How Relic Hunters Legend grew from its F2P mobile roots into a 90s cartoon-style shooter

Developer Rogue Snail discusses the growth of the Relic Hunters story and what the team hopes to see from Legend's early access stint.

Gearbox Publishing

Developer Rogue Snail had a story that it wanted to tell of a ragtag band of space renegades taking on an evil empire of duck people. It was quaint for a mobile title, but the studio wanted to shoot for the stars. With the aid of publisher Gearbox, it appears to be doing just that with Relic Hunters Legend. It recently launched in early access and has taken a big stylistic jump from its predecessor, 2017's Relic Hunters: Rebels and its remaster Relic Hunters Zero.

Development on Relic Hunters Legend is in progress, and to learn more, we spoke with members of the Rogue Snail team. They discuss the continuing growth of the Relic Hunters series, Legend's early access period, the importance of Legend's new main character, and what players can expect from the future.

The hub in Relic Hunters Legend

Source: Gearbox Publishing

Shacknews: What made you want to continue the story of the Relic Hunters with this new game?

Pedro Falcão, Lead Narrative Designer: With the success of Relic Hunters Zero, released as a free-to-play game with millions of downloads, we felt there was much more to explore in this universe. Our community was always eager to play a Relic Hunters game with friends and family, so adding a multiplayer game mode was one of the most requested features we’d receive back then. We decided to take a step further and create a whole new game that would be focused on a multiplayer experience, with deep looter-shooter mechanics, while also expanding the world building and character development of this universe. That’s how Relic Hunters Legend was born.

Shacknews: There's a noticeably different art and animation style compared to the previous Relic Hunters game. How did you decide on this specific style?

Falcão: As we decided to expand to multiplayer gameplay and a deep story campaign in Relic Hunters Legend, it was a no-brainer to fully flesh out a 2D, cartoonish style for the game as well. Betu Souza, one of the Relic Hunters franchise creators, was always a huge fan of Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon animated shows from the 90s, so from the get-go, we wanted to imprint that typical Saturday morning cartoon vibe in the game. We wanted people to feel like they were playing and talking with their favorite characters from those shows back in the day.

Shacknews: The other big difference between Relic Hunters Legend and its predecessor is that there seems to be a much greater emphasis on playing with friends. How often can players expect to find new missions to jump into, and will any new missions play into the overall story?

Falcão: We just released Relic Hunters Legend in Early Access, so there’s a lot of content we want to bring to the game, including the conclusion of our main character Seven's story. They start out as a simple amnesiac time-traveler, but find out they have a bigger role in this universe than previously imagined, and they'll have to make tough decisions in order to survive the Ducans and all the other baddies threatening the galaxy.

Besides the main story, we're also planning tons of End Game content and game modes, which we can’t wait for our community to get their hands on.

Fighting with friends in Relic Hunters Legend

Source: Gearbox Publishing

Shacknews: Speaking of the story, where is the story of Relic Hunters Legend? It looks like the Relic Hunters are still fighting the forces of the Ducan Empire, but now there's a new protagonist. What can you tell us about this new character?

Falcão: Seven is a mysterious character. At the beginning of the game, they wake up without any memories at all, but quickly find out they have amazing time-traveling powers. Seven ends up stumbling into the titular Relic Hunters, who befriends Seven and help them learn about their past and the nature of these powers. At first, the Hunters are amazed with Seven’s powers, but soon they learn that messing with time comes with a hefty price.

Personally, the story we tell in Relic Hunters Legend is very dear to us as Brazilian game devs. After hundreds of years of an exploitative colonization, slavery and several military coups in the modern days of our country’s history, we have developed a complicated relationship with memories in Brazil, as they are both deeply painful but also fundamental to understanding where we came from. So we believe that, just as Seven in Relic Hunters Legend, learning how to deal with our past mistakes is essential to build a proper future for everyone.

Shacknews: What sorts of new environments will players explore over the course of the story and through multiplayer sessions with their friends?

Falcão: Right now, there are more than 50 missions spread through six regions in the Early Access release of Relic Hunters Legend, ranging from desert plains to cold mountain peaks, from an ocean made out of trash to the lush gardens of Semilla City, the capital of the Ducan Empire - and we plan to add much more until the final launch.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but just to give an example of what we’re working on at the moment, there’s this wholly new part of the universe with new missions, characters and story adventures, and we’re really excited to show them to our community soon.

Shacknews: You're starting off in early access. How do you hope to improve the game over the course of its early access stint? What sort of player feedback are you looking for in order to ultimately improve the overall experience?

Renata Rapyo, CEO: We have just released in Early Access, so of course we are just beginning! We have a lot more stuff coming for Relic Hunters Legend. Without spoiling the surprise, I can mention a few things: there will be an entire new Act of the story and of course, this wouldn’t be a good looter game if we didn’t add more loot!

We are creating forums to discuss the game features in depth with our community on Discord to try and understand how they are feeling about things so far. We did several Betas to get their feedback prior to Early Access and we intend on continuously doing this to create the best experience possible for them!

Shacknews: Lastly, you've been working on Relic Hunters Legend for many years. In that time, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world hard, but your team persevered with everyone going and remaining fully remote to this day. Tell me about the benefits of everyone being fully remote. How are you able to thrive in ways that you wouldn't be able to by going back to a central office location?

Rapyo: Actually, Rogue has always been remote. When the founders started the studio back in 2014, they wanted people to be able to work from anywhere that would make them comfortable. We truly believe that geographical diversity brings people diversity.

We have used several tools to create virtual offices in which people would be able to interact with each other and form bonds. We have some dynamics as well to integrate people from different teams and areas.

This is our current office in Each development team has a designed area to create their tables, and you can just walk by and talk to whoever you want. Just like in a real office. We try to let everyone express themselves by decorating their tables at the office. Some pretty fun tables come up every now and then.

Another thing that is important to mention is that we have people in nearly all geographical areas of Brazil, and other Brazilians, that live abroad but still want to keep working for a Brazilian studio and strengthening the Latin American industry. Being fully remote allows us to live our dream of being either in the mountains or the beach, and still keep doing what we love, with people that we love.

Relic Hunters Legend is available now on PC through Steam Early Access. For more, be sure to check out our full preview.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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