Rad – PS4 Gameplay | PlayStation Underground

LEE: Not only do we have
break dancing in the game, but if you
actually get up there — this is the teen
area where they hang out. This person does some
beatboxing up there. TIM: Excellent. [INTRO MUSIC PLAYING] TIM: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to another episode
of PlayStation Underground. You got Tim and Kristen here. KRISTEN: Hey. TIM: And we’re joined by Lee
Petty and Kevin Johnson from Double Fine Productions. Lee is creative director on
RAD and Kevin is the producer. And we’re gonna
have a “rad” time. Thanks for joining you guys. LEE AND KEVIN: Yeah.
Thanks for having us. TIM: So where are we right now? The world looks
kind of beautiful, but it looks a little
worn down in other ways. KRISTEN: Kevin on the sticks.
We’re playing on a PS4 Pro. LEE: Yes. So, you know, RAD is a game
set in a post-apocalyptic world. KRISTEN: Double the apocalypse. LEE: We’re Double Fine, so
we need a double apocalypse. KRISTEN: So on brand. LEE: You know, it’s
a roguelike game, so every game you play is
procedurally-generated except for the
town where you start. And your character is
a member of this town, and it’s kind of the
hub you can go to between each of the levels. And it’s built on the ruins
of a an old shopping mall. And, you know, it’s appropriate. And all of our player characters
are these sort of teenage volunteers in the town who have
been remade by the town elder, who is that character with
the purple robe over there. TIM: That ominous
gentleman over there. LEE: Yeah. He’s this mysterious character
who kind of knows a lot about the world and the two
eras of the civilizations that have come before you. So there’s the first apocalypse
which was referred to as The Ancients in our game world. And that’s a nuclear Armageddon
that happened in the 80s. And then hundreds
of years later, another civilization rose up
called The Menders who tried to reconstruct the world and try
to mend it and try to heal it. And they suddenly disappeared. KRISTEN: I love that
breakdancing was essential to the culture. LEE: Not only do we have
breakdancing in the game, but if you
actually get up there, this is the teen area
where they hang out. This person does some
beatboxing up there. TIM: Excellent. What better place to beatbox
than on a broken down bus? KRISTEN: Love it. LEE: It’s true. So the town has this sort of
area where the adults hang out. And out in this parking lot, we
call it “The Lost Boys” area. Out in this parking lot, this
is where the teens hang out to try to be rebellious. But, of course, they’re 50
feet from the rest of the town. TIM: It’s symbolic really.
It’s the thought that counts. You end up coming back to the
hub in between runs as you were. So are we ready to jump out
into the world and get going, or is there preparation
that would be helpful here? LEE: Yeah. I think the important part to
note is that you start off as this sort of
normal teen character, relatively normal in
this strange world, but you’ve be remade so you can
absorb the Rads or the toxins in this world. And we’re gonna randomly mutate. So every time you play,
we’re gonna randomly mutate. TIM: Okay. LEE: We’re gonna jump. You’re gonna take one
of these transference gates The Menders have left behind. And this will take you to a
random place in the world. KRISTEN: Nice. TIM: So radiation good? LEE: Strangely
enough in this game, the knowledge people have of
physical phenomenon of the Armageddon is really imperfect, so they refer to any
toxins as “the Rads.” And you’ve be reengineered. Your DNA has been reordered
using these Mender machines so that you can
absorb the Rads and survive. Otherwise, if that happened and
you were a normal person in the now walking out
in the wasteland, you would succumb
to the toxins. TIM: Got it.
To be avoided. I guess we should note that
the player skin we have here is Glitch, right? LEE: Yes, this is Glitch. TIM: And it’s one of two
player skins you can get for pre-ordering RAD. So very cool.
