The Cub Interview – Storytelling, World, Gameplay, and More

Demagog Studio director Igor Simic speaks with GamingBolt about The Cub, the upcoming post-apocalyptic classic-inspired platformer.

Posted By | On 11th, May. 2022

The Cub Interview – Storytelling, World, Gameplay, and More

Developer Demagog Studio delivered a unique and solid experience with 2018’s Golf Club: Wasteland, infusing 2.5D golf with a fascinating post-apocalyptic setting. The studio’s next game, The Cub, will be set in the same world, but it’s promising a very different experience as a 2D platformer inspired by Sega classics like Aladdin and Lion King. To learn more about its world, story, gameplay, how it connects with Golf Club: Wasteland, and more, we recently sent across a bunch of our questions to the folks over at Demagog Studio, and learned quite a bit about the game in the process. Below, you can read our interview with Igor Simic, studio director at Demagog.

the cub

"From a 2.5D golf game, which was an entry point for our company, a natural next step was a 2.5D platformer. And thankfully after a lot of people who played Golf Club: Wasteland told us that they wished there was more because of the stories it told, we got the reassurance we needed that we might be on the right track."

With The Cub, you’re returning to the post-apocalyptic setting you created in Golf Club: Wasteland, but looking at it from a completely different perspective, telling a new story, in a game in a new genre. With the two experiences being so different from one another, what prompted the decision to stick with the same setting?

To be honest, the grand goal or vision we’ve had for quite some time was to create many games, a lot of music and eventually an animated series set in this world, assuming it takes off. From a 2.5D golf game, which was an entry point for our company, a natural next step was a 2.5D platformer. And thankfully after a lot of people who played Golf Club: Wasteland told us that they wished there was more because of the stories it told, we got the reassurance we needed that we might be on the right track.

How much of an emphasis does The Cub place on story and storytelling?

A lot. Equally, if not even just a little bit more than Golf Club: Wasteland. We do this because we know that a big part of the appeal to this world we made is the story and people seeing the connection between what is happening or could happen in real life and how we are riffing on those things. On top of that, we wanted to give the kid i.e The Cub a proper story arc as in GCW his story is a little bit more cryptic. And of course, this gives us the chance to also have a bit of continuation or explainer on what happened to Charlie after the events of GCW.

You’ve said that even though The Cub isn’t a direct sequel to Golf Club: Wasteland, its story will still intersect with that game. Can you give us an idea as to the extent to which that will happen? Has someone who’s never played Golf Club: Wasteland going to be able to fully follow The Cub’s story and its nuances?

Yes, The Cub and Golf Club: Wasteland are connected in such a way that the stories will literally intersect. In GCW you played as Charlie and saw that a mutant child was following you throughout. In The Cub, you are that kid and you will now see his story prior to meeting Charlie and also where their mutual story continues which was the spot that GCW concluded.

We’re very aware that not everyone who plays The Cub will know Golf Club: Wasteland. And that’s fine. Every game we do is self-contained. People who play all of our games just get a fuller picture of the world and narrative strands.

the cub

"We’re very aware that not everyone who plays The Cub will know Golf Club: Wasteland. And that’s fine. Every game we do is self-contained. People who play all of our games just get a fuller picture of the world and narrative strands."

The Cub is promising to use its post-apocalyptic setting in fascinating ways, and this seems like a story that’s rife for not only plenty of mystery, but also some interesting commentary and thematic storytelling. What’s your approach been to the game’s story on that front?

Our approach to story and commentary has been to kind of mirror what we see happening in the real world but just add an extra layer of satire to highlight how ridiculous the whole notion is. And we kind of have to because overall, we are also dealing with what can be seen as serious topics- wealth inequality, climate disaster, war, and the overall fall of humankind. So in order to make sure this isn’t just one giant downer for the player, we do what we can to make it a little more tongue-in-cheek. All while still making sure these topics aren’t being dismissed in any way. Rather, we’re making fun of how we as a species are reacting to these topics, not the topics themselves.

We frame the story as Jungle Book set in a tech post-apocalypse. Also, while we all might call this setting a “post-apocalypse.”, that’s only our perspective. For the little mutant kid/cub, this is just home. It’s a notion that I feel the future generations are going to experience too in some way. Not as a lack of tech, but more from a lack of certain things that we currently all

The Cub is taking inspiration from old-school challenging Sega platformers of the 90s. That’s showing quite clearly in its art style, but on the gameplay front, can you elaborate on what that will mean for things such as the game’s level design, movement mechanics, and more?

Jumping and running mechanics are a callback to 90s platformers, such as The Jungle Book or Aladdin. Some segments are challenging in a 90s way, but the general vibe of exploring, interacting, storytelling and in-game cutscenes is partly inspired by cinematic games of Eric Chahi, such as Heart of Darkness.

So we’re essentially taking those 90s games’ mechanics and level of difficulty and giving it a more modern sheen in terms of newer, more recent game design thinking.

What kind of a balance will The Cub look to strike between different areas like exploration, platforming, puzzles, and more? Should players expect a varied gameplay experience?

We could say that platforming, especially parkour chase sequences cover the bulk of the gameplay. Exploration is also a big part since the world has different paths, secret rooms and varied environments, full of optional items or more story lore. Plus each level is peppered with puzzles. But there are a few other mechanics that players won’t expect.

the cub

"Our approach to story and commentary has been to kind of mirror what we see happening in the real world but just add an extra layer of satire to highlight how ridiculous the whole notion is. And we kind of have to because overall, we are also dealing with what can be seen as serious topics- wealth inequality, climate disaster, war, and the overall fall of humankind."

What should players expect from The Cub in terms of its optional content and replay value?

I think at this point we can reveal that just like with Golf Club: Wasteland we’ll have the full soundtrack, which is the in-game radio program entitled Radio Nostalgia from Mars. This OST will also be available for download. As for replay value, we’re making a few secrets that players can discover if they break off the main path and can solve a few little puzzles. We’re also looking into the idea of how to change the difficulty settings in an interesting way that makes it a tougher challenge but works within the design of the game itself.

Do you have any plans to add co-op or multiplayer options, or is The Cub a purely single player experience?

As it stands, we see The Cub as a single-player-only game. There isn’t really a way to add multiplayer or even co-op in a meaningful way that won’t just derail the whole narrative we have in place.

Roughly how long will an average playthrough of The Cub be?


We are still coming up with and testing a lot of the levels for the game so it is really hard to say at this point, but players will be quite surprised by the amount of playtime and the variety of the world-building.

the cub

"We could say that platforming, especially parkour chase sequences cover the bulk of the gameplay. Exploration is also a big part since the world has different paths, secret rooms and varied environments, full of optional items or more story lore. Plus each level is peppered with puzzles. But there are a few other mechanics that players won’t expect."

What are your thoughts on the Steam Deck? Do you have plans for any specific optimizations for the device?

As a player, it seems like an awesome bit of tech. Now that the reviews are out and a few people have got their hands on it, the overall consensus seems that it’s great and not a gimmick.

It’s on our list of “good to have”. We’re still learning about the platform and what it entails. The Cub in general is a game that will be a lot easier to get running and optimized for Steam Deck since it’s not a mouse keyboard-heavy game. As you’ve likely seen, a lot of games that work fine on consoles already work well on the Steam Deck, so for us, it’ll likely be a matter of checking what else might need to be done so it’s done well on our end.


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