The action-adventure genre has seen some excellent experiences debut so far this generation. New franchises and installments in existing ones have made the genre one of the richest out there. Developers continue to push their concepts and ideas forward, and the folks at Lienzo are creating their newest experience in the form of Mulaka.
In Mulaka, gamers will journey in the lands of Northern Mexico to live out the life of a true Sukurúame. “The gods have judged the human race as a disappointment and want to destroy it” to start it again. Players must ally with the demi-gods and gain their trust to help humanity survive.
Mulaka will feature a massive world for players to explore. Plenty of secrets and treasures are going to be hidden around the world as are interesting stories. To learn more about the upcoming game, We Write Things spoke exclusively with Lienzo’s Adolfo Aguirre. During the interview we discuss everything from game design, to art direction to the game’s narrative. We hope you enjoy our chat.
We Write Things: What inspired the design of Mulaka’s world?
Adolfo Aguirre: All of the worlds in Mulaka come from real-life locations from the region of Chihuahua, Mexico. We took some of the most iconic landscapes of the region and created levels around them in the game. For example, the desert of Samalayuca is an area with a lot of dunes that is well known around here for its sandboarding activities and it’s the introductory level of the game. The town of Paquimé is a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO and one of the first towns in America to have a complex water control system. Of course, it’s in the game too.
WWT: Its art is absolutely stunning, so what made the team go with a more stylized look?
Adolfo Aguirre: A low poly visual style allows us to create a beautiful world while being able to bring it to life with the limited resources of an indie studio. We were looking for something that allowed us to attract players and bring life to these locations.
WWT: What sorts of activities will players find in the world of Mulaka?
Adolfo Aguirre: Mulaka is an action game with platforming elements. In each of the levels you’ll be looking for artifacts that allow you to progress to the end of the level. These artifacts are hidden behind fights and puzzles that use the game’s different mechanics like demigod transformations and more. There are plenty of NPCs in some of the areas that have interesting dialogues that give you more insight into their culture and this world.
WWT: Will the story be linear or will it be more open?
Adolfo Aguirre: Story-wise, Mulaka tells a tale in a linear fashion. However, there is some optional backtracking present for players who want to see everything in the game and progression in each of the game’s worlds is a bit open. Think of it as in Banjo-Kazooie, for example, where there is plenty of freedom in the order that you grab the jiggies in each world.
WWT: What type of story is Mulaka trying to tell?
Adolfo Aguirre: Mulaka tells the story of a quest to prevent the 4th destruction of the world. The Tarahumara people believe that the world gets destroyed and reborn every few years to allow for cleansing and for new life to breathe.
WWT: Can you tell us about the main character and his background?
Adolfo Aguirre: Mulaka is not only the name of the game but it’s also the name of our protagonist. He is a young Sukurúame, the equivalent of a shaman in the Tarahumara lore, and he is tasked with the quest of stopping the 4th destruction of the world. A Sukurúame is capable of interacting with the gods above, below and everywhere in between. He is also the most capable of facing mythical creatures like the gigantic Ganoko, the soul-eating Rusíwari or the fire-spitting Sipabuara.
WWT: Will there be any customization for the protagonist’s outfits, weapons or gear? Do collectibles serve a purpose in storytelling or progressing?
Adolfo Aguirre: There aren’t any plans for now in terms of customization of the protagonist, but it’s not entirely ruled out. Optional collectibles serve the purpose of additional narrative, as they show you more elements from the culture of these people.
WWT: If any, what type of progression system will players see?
Adolfo Aguirre: Throughout the game, Mulaka will learn new powers, abilities and potions that allow the player to keep advancing through the game and open new paths on previous areas.
WWT: How will combat evolve throughout the experience?
Adolfo Aguirre: Enemies will get tougher and more varied as you keep advancing through the game. Some of them, including boss fights, will demand the use of the new abilities and powers that you’ll be learning.
WWT: Are there any multiplayer elements to Mulaka?
Adolfo Aguirre: Mulaka is a single-player experience only.
WWT: How large is the world?
Adolfo Aguirre: It’s bigger than most people expect! This is also one of the reasons why we decided to go with a low poly visual style since it allows us to make big worlds with lots of elements without constraining our resources too much.
WWT: What type of length has the team seen for a single playthrough of Mulaka?
Adolfo Aguirre: It varies quite a bit since it’s a game with a lot of exploration elements and optional backtracking, so players who like to see everything will spend quite a lot of time with it. On average, it takes around 6 hours for an average player to beat Mulaka.
WWT: Will the game be taking advantage of new hardware like PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio?
Adolfo Aguirre: We don’t have anything to announce about it at the moment.
WWT: What types of advantages do the new consoles give developers?
Adolfo Aguirre: These new machines allow for better performance on more demanding titles, so developers can deliver a better experience for people who are very interested in better frame rates or resolutions.
WWT: Do PS4 Pro and Scorpio further complicate development or do they more seamlessly fit?
Adolfo Aguirre: They certainly add some additional steps to the porting and publishing process, and that’s something that nobody really wants. To both Microsoft’s and Sony’s credit, though, they are making the process as seamless as possible.
WWT: Is there a chance the game could come to Nintendo Switch?
Adolfo Aguirre: We’d love to do so! It’s the only console that would allow us to take the game with us to their settlements in the mountain region and let them play it! We’ll announce any news in regards to new platforms on our social media sites.
WWT: What time frame can players expect Mulaka to be released?
Adolfo Aguirre: Mulaka is slated for release later this year. We’ll be announcing a release window very soon, so stay tuned!
A big thanks for Lienzo and Adolfo for taking the time to speak with We Write Things about their upcoming action-adventure game Mulaka. The game will launch sometime this year for PS4, Xbox One and PC. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Mulaka.