Ahead of cooking-themed roguelike Cuisineer‘s launch in November, NME caught up with BattleBrew Productions CEO Shawn Toh to discuss how the studio has combined two genres in a game that’s all about celebrating food.
Set to launch for PC on November 9, Cuisineer is an action game that follows Pom, an adventurer who returns home to manage her parents’ failing restaurant.
The game is split into two halves. One is an isometric dungeon crawler, where players explore and defeat monsters to gather ingredients. The other is a restaurant manager where players must use those ingredients to cook meals for the town of Paell.
It’s a unique premise – yet much like Pom’s restaurant, Cuisineer started with BattleBrew in dire straits.
“We had a cancelled cooking game right before [Cuisineer] called Noodle Superstar,” shares Toh. “We dropped it for various reasons and we were running low on cash. The crew and I sat down together and I said, ‘Okay, we can make one last game together. What do you want to make?'”
The answer lay in two things: BattleBrew’s love of food and their eclectic gaming tastes. The team boasts a “100 per cent completion run” of cosy farming simulator Stardew Valley, but they’re also big fans of the gory Diablo series and last year’s hardcore action game Elden Ring.
Yet, by the time BattleBrew came to brainstorming Cuisineer, the Singapore studio had moved to working remotely due to COVID-19 – going from cooking and eating together to feeling “kind of lonely”.
As a result, much of Cuisineer revolves around the unifying power of food. It’s something that helped the game find success during Steam Next Fest, when BattleBrew released a demo that proved very popular with players and streamers.
Toh credits Cuisineer‘s early success to it speaking “a language everyone understands”: food. “We saw a lot of streamers playing Cuisineer and go, ‘Oh my god, why am I playing this at night? I’m really hungry!'”
“In the streams, beyond people having a good time, we saw people learning about different cultures,” he added. “That’s something I’m proud of.”
Thanks to a “greatly heartening” response to Cuisineer, Toh is much more optimistic about BattleBrew’s future. The studio even has ideas for the next game it would like to work on – but for now, Cuisineer‘s imminent launch is the priority.