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Ghostrunner 2 is a “more approachable” sequel, but not any “easier”

Ghostrunner 2 makes combat easier with new skills but lead gameplay designer Lukasz Wabik ensures that the first-person slasher is still as tough as ever.

Ghostrunner 2 interview Lukasz Wabik One More Level gamescom

Ghostrunner 2 has all new bells and whistles to show off during our Ghostrunner 2 preview at Gamescom, but let it be made clear – it’s still a hefty challenge. One More Level lead gameplay designer Lukasz Wabik tells The Loadout about the goal to keep Ghostrunner 2 welcoming to new fans, while balancing the expectations of seasoned players.

“Let me start with the story. I think it stands on its own legs. You don’t have to play [Ghostrunner] because I advise you,” says Wabik on returning for the sequel. The first game impressed with its fast-paced combat and near-merciless reliance on reflexes. Now, Wabik explains that Ghostrunner 2 is “is even more approachable than the first one. I think it’s not [any] easier. We still aim to create very challenging gameplay for hardcore players.”

Though Ghostrunner 2 still aims to please those who are quick to master its combat, Wabik says that One More Level “added some new gameplay possibilities and more options to handle the problems in combat […] so if someone is struggling with dashing and dodging, they can for example use blocking here.”

This time around, Jack can use ‘active blocking’ while in combat, rather than briefly holding up his sword to dissuade projectiles and incoming attacks. It’s a small but neat touch that keeps you on your toes, especially when trying to use Jack’s new parrying skill.

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“You can then buy more upgrades that will support your play-style. So it’s easier to find your own way of playing and dealing with the problems [Ghostrunner 2 presents],” Wabik says. The preview of the game ends with an excellent bike chase through Dharma Tower, the first game’s main location. Wabik confirms that the bike can’t be upgraded like Jack can be, but does tease that players “will travel outside the Dharma Tower. We will see how the world looks, and explore some of the outside parts of the world. I don’t want to spoil too much, but you can expect to see more bike levels in the full game.”

Ghostrunner 2 also has an array of tricks up its sleeve, and crafting them comes down to a simple ethos, according to Wabik. “I think it just looks cool blocking 10 projectiles in a row! When we’re designing further, we’re always trying to keep that ‘cool fantasy’, we take some fantastic ideas from movies, from anime and somehow put it into them into the game,” Wabik expresses.

On those movies and TV show influences, Wabik tells us about the melting pot of pop culture that goes into bringing Ghostrunner 2’s gameplay to fruition.

Ghostrunner 2 gameplay interview gamescom

Wabik reveals that “I was mostly inspired by [the] Samurai Jack TV series from when I was a kid watching Cartoon Network. Of course, we also really like all kinds of cyberpunk in general […] connecting that to things with ninja stuff, samurai stuff, and Japanese stuff.” You can see more of these influences when the Ghostrunner 2 release date arrives, one of many upcoming PS5 games and upcoming Xbox games to keep on your radar.

Keep your eyes peeled for more previews, interviews, and coverage of Gamescom from The Loadout over the coming days.