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Morbid Metal - What We Know So Far

When people normally think of indie games made entirely by one person, it's mostly titles like "Stardew Valley" and the first "Five Nights At Freddy's" that come to mind: creative ingenuity executed on a less tech-intensive scale that usually doesn't involve fast-paced gameplay. A fully 3D-rendered action game with complicated physics and dynamic lighting takes hours and hours of rigging, animating, and programming to make, with some triple-A productions featuring a credits list that goes up into the thousands (per VentureBeat).

So it's doubly astonishing that "Morbid Metal," an upcoming hack-n-slash action roguelike with heartstopping combat and next-gen graphics, is a completely solo developer project. The entire game is being produced by Felix Schade, an indie game developer based in Germany. Built using the Unity engine, the game features a tightly-executed and fluid combat system, a creative approach to player progression and weapon loadout, and a dystopian sci-fi setting full of sleek robots and macabre creatures. Players will be shapeshifting between four distinct characters with different movesets to pull off seamless combos and tackle intricately designed boss battles.

Here's everything we know about this unbelievably complex solo-dev project, "Morbid Metal."

What is the release date for Morbid Metal?

Currently, "Morbid Metal" has no release date nor official target estimate. According to Schade's post in the "Morbid Metal" and Gaming subreddits, he has only been working on the game for just under two years. The current gameplay footage shows an impressive amount of progress made in such a short time by indie development standards, especially considering the one-man production team.

The game has come a long way in terms of media visibility, as well: Starting out in relative obscurity, "Morbid Metal" enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity following a nomination for the Best 3D Visuals at the 2021 Game Developer Conference's Unity Showcase Awards (via Twitter). By January 2022 — just one and a half years into development — "Morbid Metal" had an official Steam page where it could be wishlisted. Most recently, its trailer was featured in the Future Games Show, showcasing the dynamic action to an even bigger audience.

While the GamesRadar+ description for the FGS trailer claimed that it would be "coming soon to PC," it's hard to put a concrete date on when "soon" will be. Schade himself has yet to comment on when he would be able to announce any sort of release window — prospective players will want to keep an eye on his official Twitter page for any upcoming updates.

Is there a trailer for Morbid Metal?

The official trailer runs at just under a minute and a half, and mainly features the combat action interspersed with cinematic shots of the various enemies and stunning vistas. While the Steam description states the game will include three different biomes, the trailer — and all of the currently available gameplay footage — is set in a rocky, mountainous area decorated with broken technology as well as traditional Japanese Torii gates and weathered ruins.

According to an interview with GamingBolt, the game will be set in a distant and machine-dominated future where humanity faces extinction. While Schade declined to elaborate further so as to not give away too much of the premise, it seems that the story is as inspired by games like "NieR: Automata" and "Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance" as the gameplay is. With how central the character-shifting mechanic is, it'll be intriguing to see how it'll be incorporated into the "rich lore and compelling world" that's in store for players.

What will the gameplay be like in Morbid Metal?

In the GamingBolt interview, Schade described the unique combat in more detail. His main goal was to design a system where players would be required to utilize their chosen characters to their full potential in order to defeat enemies that were difficult by virtue of complex mechanics and reactions, not a large health bar. Instead of obtaining new weapons and gear, players will be unlocking and developing individual characters with currency earned by defeating enemies. The upgrades are designed to feel "visually and mechanically" impactful instead of just increasing passive stats, providing meaningful changes to players' combat strategies in each fight.

It seems that the character-shifting mechanic will be more than a simple substitute for the toggleable weapon or build styles in similar games: In one of the updates to his official Twitter, Schade showcased how a swap could be seamlessly incorporated into a combo to dodge an enemy attack. It's likely that players will be encouraged to oscillate through the characters in the midst of combat instead of having to disengage to switch strategies, as is more common. Hopefully, we'll be seeing more footage and showcases of the combat system as well as the other planned biomes.