A Roguelike unlike Rogue?

After a very long debate and many examples given including FTL: Faster Than Light, Risk of Rain, Cyberdogs, Receiver and Red Rogue, our little group has decided to try to stick to the “play aesthetics” of Rogue rather than the (ASCII) graphics, (fantasy) setting or (dungeon-crawler) mechanics.

Myself, I’m a huge fan of FTL, a game I’m now completely addicted to. The important thing, in my opinion, is the focus on tension and exploration. Perma-death supports the former, random encounters the latter. What we’re going for is actually something more along the lines of XCOM, but in a Cyberpunk setting. The players’ mercenary group will receive randomly-generated contracts of increasing risk and reward, and death will be final.

What do you think? Sufficiently Rogue-like-y to be a Roguelike or not at all? What do you think are the most important aspects of the Roguelike genre?

4 thoughts on “A Roguelike unlike Rogue?”

  1. Sounds cool! There’s been some similar things tried before. Fantasy and dungeon crawling really aren’t necessary for the genre and you’ll be in good company diverging from them in the 7DRL Challenge 🙂

    Beware of party-based roguelikes though. They become very cumbersome to play due to the troubles of moving people quickly. A big part of roguelikes is controlling the pace of the game – moving quickly when exploring or facing weak enemies, but then having time to think in trickier situations. Hence why the pause-with-commands ability works so well in FTL; it turns it from a real-time game into a roguelike-paced game. I’ve yet to see a good control scheme for a party-based roguelike that satisfies this. And movement really is core to the gameplay, so think this through well!

    1. One of our number is dead-set on multiplayer cooperative, which comes with its own set of advantages and inconveniences. I think it’s an interesting technical challenge and that it would be fun… just not necessarily “fun” in the traditional Roguelike way.

      Can Diablo, Cyberdogs and Legend Of Dungeon be considered Roguelike, despite their multiplayer? Note that ours would be turn-based multiplayer (not real-time), but although this means you can take as long as you like to take your turn, you won’t be able to take as short as you like. In other words your control of time is one-sided.

  2. Two comments:
    1. Seems like way too much for seven days! “We” indicates you are a team… so maybe it cancels out?

    2. If you are doing squad stuff, make sure there is a way to get back into the normal roguelikey flow. Combat is one thing (squads are fine). Exploration is another (squads are a pain in the ass). I learned this the hard way making GnomeSquad for the 7DRLC a few years ago. If there aren’t any monsters on screen, let me “collapse” my squad back to 1 @-dude, and then let me re-deploy (if I want) once bad guys are encountered.

    1. There are 3 of us: 2 programmers and an artist 🙂

      You make a good point about the exploration – I suppose XCOM keeps keeps in-battle exploration interesting because, at any moment, aliens might pop out and shoot you dead. So it maintains a level of tension. When there are no enemies left the mission is over and you return to the over-map, so hopefully we’ll be able to avoid any boring baby-sitting guys through an empty level type situations.

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