for two years, but late in January 2021, the company finally stopped its radio silence and announced the long-awaited official release date of May 25, 2021. So what took so long to not only release the game, but also to provide an update? Its size, that's what.

IGN got the scoop on Biomutant's extended development from studio head Stefan Ljungqvist, who only has 20 employees to his name. Because Experiment 101's entire staff is smaller than the QA departments of some AAA studios, the company faced the classic game developer dilemma: release a buggy title quickly or take the time to polish it. Given the two years of silence, Ljungqvist obviously chose the latter. In fact, most of Experiment 101's 2020 was devoted to hunting down and patching out bugs. While Ljungqvist isn't about to claim Biomutant will ship 100% bug-free (he thinks such a task is impossible even for large studios), he didn't want to release the title with anything game-breaking — which is more than can be said for some recent AAA titles, like Cyberpunk 2077.

However, not all of Experiment 101's time was devoted to bug crushing. The studio also spent plenty of hours making Biomutant "bigger and more complex." According to Ljungqvist, the game ended 2019 with a script between 80 thousand and 85 thousand words. But as Biomutant currently stands, audiences can expect to hear around 250 thousand words thanks to a new "reactive karma system" that alters NPC dialogue depending on player actions, as well as a more robust tutorial.

While Ljungqvist could have remedied Biomutant's development time — and Experiment 101's silence — by hiring more hands, he didn't want to. According to IGN, Ljungqvist is adamant his company remains small and "nimble." And, he took the Supergiant Games approach by not forcing crunch on his employees. Granted, THQ Nordic is publishing Biomutant, so if the company wanted Experiment 101 to crunch, Ljungqvist couldn't do much to stop them. But since the studio got to work on Biomutant for an extra two years pressure-free, THQ Nordic is clearly letting Ljungqvist take the slow and steady approach to game development.

Even though the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 launched during Biomutant's development time, it turns out that Experiment 101 has not changed its platform vision. The studio wanted to release the game on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (and PC), and that's what they're gonna do on May 25.