I like the tights. Do I see a fanny pack there? LEE: There is a fanny pack. KRISTEN: Big hair. LEE: Big hair. They sort of look back
somewhat fondly at these ancient civilizations not really
understanding what they were about, but just sort of see
these icons and assume they were of important
cultural significance. TIM: Much like Pac-Man there,
which is beautiful obviously. The game is being
published by Bandai Namco, so taking full
advantage of that. That’s awesome. LEE: It’s pretty neat. We have — you see that
we picked up a key there. The key is floppy
disks in this game. TIM: Brilliant. LEE: The units of currency are
those audio cassette tapes you can see in the upper right HUD,
and floppies are the keys that activate a lot of
things you can find. KRISTEN: Oh, nice. TIM: I love the trail of
grass and flowers following you. Both esthetically
really beautiful, but also if you end up in
an area and you get lost, the breadcrumb
trail is really useful. LEE: Yeah. Because we have this big,
procedurally-assembled world and it’s not a room
to room assembly, you can get kind of lost. So early on we wanted to come up
with a mechanic that helped the player find their way. But it also was really neat
because it let us explore the theme of the game, which one of
the themes is you’re sort of — the youth is sort of trying to
fix this world that has been messed up by the
previous civilizations, right? So your body absorbs the Rads. A byproduct is really
leaving this grass trail. And you’ll see as we play here,
it has more gameplay impact as well and bigger
forms of transformation. KRISTEN: Nice. TIM: It’s very cool. Can you talk a little bit about
since it is a roguelike game, what is the punishment for
dying midrun and what sort of progression might
carry over between runs? What’s that like? LEE: Yeah. We see here
one of the things he’s doing is activating a respirator. So what these do is they’ll kick off a bigger
form of transformation. And they shoot lasers out of
their mouth pointing towards the gate forward to the next level. Each biome has a
different amount of gates you have to activate. You can see in the upper
right we’ve done one of two. So we give the player a really
simple high-level goal and don’t do a lot of exposition,
a lot of tutorialization. We leave people to
explore for themselves. TIM: Is this our
first mutation here. LEE: Yeah. See, Kevin here has absorbed
enough Rads that his Rad meter
filled to the top there. And when that happens, you get a random
Exo mutation as we call them. Each one of these mutations
has a different ability. The player has a compendium,
a Tome of the Ancients, that unlock, and you can
see all that stuff. And they have
different ways of using it. So instead of the player
defining their character class, we challenge the player to adapt
their playstyle to whatever happens in each session. So these wings that he got
will let him cross gaps, but they also kick off a
defensive knock back when he uses them. And they can even potentially
deflect other things. So it’s not quite a
defensive mutation, but it’s also got some offensive
capabilities because you can, say, kick off
and go up in the air and come back
with a ground pound. So you see one
of the things he got here was a Fire Shield Heart. And you see we have a special
Fire Heart up here on our HUD. There are other machines
hidden throughout the world. And this underground area
he’s in is called the Great Underground, and it was
leftover by the Menders. So in addition to
these exterior spaces, we have a whole lot of interiors
that are largely optional, and they present a
little more challenging, but a little more reward. So inside here there are shops. There’s those additional
machines that can give you what’s called “Endo Mutations,”
these internal mutations that give you passive benefits, all sorts of stuff that happens
over the course of the game. TIM: And just esthetically, a
complete departure form what it looks like on top,
which is awesome. Speaking of the esthetics, the
overall art direction of the entire game is, like, awesome. KRISTEN: Very colorful. LEE: Would you say it’s “rad?” Sorry. TIM: That’s one way to put it. KRISTEN: How many times will
we say “rad” in this episode, you guys? TIM: I always
really love the bold, black outlines on the character
which just makes it really readable despite
how dense and, like, active the scenery is. KRISTEN: It gives
it a pop art feel. LEE: Yeah. When we were kind of looking
at art styles that inspired us, we wanted the graphic
boldness that was in some of the source material. 80s graphic novels
were a big thing for me, some of the European artists. Not necessarily the content,
but the rich color and strong graphic design
choices, you know. That’s stuff we we’re
really interested in. TIM: Looks great. And so, you know, Kevin, maybe we can hear
about the battle tactics. I just saw an eyeball
grow out of that plant, and that was lobbed at
an enemy as an explosive, which seems like that
was really effective. Any general tips for
surviving on a first run here? KEVIN: Generally speaking,
