Everything you need to know about Dead Cells.
PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date:August 7, 2018
Dead Cells is a rogue-lite metroidvania game developed and published by French independent video game development studio Motion Twin. The game was in early access for over a year after its initial launch in May 2017, before launching in full in August of 2018.
Before beginning work on Dead Cells, developers Motion Twin had previously worked solely on mobile and browser-based games. They started out as developers of browser-based games in 2001, but after the collapse of that market, shifted to mobile game. However, the developer no longer wanted to continue doing that as the mobile market changed and grew increasingly complex, which did not suit their style of development and the kind of projects they started to work on. Consequently, they began working on what they described had been their long time passion project.
Dead Cells initially began as a tower defense game and a successor to Motion Twin’s browser based game called Die2Nite. However, the scope and nature of the project changed over time, with the developers instead wanting to focus on a single player experience without having free to play aspects, and instead decided to turn the game into an exploration based action platformer. They decided to make Dead Cells as a fusion of two genres, being rogue and metroidvania, with inspirations drawn from games such as The Binding of Isaac for the former and Castlevania for the latter. They described it as “Castlevania, but with infinite replayability.”
Dead Cells launched in Early Access for PC in May 2017 (and came to GOG.com as well in November of that year), with an Early Access launch for Mac and Linux coming in June 2018. In January of 2018, Motion Twin announced that they were also developing Dead Cells for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, and that these versions would release at the same time that the PC, Mac, and Linux versions of the game would leave early access. The game launched in full on all platforms in August 2017. The developer currently has no plans for a sequel to Dead Cells, but plans on supporting the game with downloadable content, both free and paid.
The game uses a pixel art style, while running at 60 frames per second on all consoles, though at launch the Nintendo Switch version’s frame rate was not as stable as other versions.
Dead Cells employs a minimalistic style of storytelling, taking inspiration from the likes of Dark Souls, and beyond a setup for its story and some minor subsequent developments does not delve into a direct narrative. Players play a humanoid corpse that is possessed by a mass of cells known as the Prisoner. The Prisoner is a silent protagonist, but occasionally displays personality traits or emotions.
The game takes place on an unnamed island from which the Prisoner, who is immortal, is trying to escape. Every time the Prisoner’s host body dies, it finds a new body to possess, and every time that happens, the structure of the island, which is also described as a living organism that is constantly evolving and changing, changes as well. The game informs the player that the Prisoner was executed for a crime, however the nature of that crime is never explained.
Dead Cells infuses elements of the roguelike genre and the metroidvania genre. Every run sees players going through procedurally generated levels, which consist of predesigned rooms and sections infused together in a random order, with enemy placement and item placement also being randomized in each run. Going through levels, players fight against enemies that are designed with inspirations taken from Dark Souls enemies, in that they all have their own unique attack patterns and ways of fighting, that the player must learn and come up with ways to counter. The game also has four main bosses, called Keepers. These are the Hand of the King, the Time Keeper, the Concierge, and Conjunctivious.
Players collect items, weapons, abilities, money, while some enemies might also drop cells. At the end of every run, players can spend their cells to purchase from a variety of options, such as items, potions, and permanent power ups that can be used in subsequent runs as well, to gain access to previously inaccessible areas or to fight against enemies and bosses with better equipment. If a player dies before during a run before reaching the end of the dungeon’s section, they lose all their cells. After each death, players are transported back to the beginning of the dungeon for a new run.
There are around 100 different weapons in the game, including the likes of spears, broadswords, throwing knives, various kinds of bows and crossbows, spiked shields, fireballs, daggers, and more. Players can attach various modifiers to each different weapon to provide unique buffs and advantages, such as causing enemies to explode when they die, thus dealing damage to nearby enemies. Players are encouraged and at times even required to experiment with different weapons and modifiers to be able to find the right solution for how to defeat a particular kind of enemy and group of enemies. According to the developers, this was done to inject variety, and to make sure that players don’t end up using only a few kinds of weapons for the entirety of their playthroughs.
Players can also use special powers in Dead Cells, known as mutations. Mutations also provide unique buffs and advantages, such as giving players added health bonuses, or increasing the effectiveness of combos while using particular types of weapons. Players can combine mutations with different weapons and gear equipped with different modifiers to tailor the game’s playstyle to their own liking and to suit their needs. Dead Cells also has a Daily Challenge mode. While the game is designed around procedurally generated levels, Daily Challenge mode takes place in predesigned levels, tasking players to play against other players and attempting to accumulate the maximum number of points while finishing up the level in under five minutes.
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.