August 22nd, 2023

Cult of the Lamb x Don't Starve Together Crossover, but Make It an Interview

Now that the world has been blessed with a wonderful new crossover, it is only fair the devs Massive Monster (Cult of the Lamb) and Klei Entertainment (Don't Starve Together) also bless us by answering some questions about each other.

Cult of the Lamb x Don't Starve Crossover key art

Devolver: How much have you played Don't Starve Together?  

Massive Monster (Jimp, Art Director): Probably an unhealthy amount! I played a bunch of the OG Don’t Starve and then when Don’t Starve Together came out on Playstation, I played a lot with my housemates. It's difficult to put down, especially as you can't pause the game without both leaving the server… I’ve lost weekends to that game! I have quite a low attention span and quickly lose interest in games - but I never get bored of Don’t Starve. It always keeps me engaged. Every time you play, you learn something new!

Devolver: How much have you played Cult of the Lamb? 

Klei: When the game first released we were playing non stop until we defeated The One Who Waits. For a period of time we were essentially all committed to being our own little cult leaders. It was a blast unlocking the different followers and we couldn’t stop until we had unlocked them all, there’s some really funny ones. Who doesn’t want to be praised and worshiped by a Poop follower?

Devolver: Did you think of Don't Starve Together while developing Cult of the Lamb?

Massive Monster: Absolutely! It's hard not to be inspired by the games you love, particularly when they are in a similar genre. I love feeding the pigs to make them follow you. I remember wondering if you could make that as the basis of a whole game.

CotL x Don't Starve screen 1

Devolver: Don't Starve and Cult of the Lamb share a similar visual approach, using 2D art work in a 3D perspective - why do you think this kind of style works?

Klei: We actually really loved the clean almost “icon-like” look of the art style in Cult of the Lamb. Being a studio that has a deep love for 2D art ourselves, many of us have trouble with the uncanny valley for games that are really reaching for realism these days. 

The visuals that many modern games pull off are technical marvels, but many of us in the studio find that the closer they get to realism; while impressive, sometimes it can take you out of the fantasy of the game in a weird way. When there’s no pretense for realism, it actually lets us buy into the crazier elements easier. As creators of something like Don’t Starve, we also have a soft spot for the merging of cute and disturbing. It sneaks up on you in a fun way and we loved that we were constantly catching ourselves constantly saying things like “Awww that’s SO cute... waaait.”

Massive Monster: We've always loved using a cartoon style for our games. There’s something pure and expressive about 2D art that doesn't always translate as well in 3D. We're also a small studio and 2D art is just much faster to draw than modeling everything out in 3D. It lets us focus on creating bigger worlds. However, the 3D perspective does help create a great sense of depth and a feeling of space. It also allows for elements like dynamic lighting to help build atmosphere. So for us, the combination of the two felt like the best of both worlds.

As for the style of the art itself - the cute cartoony direction is an interesting lens to view the dark world of Cult of the Lamb through. If the art was highly detailed and realistic, it might feel quite unpleasant and nasty - you can do some pretty messed up things in the game. But because it's presented in a colourful and light hearted way, players don't realise quite how monstrous their actions are… until it's too late.

Devolver: What's your favorite memory from Cult of the Lamb?

Klei: Something that is always interesting to us is when a game puts you in a position to make a controversial decision where you’re not forced but legitimately enticed to do the “wrong” thing. There were lots of little moments in Cult of the Lamb when dealing with your followers like this. Things like questionable marriage arrangements and choosing to “ascend” followers. Where are they ascending to? Do we want to know? Do we even want to ask?

We really loved the follower characters.  Your bond with them really grows as you progress since they’re all just so cute and the interactions on the surface present as so innocent, and then we remember it’s a cult and we’ll be sacrificing them.

Devolver: What’s your favorite memory from Don’t Starve Together?

Massive Monster: Probably those days of playing with my housemates - having a few beers, forgetting to eat, making a dumb mistake because you're tired and getting into a blazing argument for ruining the game you spent all weekend playing.

Don't Starve x CotL screen 2

Devolver: What’s an element from Cult you think could work well in Don't Starve?

Klei: We loved all the different NPC interactions in Cult of the Lamb when you’re in town.  We have definitely thought about what it could look like if we add more things like that and NPCs in general into Don’t Starve Together. We have dabbled in it a bit with characters like Wagstaff popping up from time to time. 

We could also see a possible update that maybe adds more interaction with the Pigmen, Merm and Bunnymen where they became kind of cult followers to the survivors. There’s some fun room there where they have early benefits to the players, but then start to become problematic.

Devolver: What's an element from Don't Starve you'd like to add to Cult?

Massive Monster: We always loved the survival element of Don’t Starve Together and for the crossover we wanted to add an homage to that into our game. We’ve done this with the new ‘Penitence Mode’ which adds hunger and tiredness for the Lamb! It’s a new challenge where you need to look after yourself as well as your followers. We think it's a really fun new layer!

Beyond that, we’d love to add some kind of cooperative element to the game. The sense of adventure you get from exploring a new map in Don’t Starve Together is unmatched. We’d love something like that in Cult of the Lamb. There's no plans for this at the moment but hopefully there might be one day!

That being said, we do have lots of exciting stuff planned for the game! We released our first free expansion, Relics of the Old Faith in April and you can expect to see another free major content update later this year! 

Devolver: Final question about both of your games, why is there so much poop?

Klei: Great minds think alike! The main reason for poop is humor. Anyone who tells you “poop jokes stink” and isn’t saying it as a punchline to a terrible excellent joke, should probably not be trusted. But #2 is poop… is childish and gross. Which makes it one thing: Funny (with a colon)

Massive Monster: It's an important part of life, you know? You're born, you eat, you poop, you die.. the earth reclaims your body, to grow the food that feeds future generations. We’re all just poop at the end of it all.