dodging is gonna be your friend. Allows you to avoid
attacks like that. And then we’ve got these
environmental elements that you can use. So if you do it, but
sometimes that happens. Also using your full move set. So Jump Kick is good. We got this Lunge attack. And then when you’re
surrounded by enemies, what’s really useful is this
Charge attack will clear out some space around you. LEE: You always have
your bat with you, so that’s kind of the
base level mutation — or base level combat. And we’ve got a bunch of
different combos the player can do to keep it interesting. But ultimately your mutations
are where the strength are. You’ll continue to mutate as
you play and get more and more mutations that
can branch and evolve and be combined with each other. And so the bat is important
early game but then becomes a little less important as you
become more and more powerful. TIM: Speaking of
combining things, was Kevin able to reach that
flying enemy to Jump Kick better because of the wings? LEE: I think in that particular
case our standard Jump Kick would hit them, but
depending on what’s going on, that could
absolutely be the case. And we sometimes have areas — because part of our game
is exploration-based, we wanted to
keep our traversal interesting. So you see Kevin take
a big shortcut there. KRISTEN: Nice. LEE: And if you fall off
the cliffs in our game, you take some damage, and
your bat teleports you back. It’s a special bat, right? But the wings give you
opportunity to cross gaps and maybe save
yourself from falling as well that you wouldn’t
otherwise have. Because, and it’s not so much
in the single-player game — we don’t have a multiplayer but
our daily challenge mode or community mode
there’s time bonuses. So a lot of times you’re trying
to optimize your run time. TIM: Okay. LEE: And things like wings will
let you maybe skip parts of the level and really go faster. See, he didn’t
have to go around. He could jump up. So they have some
movement advantages. KRISTEN: And now the
way forward is open. LEE: Yeah. These gates we
mentioned are in every level. We get a little keytar
solo when that opens there. We actually have I think
120 keytar solos in game. TIM: Is that all? LEE: Jordan Rudess who’s a
pretty well-known keytar player did all of our solos. So it was super cool. TIM: That’s awesome. I’m also loving the overall sort
of synthwave soundtrack here. KRISTEN: I was gonna say, I was
chatting with Kevin beforehand. I loved just in general the
influx of 80s nostalgia lately in games and TV. And the synthwave soundtrack — you definitely have to nail the
music to really get that feel. And you guys have
done a great job here. LEE: Thanks. Our composer, David Earl, we
worked with him on Headlander, a game I worked on previously. He did a lot of 70s
synth music for that game. And he really brought his
expertise in 80s music as well. You know, it’s something he
has a personal passion for. TIM: It fits perfectly when
you’re fighting a crab with an 80s punk mohawk as well. LEE: That would be a Land
Louse that we’re fighting here. So this first boss fight
after the first biome is almost kind
of a mini-boss fight. You’re fighting alpha versions
or evolved versions of some of the mutants you see out there,
so it’s kind of a warm-up. It’s one of the few times we
really trap the player in a space and make you have to
kind of defeat the enemy. Normally, we let the player — KRISTEN: If you want to keep
walking, you keep walking. LEE: You can keep walking, or you can really
use the environment. You can get them in
a group to get a kill streak or an annihilation bonus. There’s a lot of options. We try to keep a lot of freeform
improvisation because you never know what enemies or what the
world is gonna be like because it’s procedurally-generated. We have these chokepoints.
This guy is a pretty tough one. TIM: He is tough. He’s giving us a run
for our money here. LEE: So when you defeat him, you get to digest the
heart of your enemy. TIM: What else
would you do with it? LEE: The Wasteland
gets an appetite. In this case you
see what it did? It split his heart. So instead of having
a two-piece heart, we have a three-piece heart. TIM: So an extra hit basically? LEE: Yeah. So, now, we can go
back to town if we wanted to or we could go
right to the next. We give the player the option. So the town is — you asked earlier what’s
persistent and what’s not. And the town is persistent. So the player, when you
die, you lose it all. However, the town has a
bank and has an armory, has a farm, has a lot of things
that you can contribute to during your runs that
will upgrade over time. And any of those investments
you made are there for all time. KRISTEN: Oh nice. So it will benefit you
throughout the game? LEE: Yeah. Both the townspeople from
a storytelling standpoint. But also, for example, if you
upgrade your bank to its first tier, you start being able to — well, there’s a few
different tiers of the bank, but one of them let’s you start
to access the ATM networks that are out in the Wasteland, so you don’t have to
carry all of your money. You might lose it. You can withdraw some.
