Last year, Dave the Diver was a breakout hit thanks to the Steam Next Fest, and developer MINTROCKET is back again with Wakerunners, which has a demo available for players to try during the February 2024 Steam Next Fest. While Wakerunners was developed by a separate team from Dave the Diver, MINTROCKET looks to replicate its success with this new competitive, multiplayer title. Players looking to test their skills in a new fast-paced, physics-based competition will find that Wakerunners draws inspiration from a variety of different multiplayer experiences.
Game Rant recently talked to Wakerunners Game Director ChaeHyun Lim about the inspiration behind the game, what players can expect from its gameplay, and how the Steam Next Fest will influence its development. Lim spoke about a passion for action games, and how they could translate this experience to a top-down title, while still making the game accessible to newcomers and giving hardcore competitive players a game that rewards skillful gameplay. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
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MINTROCKET Game Director Talks Inspiration Behind Wakerunners
Q: What made you want to create a multiplayer team battle game?
Lim: We wanted to provide gamers with a new and unique experience. While genres like AOS and MOBAs are popular for top-down perspective games, we wanted to bring fast-paced action games to top-down perspective and create the most immersive game experience.
Q: What are some of the games or other pieces of media that inspired Wakerunners?
Lim: I love fast-paced action games like Tekken, Call of Duty, and Overwatch. I wanted to create an action game that requires quick thinking, judgment, and reflexes, and our game incorporates these points. We were careful not to make it too much like the AOS genre.
Q: What is the significance behind the name “Wakerunners?”
Lim: Wakerunners is a key set within the game’s universe, which are a combination of “Wakers,” who are humans with new abilities with biometric information, and “Runners,” who use acceleration and deceleration skills.
Q: Can you tell us about why you chose to develop Wakerunners in UE4 instead of another engine?
Lim: Many developers were experienced in Unreal Engine 4, and MINTROCKET’s goal was to develop the game quickly, so we chose an engine with which we were familiar.
Diving into Wakerunners’ Gameplay Mechanics
Q: Wakerunners’ acceleration and deceleration mechanic seems to be a core part of its gameplay. Can you tell us about your process for designing this mechanic?
Lim: Yes, acceleration and deceleration are the core of the game. They are designed to be applied as the difference in skill between players and a factor in skill progression. Due to the physics of acceleration, it is impossible to stop instantly in the game, so how you control acceleration and deceleration will determine if you can win the battle between players.
Q: How important is strategic team composition in Wakerunners? Do you have any predictions about the Wakerunners meta?
Lim: Each mode has characters that can have a strong impact, but in general combat, the meta doesn’t have that much of an impact – it’s all about your reflexes and physicality.
Q: Can you tell us more about the different types of game modes that will be available in Wakerunners? Which of these modes is your favorite?
Lim: Most of the battlefields are set up with a large amount of movement and space to allow for accelerated battle. To make the best use of this acceleration, we have designed modes with clear objectives so that players can fight fiercely with a goal in mind.
Q: Most of Wakerunners’ gameplay seems to be PvP-focused. Are there any plans for co-op or PvE modes?
Lim: We’re considering a lot of different things for our game. It’s still an internal discussion, but we’re considering rules like PUBG and experimenting with modes like Splatoon. We’re always open to prototyping and adding different modes if they’re interesting.
Q: How much customization can players expect when it comes to each individual character’s skills and abilities?
Lim: Every character has melee and ranged attacks, special skills, and ultimate skills that can make the difference between winning and losing a game in critical situations. If you use them carefully and according to the game’s situation, the psychology and expectations that you play around can turn the tables at any time, even when the odds are stacked against you. This keeps you focused until the end of the game.
Q: The Steam Next Fest Demo features seven playable characters. Can players expect to see even more at launch?
Lim: When the time comes for the official release, we’ll be adding more characters to showcase to our players. We’ll use the feedback from this playtest to make improvements and add more compelling characters.
Q: Do you have a favorite character?
Lim: There’s a character named Eliza with the highest attacking damage, but she’s also the most difficult to control. She’s my favorite character because if players get used to her, players will be able to perform at their best.
Q: What kind of post-launch support can players expect for Wakerunners?
Lim: We’ll be listening to your feedback at Steam Next Fest to ensure you feel the best possible improvements in the next release, but we also want to keep you updated on our progress, so you don’t get bored waiting for Wakerunners.
Q: Steam Next Fest helped make Dave the Diver a viral hit. How can interested fans support Wakerunners during the Steam Next Fest?
Lim: We’d be grateful if players could participate in the upcoming playtest, join our Discord, and keep up with the various game news.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like players to know?
Lim: Wakerunners is a game based on a unique movement called acceleration movement. It’s a bit adventurous, but it was developed to find new fun as a game developer regardless of success or failure. We hope you’ll give us a lot of attention and feedback through this Steam Next Fest.
Wakerunners is now in development for PC. A demo of the game can be played during the February 2024 Steam Next Fest.