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In the 2016 party game Overcooked, the culinary world triumphed over the Giant Spaghetti Monster. But in Overcooked 2, a new ghoulish threat has appeared — the unbread, rising out of the ground and marching to destroy the Onion Kingdom. Indie developer Ghost Town Games has once again partnered with publisher Team17 to dish up tongue-in-cheek co-op fun — this time with online multiplayer. Overcooked 2 will be out on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on August 7.
Up to four players can join in on Overcooked 2’s frenetic fricassee, chopping, steaming, and bussing to try to survive the increasing chaos of each level. Much of the gameplay is similar to the original. Players are trying to complete recipes and serve them up. Temperatures and tempers rise in the kitchen while chefs have to deal with familiar challenges, like terrain that slips and slides around.
However, Overcooked 2 has new delights to offer. Sushi, one of Overcooked’s most requested recipes, will be on the menu, along with dim sum. Its kitchens will have new features, like moving walkways or even levels that change completely partway through. Overcooked 2 also has online co-op, and accompanying emotes so that players can express their joy (or frustration) with their teammates.
Overcooked has won a number of awards, such as the 2017 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Games Award for Best Family and Social Game and the Best Game Award at the 2017 Brazil’s Independent Games Festival. Since its launch, Ghost Town has done its best to keep up with demand for new content, releasing The Lost Morsel DLC, which unlocked a new map, levels, and avatars.
With Overcooked 2, the studio wanted to add in features that it didn’t have the time or resources to do with the previous title. That’s where Team17 came in, helping out with not only publishing but developing the game.
“Basically, we got together with [Team17] and said, look, here’s what people are asking for,” said Ghost Town cofounder Phil Duncan in a phone call with GamesBeat. “Here’s the content we weren’t able to produce. Here’s what we’re looking to do. It was really exciting to sit down with some other devs and see their different take on some of our ideas, bringing their own thing to the table.”
Ghost Town cofounder Oli DeVine says that it was an iterative process — they would design a first draft of a level, then pass it back and forth with Team17 and playtesters.
“I think over the course of Overcooked one, we realized what it was that essentially made a level work,” said DeVine. “It was nice to start from a position of, OK, we understand what Overcooked is now. Now let’s make a really polished version of that and focus each level on a particular story that we want to tell.”
Team17 was also instrumental in helping Ghost Town Games get online multiplayer off the ground. Its team looked at Overcooked’s source code and determined whether it not feasible to work that feature into the sequel.
“As part of the early discussions, we’d said online multiplayer was the big thing we wanted to introduce if we were to do a sequel,” said Duncan. “It was after that point, when we got that down and had a chat with the designers and artists at Team17, that’s when we said, OK, let’s move over now. Let’s change tracks and focus on this.”
Online multiplayer is something that Overcooked’s fans had been asking for. Adding in this feature makes Overcooked 2 even more accessible than the first title, because now folks can play with friends and family who are far away. And accessibility is one of Ghost Town’s tenets. Duncan says that its audience is broad, comprised of not just “hardcore gamers.”
“There are people playing it with their partners and their families, people who don’t traditionally play games,” said Duncan. “We were definitely very proud of that, and it’s something we wanted to build on with the sequel. We wanted to make sure that this was a game that was always going to be accessible to as many people as possible. The complexity never came from the controls or the interactions themselves, but always came from that interaction, that forced cooperation.”
DeVine agreed: “It’s this game where the difficulty is very unrelated, in some ways, to your abilities as a gamer in the typical sense. That’s my favorite thing about it – not just appealing to people who don’t play games as much as people who play games a lot, but appealing to those two groups of people playing the game together. I think as an industry, it’s something that we need more of in some ways, games that bring people in.”
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