With a penalty, right? They have a fee.
It’s not free. TIM: It’s an ATM. KRISTEN: Does anyone,
when you get back to town, do they say, hey,
you got wings now? Or is it just completely normal
to be showing back up with mutations. LEE: No. In fact, that’s one of
the major themes of our game. When you’re making the
world a better place, you’re becoming
something less than human, and we play with that a
little bit in the dialogue. So we have written — Gabe Cinquepalmi,
our lead designer, wrote a lot of this dialogue. I don’t know how many. We have thousands
of lines, really, that all are based on
what mutations you have. So the town’s people have
their own personalities because they’re persistent. Some of them will say, thanks
for taking one for the team, sort of thing. Other people are like, please,
don’t make eye contact with me. We’ve got a few of them that
will cower until you go away. They’re not trying
to be mean but it’s — KRISTEN: It’s a brand-new world. LEE: And in addition
to the townspeople, we’ve got communities out in
the Wasteland that you find. And our game isn’t really about
humanity fighting each other. We didn’t want to make a game
about murdering other people for the last resources. That’s been trod so much. And in our case, they’re just all trying to make
due and trying to hold on to the elements of
civilization they want. But they do have
different reactions to you. So the community in the first —
you see Kevin’s using his wings. TIM: Good tactic. Impressive. LEE: So the community in
this first world are called The Cathode Raiders. And they’re obsessed with
80s technology and stuff. So they often sell artifacts, which we don’t have
any at the moment. And you can use these as another
method of increasing your strength and giving
you unique abilities. They’re a little — if you
come up with really extreme mutations, they might
have a strange reaction. But in our second biome, we’ve
got a group of individuals called The Transfigured who are
heavily mutated themselves. So if you show up
with heavy mutations, they actually give you
discounts in their shop. KRISTEN: Oh nice. TIM: That’s great.
One of us. LEE: Yes, exactly. TIM: Speaking of second biome,
esthetically this first biome, you got this blasted
Wasteland sort of look, obviously with RAD
zone flourish to it. What is that second biome like? LEE: Our game gets progressively
more surreal and more surprising as it goes on, not
only on your character, but the biomes themselves. This one, kind of what
you’d expect from a wasteland, our take on that. And the second one is
called The Hollow Forest. And it’s this
incredibly overgrown, where cables and machinery
are intertwined with trees and the mutants
are more extreme. And there’s more unusual
types of undergrounds. I won’t spoil too much. And you see less of
the 80s culture, The Ancients culture,
and more of The Menders. You see their temples. They have a quasi-religious
structure to their society. So you start to
see more of that. KRISTEN: I love that
kind world building. TIM: It’s great. And that’s interesting because
I’m accustomed to Double Fine games having great world
building and a unique style to it, but a roguelike is a really
interesting — I can’t think of a Double Fine game that has
really broached this genre. What drew you to it to begin
with to start work on RAD? LEE: Yeah. It’s something
that’s pretty new for us. I think a couple things. One is, what I really like about
roguelikes is the surprise, it’s the unexpected drama. And I kind of feel like that’s a
core sensibility for us in that we try to surprise people that
are making unusual choices with some of the characters. And I was interested to see — that little guy stole his
cash and ran off with it. TIM: You gotta get him back. LEE: Actually,
stole his consumable, his Happy Fruit as we call it. I think we’re talking, but one
of the things that can happen in your grass trail is
you’ll see things grow in it. And some of those
you can pick up. TIM: Oh really? LEE: Yeah. TIM: Is that sort of
just a random occurrence, or can you make it so you get
more of those from time to time? LEE: Kind of both. So you can see he just saved
himself from that cliff fall with those wings. So one of the things
is that, you know, over time you might learn where
they’re more likely to grow depending on the biome, but
they are randomly spawned. But your trail of grass and
things behind can expand over time with different mutations
and that will increase the chance of you pulling those out. And those are interesting
because you can eat them for health in this case, but you
can also take them back to town. Someone in town is asking
for things to grow a farm, and that can have a
multi-run impact. TIM: Excellent. LEE: So you always
have choices I think. That’s really what
this genre is about, interesting choices. KRISTEN: I like this
time-slowing-down ability. LEE: Yeah.
