“In Just Die Already, we let you hurt the most unsympathetic beings on Earth: the boomers.” Armin Ibrisagic, CEO and co-founder of DoubleMoose Games, isn’t one to mince words.
Coming off the back of an unexpectedly massive success in the form of Goat Simulator – a joke that got out of hand, essentially, in which you played as a goat and caused physics-based chaos for no rea-son other than you could – Ibrisagic says he wanted to make something in the same genre, but pivot-ing away from the Goat-y one.
“Adding blood and gore to Goat Simulator always left a bad taste in our mouth,” he says, “Because who would ever want to hurt a cute animal?” Hence, the addition of the elderly player characters, pre-sented in a thoroughly unsympathetic light.
At the very least, things have reined in from earlier days. “Initially, in our first prototype, the objec-tive was to find the coolest way to kill yourself as an old man,” explains Ibrisagic. “For some strange reason, store page fronts weren’t OK with this.”
And so the idea developed into the far more complex, somewhat philosophical take we see today: you are an old person, you have been kicked out of your retirement home, and you need to earn your way back into a (better) home by taking on tasks, causing mayhem, and generally messing up the day of whichever whipper-snapper it is you come across. It is, in a word, silly. But unlike Goat Simulator, there’s a bit more structure to everything.
“We launched Goat Simulator after only two months of development, were hugely surprised by the popularity, and then frantically patched the buggy mess up over the coming two years and added content so people could have fun for more than just half an hour,” Ibrisagic says. “With Just Die Already, we’re launching with substantially more content, a way more dense world that there is much more to do in, and an actually stable game that doesn’t crash all the time.
There are still some bugs that are considered features though, and it will be up to you to find them.” Longevity is the big thing here, and that’s being tackled by the DoubleMoose team making sure the whole game map is dense with stuff to do. “We have made an effort to make sure that every street and alley has something interesting to find,” Ibrisagic says. “Most buildings can be climbed up on to find something on the roof, and sometimes there’s a window halfway up you can break into and find a naked guy showering.
“The other way we’ve approached longevity is through challenges which work sort of like a bucket list of things you want to do in your life,” he continues. “This can be everything from managing to lose all your limbs so that you’re only a chunk of meat rolling around to finding enough explosives to start a chain-explosion.
Completing challenges can give you some unique items that you can’t find in any other way.” Throw in multiplayer – up to four people playing together – and you’re starting to see a fairly com-pelling picture here: the maniacal free-for-all that was Goat Simulator was raucous fun, but short-lived. Add in a reason to continue caring, and you end up with something that’s got a bit more meat on the bone. Or less if you’ve been blown up during your attempts to strap rockets to a bike in order to harass a nearby millennial, or something.
We actually have a couple of features coming in future issues discussing both elderly game players and elderly game characters, so it’s something fresh in our collective mind right now. Why Dou-bleMoose decided on the pension-aged folks as their protagonists, though, comes down to some-thing – as you might expect – a whole lot more base.
“[I’m] not quite sure why it ended up being old people when we first made the prototype,” Ibrisagic says. “But once we saw the first couple of seconds of gameplay of an old man jumping headfirst into a lawnmower, we knew that this was what we would be doing in the coming couple of years with our lives.”
All in all, Just Die Already could be one of two things. On one hand, it could be a deep and meaning-ful social commentary on how society treats the older generation, something rendered all the more poignant by an ongoing global pandemic which has brought into sharp relief the gap between young and old, and how ‘useful’ the latter is seen as being – and so, how expendable an entire generation of people is seen to be.
On the other hand, it could just be a ploy for Ibrisagic to get in touch with Hideo Kojima, who – even though he was called out by name in Just Die With Me’s trailer – still hasn’t picked up the phone or written an email. We asked the DoubleMoose CEO what his hopes for Just Die Already are. It’s the latter: “[We hope] that Kojima sees our trailer and responds to it. That’s really the only reason we made the game.”
Genre: Goat Simulator simulator
Developer: DoubleMoose Games
Publisher: Curve Digital