Slime Rancher 2 is a vision in rainbows. While the first game wasn’t exactly muted in tone, developer Monomi Park is really dialling up the colours for the sequel, with the game’s hero Beatrix LeBeau finding herself on the appropriately titled Rainbow Island. From what we’ve seen so far, we’ll be sucking up slimes in pastel forests, coral-filled fields, and ruins that glow in the dark, with the slimes themselves showing up with new variations to add to the mix.
But, that expanded colour palette isn’t just for show. According to Monomi Park co-founder and CEO, and Slime Rancher 2 game director, Nick Popovich, “while the rainbow color palette will play a factor in Slime Rancher 2’s story, a lot of the decision to go for it was simply because you just never see a first person shooter-style game with prismatic, pastel visuals. So I think that adding something like this to the world and maybe opening the door for other games to do the same is a worthy pursuit on its own.”
Set the tone
Game Slime Rancher 2
Developer Monomi Park
Publisher Monomi Park
Platforms PC, Xbox Series X
Even if it can’t influence others in the genre, Slime Rancher 2 is definitely continuing the game’s legacy of offering gamers something a little different. Part farming sim, part FPS, and part something else entirely, it’s exciting to see where the team is going to take Beatrix’s story next with this new locale – and with the original game boasting a playerbase of over 10 million, no doubt I’m not alone.
Popovich says that Slime Rancher 2 will act as “the new platform from which we’ll grow the world of Slime Rancher in the future”, hopefully following in the footsteps of the original game, which has been supported with content updates since it launched back in 2016.
“We started by meticulously recreating a lot of what everyone loved about the original. It ‘feels’ just like Slime Rancher, only smoother, more expansive, more rich in details, and with a lot of tweaks and quality of life changes,” explains Popovich.
Despite the new locale, what you’ll actually be doing in Slime Ranch is going to feel very familiar to anyone who’s already spent time wielding a vapack. You’ll farm slimes, earning newbucks from selling slime plorts (aka their crystalline poops), and work to expand your Conservatory as you move through the landscapes you’ll find on Rainbow Island.
“What’s most exciting is that the whole thing is a refreshing change from our original world. We very much leaned into the cowboy vibe in the first game with dusty valleys, an old mining operation, and a desert. Rainbow Island is far more green, with carpets of lush grass all over it, lots of trees, flowers, and water visible almost all the time. It just feels good to be in this world.”
Part of the game’s joy will be discovering the secrets of Rainbow Island, which Popovich describes as a “very unusual place, even by the standards of the Far, Far Range.” Apparently we’ll get a few teases about some of those as we get closer to launch, but for me the intrigue lies with the place you’ll call home on the island – the Conservatory.
Like the Ranch of the original game, this is where you’ll spend a lot of your time – farming, building, and creating new slime hybrids, before starting to explore further afield once you’ve crafted the right tools and upgrades to counteract the environments and the slimes that inhabit them. Popovich explains that it felt like an “appropriate setting” for the “light and rainbows” visuals of Slime Rancher 2. “Having your home base wrapped in glass that lets all this beautiful light in seemed like a great fit, not to mention that Slime Rancher has always had a bit of an eco-conscious theme to it.”
Time to slime
Developer Monomi Park has already delighted us with several new slime types that call Rainbow Island home, from fluffy Cotton Slimes to the Halloween-tastic Batty Slimes. Figuring out all the possible Slime hybrids is going to be quite the undertaking, for us and the team tasked with creating them.
“I’m honestly not sure if the original design of ‘all slimes can combine with each other into new ones’ was a killer feature or a terrible curse,” laughs Popovich. “It is a ton of work to ensure they combine correctly and managing the hundreds of possible combinations while you try to think up new ones is an equally daunting task. We’ve spent a great deal of time and resources making dev tools that help us with this process but it is never-ending so long as there are new slimes to discover.”
Slime madness aside, there are other new additions to the gameplay to discover, which enhance the way you interact with the world. The original game had a heavy reliance on using extractors to get precious crafting materials, but that’s been tweaked here, with players instead able to discover caches of resources as they explore.
“The extractor change may not seem like much,” adds Popvich, “[but it] totally changes the gameplay loop while exploring the world. And in terms of vacpack upgrades, we have leaned into this experience by allowing players to get more vac tanks and by giving you access to a Slime Science Lab at the very start of the experience. Refinery links are now crucial to your success!”
Slime Rancher 2 is dropping on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S (also on Game Pass) alongside Windows 10 PCs at some point this year.
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