He just got Chronobellum. He’s got a hindbrain that’s
grown on his lower back there. And that let’s
them slow down time. Kind of being blurred out
with that effect at the moment, but it’s down in
that area there. KRISTEN: That’s where brains go. TIM: If you need to
store a second one. LEE: It’s true. We don’t want to
lose our primary brain. And each of these mutations — so we have two of these
Exo mutations now. We can get a third, and they’ll all be
visualized on the character. And some of them have
combinations with each other. And then if you keep
playing and living, they’ll each evolve and branch
again in a random direction. So we try to keep the whole
experience of the character’s experience dynamic over the
course of the game in addition to you can get bat
upgrades; there’s consumables; there’s artifacts;
there’s this Endo Mutation; there’s really just a lot
of combinations in our game. It’s funny, it’s a really
hard game to test because we’re
trying to balance the game. Someone would be like, I got a combination I
haven’t seen in six months. We’re like, maybe there’s
something wrong with the data. No. We just have
a lot of combinations. TIM: You never quite
know what you’re gonna get. KEVIN: So the gates are
definitely on an island right there, so I’m
wondering if I can fly to it. TIM: They’re
pointing towards it. So you wouldn’t have
been really sure of that until you activated all of them. LEE: Kevin could be
bold and try to fly out to that since we’re at full health. KEVIN: Sure. Let’s see. KRISTEN: Since
we’re full of health. LEE: Since we’re full of health,
that’s what happens. He made it. Normally, you’d have to go
through the underground to connect here. TIM: But he got those wings. LEE: So we just
saved a bunch of time and skipped a
chunk of the level. And he’s gonna go right
in for the full boss here. TIM: Oh boy. Okay. LEE: Bosses — we’re
not sure — here we go. This is B’Donk. So B’Donk kind of jumps
around a bit and jiggles. TIM: Okay. Fair.
All right. LEE: Even our bosses are
kind of randomly-assigned. There’s choices you
learn that could happen. So this boss kind of
creates other little fliers. So you got to try to
manage your minion. He’s doing a lot of fire
propagation on the ground. And Kevin’s in
trouble a little bit. TIM: B’Donk is objectively
pretty disgusting but also kind of cute. I’m really conflicted right now. LEE: And that’s actually the
uncomfortability we wanted people to have. We like things that are kind
of charming and memorable. But I think in the case of
a post-apocalyptic thing, I call it the “charming
apocalypse” because there’s always something
disturbing going on too, but hopefully it’s a disturbing
that makes you kind of laugh. TIM: Yes. LEE: That’s some of the stuff I
love is the colorful dystopia, the charming apocalypse, that stuff where it makes it a
little more approachable. It’s not all brown and it’s not one-note of
everything is messed up. TIM: If you unpack what’s
actually happening here on paper, it’s pretty
grim and, oh man, this is a rough post apocalypse. But then you look at it, and that visual flair
and tone really elevates it. LEE: You know, I think that we
have some interesting subtext to the game. Here’s a town willing to sort
of send its teenagers off as mutants to fix their problems. But at the same time, the
teens are kind of all right. There’s a little bit of style. There’s still a
sense of adventure. They’re becoming more powerful
and maybe finding their place in the world on their own terms instead of being
locked behind the gates. TIM: Yeah. You want to branch out
and discover yourself while you discover the world. I would have died a
minute and have ago. KRISTEN: Kevin,
you’re doing a great job. LEE: Kevin’s making
it look pretty easy. KEVIN: This is not easy. KRISTEN: As the Kill
Streak X5 comes up. LEE: You can see — we talked about keys
and those open chests. There’s a chrome skull in
most boss arena’s in the corner, and that’s a boss chest. So if you saved yourself, maybe
starved your use of keys in the environment, there’s always
one of these in the boss arena. And they almost always contain
health or something that will help you in a boss fight. So it’s a choice the
player sometimes makes when they learn that. Do I use it to get
this cool thing now or hold onto it
in case I need it? TIM: If you make it that far. So it’s risk/reward.
