Wrack Isn’t Retro!

I’m tired of Wrack being referred to as a “retro” FPS.

It would be one thing if it truly was… but it’s not. Is the art style retro? No. Is the music retro? No. Are the sounds retro? No. Are the character designs retro? No. Are the models retro? No. Is the gameplay retro? If running around at breakneck speeds, battling lots of monsters out in the open, and rocket jumping is considered “retro”, then something is seriously wrong with the universe. Cats may stop being cute and bacon may cease being awesome at any moment.

Besides, let’s be clear on the difference here. A retro game is deliberately trying to look like games made a long time ago. A modern game inspired by those older games is not. Here’s a perfect example of what I mean:

Mega Man 10 (2010), RETRO:

Random object + googly eyes = MONSTER DESIGN!

Random object + googly eyes = MONSTER DESIGN!

Mighty No. 9 (2015, aka NOT SOON ENOUGH), NOT retro:

Capcom copyright infringement lawsuit pending.

Capcom copyright infringement lawsuit pending.

Do you see the difference? You do? Good.

I realize that people see the inspiration and similarities between Wrack and games like Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, etc. I get that. It just feels a lot like them. But there’s a big difference between being inspired by something and trying to emulate it. Wrack doesn’t do things because “Well hey, that’s what Doom did!”; it does them because they make sense — a LOT of sense.

Ah, such fond memories of leaping lava pits in Doom with a giant glowing claymore in hand. ... wait...

Ah, such fond memories of leaping lava pits in Doom with a giant glowing claymore in hand. … wait…

Take something simple from that genre of game — like being able to carry all of your weapons at the same time. Being able to carry all of your weapons at the same time (we’ll be at 8 when everything is all said and done) gives you a ton of different options with which to approach a situation. Want to save some ammo and use your Hyperblade? Go for it! Want to sit back and pick things off with your pistol! That could work! Want to get up close and personal with your shotgun? Great idea! Want to blow things quickly with the pulsar? Capital idea! Want to take everything out at once with your bazooka? Sounds fun! Want to line them up and take them all out with your maREDACTED

It’s just fundamentally better. It adds depth to the gameplay by giving you meaningful options. We could limit you to 2-4 weapons; that’s what all the trendy, “modern” games do. But would it make Wrack a better game? Hell no! That’s what it all really boils down to for us. At no point during the design process do we ask ourselves “Is that what Quake did?” The only relevant question for us is “Does this make Wrack a better game?”

We’re happy to continue doing the things those games got right… but I don’t think there’s going to be a Wrack game with a flashlight that doesn’t stay out any time soon. Wrack isn’t a retro game, after all.

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4 Responses to Wrack Isn’t Retro!

  1. Simon says:

    Case well made -it’s too easy to pigeonhole games into the ‘retro’ category for lack of a more descriptive term. Maybe ‘classic’ (in that it comes from a formative era) is more accurate? Who knows.

  2. registrationseverywhere says:

    Just don’t consider the word ‘retro’ to have any negative connotations, and you’ll be fine. Retro is good, if done with an actual design underneath the hood, and not just by imitating pixelware.

  3. J says:

    COMPLETELY agree with what you are saying here.

    It completely annoys me when an “old-school” inspired game is coming ala Rise of the Triad or Wrack and the gaming press refer to them as “retro shooter Wrack….” or “RotT takes us back to the old….” etc. No, it is simply carrying on something that shouldn’t be called old fashioned as it was never a fashion to begin with. It is continuing the foundations that just got ignored over time in favor of new trends, some of those trends didn’t resonate as well, so we carry on making the winning formula.

    Wrack is not old. It is a new 2013 game that just so happens to play like a REAL, creatively free game…..A concept deemed old by a fast moving, trend obsessed, modern society.

    Right on.

    P.S. This may disgust you, but i am a console gamer (those japanese games are my fave, so i tend to stick with Ninty and Sony)!! LOL, but i truly hope you consider Wrack for PS4 or next gen consoles in general. I’ve played it at a friends and absolutely adored what i played and will pick it up when i get my big rig PC sorted mid next year, but nonetheless, spread the joy!

  4. Not retro, but I do refer to it as old school.

    The sad truth is that the fast paced, 8+ weapon toting, non-health regen FPS has been out of style/production for quite awhile. Sure, some pop up every now and then but they are quite rare and never get much attention. Some genres have had the same style for over a decade so you won’t ever hear of one being made as retro. For example, when was the last time you heard someone complain that there aren’t enough old-school RTS games?

    So yes, I’d say it’s safe to say that the gameplay is old school because it’s very similar to the style which was popular over a decade ago but is almost never seen these days.

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