No Rest For The Wicked: Moon Studios On Killing Its Ori Perfectionism And Being Okay With Early Access Issues

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No Rest for the Wicked hits Early Access on PC on April 18, but ahead of that release, the upcoming action RPG from Ori and the Blind Forest/Will of the Wisps developer Moon Studios is gracing the latest cover of Game Informer. After checking the game out for a few hours alongside some of the leads at Moon Studios in Vienna, Austria, last month, cover story writer and Game Informer editor Marcus Stewart and I have a pretty good idea about what to expect from No Rest for the Wicked’s early access release – you can read my preview thoughts here and his cover story here.

We’re both excited for the release, too. It’s a fun game so far, and it’s a unique approach for Moon Studios. No Rest for the Wicked tech and production director and Moon Studios co-founder Gennadiy Korol and studio CEO and creative director Thomas Mahler are self-admitted perfectionists when it comes to game development, and I was curious how that works with an Early Access release where bugs, issues, and more are typically present.

It turns out, it required a shift in the entire team’s mindset. 

“It’s really strange, right?” Mahler tells me. “It’s almost like being naked in the buff. As artists, you’re always kind of like scared to death, seeing shots and seeing stuff on screen, it’s like, ‘Oh my god, I see all these issues.’ But I think with games of this complexity, there’s just no other way [than an Early Access release]. Either you make smaller things and you don’t dare to take those risks, and then you can perfect it, or you can make a game of this scale and you’re okay with, ‘Okay, not everything is going to be immediately perfect.’ But I think that’s okay because, over time, it will be.”

Mahler says as long as the game is fun, people will be more willing to forgive potential issues. No Rest for the Wicked launching into Early Access first helps, too, where players (ideally) understand the game is a work-in-progress. He also believes a shift is happening in games where people do still want beautiful games with “crazy graphics and so on,” but more than that, they just want something that, first and foremost, is fun.

“I think we can do both,” he adds. “I think it’s interesting, though, that the biggest games out there are often not the ones that are technically the most crazy ones. You see Fortnite and Minecraft and so on, which aren’t pushing crazy boundaries in terms of tech necessarily – they’re just really fun to play.” 

Korol tells me it’s still a struggle at Moon Studios today to lay aside the perfectionist mindset applied to the Ori games to prepare for the work-in-progress release of No Rest for the Wicked. 

“I think we’re still such perfectionists and we want everything to be super dialed in, and it’s super fun for us to do,” he says. “But we also just have to accept that, yeah, you know what, it’s going to be on the market [as a work-in-progress], and we will learn a lot from it. On one hand, it’s terrifying; on the other hand, it’s really a relief because, as [Mahler] was saying, if something […] isn’t perfect, you can react quickly and adjust it.

“So I think we’re both excited and kind of terrified because we’re very much being vulnerable as artists, and we have to show basically almost unfinished art. That being said, I think there’s still a lot of polish that you cannot take out of us – we’re always going to be polishing and perfecting things.”

Korol notes the team feels No Rest for the Wicked will still be a polished title when it launches into Early Access next month, and after playing it for a few hours, I agree – it feels less like an active work-in-progress game and more like a mostly finished game the team wants feedback on before releasing more content. Of course, that’s not the case as there’s still plenty the team plans to add. Check out the Early Access roadmap for No Rest for the Wicked here. 

“It might have a few things that are just not quite there yet, as the game development process would have you, but I think every day we’re still in this tension of, ‘Ahhh, just ship it and we’ll see what happens,’ and, ‘Let’s perfect it,’ and […] that needle is going from side to side and we’re trying to stay in the middle and find a good balance.” 

No Rest for the Wicked hits Early Access on PC next month on April 18. 

While waiting for its launch, check out this feature breaking down the Early Access roadmap and endgame content of No Rest for the Wicked, and then check out more than 25 minutes of the game in our No Rest for the Wicked New Gameplay Today. 

You can learn even more about No Rest for the Wicked by checking out our features and videos rolling out over the coming weeks in our exclusive coverage hub below. 

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