It’s great. So B’donk is a very
good name for a boss. How did you come up with it? LEE: There’s so many
puns in this game and so many references. You know, we, of course, tried to satisfy people
who were into the 80s. We have some 80s satire. But we also have some
contemporary stuff to play on words. Like, our
mutations were another. You saw Chronobellum
was one of those, Time Brain. One of my favorite
mutations — okay. Take ’em out. One of my favorite
mutations is called Death Roe, and it’s a tell that let’s you
produce eggs that launch babies. So it’s a play on words. TIM: Nice. KEVIN: This is one of my
favorite items right here. LEE: He got High Tops. So High Tops are an artifact. What High Tops do is they
give you a double jump. And one of the cool things about
our double jumps is that they not only let you get to
higher places in the game, but also they have all these
cool, optional jump flourishes. So our animators looked
at a lot of glam rock, specifically we spent a lot of
time with probably stuff from Mr. David Lee Roth and all
sort of weird karate kicks. We have all these
custom animations. And they change even
based on mutation. But it gives you
tactical advantages. TIM: That’s incredible. So by beating this boss, is this sort of the
gateway to the next biome? LEE: It would be,
yeah, or the town. So Kevin has forty three bucks,
but he could go back to town and put them into the bank
there because maybe he’ll die. TIM: I feel like you’ve
described a little bit about what we would do in the town. Is it possible for us
before we say good-bye to take a peek at
the next biome? KEVIN: Yeah, sure. TIM: You teased it before, so
now I feel like this is a great chance to take a look at it. LEE: Normally, Kevin’s
pretty good at the game. It might take you many
playthroughs to be able to reach the second biome
for the first time. TIM: It definitely would for me. Yeah.
Is there any other — so dodging
is a big tip for early on if I want to stick
around a little bit longer. And you mentioned once you
get three sort of abilities or mutations that you can
branch off from there. Can you also if you see
something new, swap it out. KRISTEN: Just rip off those
wings and get rid of them. LEE: Yeah. So we try to balance giving the
player some agency over their mutations while also sort
of saying this is just the randomness of the world. And so one of the things you
can find are these mutations, other machines that let you
manipulate your mutations. One of which does
let you toss it out and it’ll give
you a random new one. So if you have one
that you don’t care for, you could do that. Or maybe if you really like one, there’s a machine
that let’s you level it up. TIM: Oh, cool. Okay. LEE: Through bad
upgrades and artifact choices, those can also intersect
with mutations in a way. So, for example, if you find a
mutation that is good for range stuff, you can get internal
mutations artifacts that can augment that. TIM: Okay. Cool. I think that
makes a lot of sense. It makes every run
feel really distinct. These are the
three I got that run. What will I get this time
with some tweaks in there. LEE: One of the things about
roguelikes is it’s about working with imperfect tools
perhaps to solve the problem. The stories that you tell
yourself and your friends after playing through a
roguelike are really fun. “I only had one health,
but I got the double jump, High Tops, and I got to
this crazy hidden island. You can see we found a shop. And this is an example
of the transfigured. So this is a
community that’s out here, and they’re a
little less than human. We’ve got a little
fish head character here. KRISTEN: I love every time you
pause it goes “Paaauuuusssse.” LEE: We’ve a ton of crazy
announcer dialogue in the game. That’s sort of the
voice of the town elder. You sort of learn by
watching that cut scene. So he sort of comments
on all the things you do. And sometimes uses 80s
terms because he believes that the evoking of those terms
brings you good fortune, that the words are power. He’s completely wrong, often
misuses them in comical ways. We try to play on that
historical erosion of knowledge. TIM: That’s so exciting. Well, this was an
awesome little sneak peek at the second biome here. Kevin, thank you so much for
joining us and showing us
some of RAD here. So the game is out
on PS4 August 20th, not long to wait at this point. Thank you so much for joining
us and showing us the game. LEE: Thanks for having us. KEVIN: Thanks for having us.
This was great. [OUTRO MUSIC PLAYING]

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