Say howdy to West Of Loathing Demo — a single-player slapstick humor, adventure role-playing game set in the wild west of the Kingdom of Loathing universe. Traverse snake-infested gulches, punch skeletons wearing cowboy hats, grapple with demon cows, and explore a wide array of disgusting spittoons. You may also like Yonder The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
Talk your way out of trouble as a silver-tongued Snake Oiler, plumb the refried mysteries of the cosmos as a subtle and wise Beanslinger, or let your fists do the talking as a ferocious Cow Puncher. Explore a vast open world and experience a colorful cast of characters, some of whom are great, lots of whom are bad, and a couple of whom are ugly.
West Of Loathing Demo is a ridiculous Wild West RPG for PCs in the development of this browser-based fantasy MMO Kingdom of Loathing, which was equally silly.
To the untrained eye, West Of Loathing Demo looks unbelievably simplistic, with its stick figure art and monochromatic palette. But it represents a huge leap
“It is weird — so a number of the things which are new in our most recent game is just things like ‘you’re a character going around in the distance’ or ‘there’s music,'” says creative director Zack Johnson. “Fundamental stuff, but since the Kingdom of Loathing was just a web page, this is whole new territory for us.”
Having movement, animated characters and enemies, music, and other things most programmers take for granted was a massive change for the studio, especially when they wanted to keep that same sense of absurd humor that made Kingdom of Loathing so popular with its fans since its launch in 2003.
Intelligent work with animation, searching for strengths in supposing constraints, knowing what the staff was comfortable doing, rather than letting go of the desire to earn the remainder of the development group laugh could help them get over those hurdles.
Moving out of a website-based fantasy RPG into an entirely animated Wild West RPG can look like a huge jump, but to the programmers, both milieus feel adjacent to one another.
“I have always felt like the Wild West was just as appropriate a setting for a fantasy RPG as the bizarre default depiction of medieval Europe is,” says Johnson.
“It has got an immediately comprehensible level of technology, lots of cliched good vs. Evil tropes, an inherently hostile environment for research, a focus on treasure and fighting. There are a lot of reasons it functions like a dream setting. It has always been shocking to me that more RPGs are not put there, and I guess I wanted to do my part to correct the oversight.”
A scribbled variant of Medieval Europe was where they’d spent much of the time in the Kingdom of Loathing, will Turtle Tamers and Pastamancers fight their way through ridiculous situations and fight against rabbits, crates, and knob goblins.
The many expectations of the atmosphere, as Johnson laid out, may also be moved to a Wild West setting, just rather than Pastamancers, a gun-toting Beanslinger or silver-tongued Snake Oiler could fill in the function. Magic might seem strange in this setting, but Asymmetric found that superior technology, frontier spirituality, and high explosives could fill that same role.
It had been more than adhering to a familiar sort of atmosphere that helped Johnson develop West Of Loathing Demo. Knowing the group’s strengths for years working on Kingdom of Loathing would also assist them grow in this new land.
“Working on the Kingdom of Loathing for so long has taught us what our strengths are as a business, which helped us construct West Of Loathing Demo in a manner that facilitated them, as opposed to getting in the way of these,” says Johnson.
“We can make plenty of content in relatively little time, provided that the tools are developed to make it easy to add things to the game.”
This was something Johnson and the team at Asymmetric had heard over some different titles they had previously made in between both Loathing games.
“We made a few different matches between the Kingdom of Loathing and The West Of Loathing Demo which were each instructive in another manner,” he says. “Word Realms is a Flash-based word battle game, kind of a Battle Scrabble. It was supposed to be a fast project, but it dragged on for many years because of the engine and tools not supporting our workflow very well.”
West Of Loathing Demo seems to be a massive departure from anything the programmer had done previously, but in every facet, Johnson discovered a portion of the familiar. The new atmosphere, the relatively ambitious activity, the non-static imagery, all shot through with the distinct comic sensibility that gamers expect from Asymmetric. “I don’t believe we could make a critical match if we tried,” says Johnson.
A sprawling open world, chock full of risk, quests, puzzles, and puzzles
Lush hand-drawn black and white images
Full stick-figure customization
Tens of thousands of jokes, gags, and goofs
Crunchy turn-based battle (but only in case you would like it)
More than 50 hits
A drunk horse
OS: Windows XP SP2+
Processor: 2.8 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo or better
Processor: 3.3 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo or better
Memory: 4 GB RAM