Have a Nice Death is a cute 2D roguelike game that was released in early access back in March of this year, and last month received the first major free update in the form of the Fast Food expansion. Players control Death, a character who can wield a variety of weapons and spells along with the legendary scythe. In the Fast Food update, Death encounters monstrous creatures such as hamburger sandwiches that shoot tomato slices like projectiles, or muscular cans of pickled cucumbers, all of which originate from the toxic food processing department, where food is the enemy both figuratively and practically.
In fact, in this new update of this side-scrolling game published by Gearbox Software, junk food is portrayed as the main evil that needs to be overcome due to the impact that over-processed foods can have on people’s diet and well-being. Nicolas Leger, creative director and animation director of Have a Nice Death, described the Fast Food update as a way to solve problems such as diabetes and unhealthy eating, which are the main causes of death worldwide. Leger talked to Game Rant about what it means to make the Have a Nice Death’s Fast Food expansion and what the creative process behind it was like.
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Enjoy the Fast Food update from Death’s solves problems with unhealthy food and health
With graphics reminiscent of Hollow Knight and a game cycle more similar to games like Dead Cells, Have a Nice Death quickly became popular among roguelike fans. Although the themes of these games are completely different, Have a Nice Death has a unique approach to its story, since Death must impose discipline with his scythe on the employees of his company. In the case of the Fast Food upgrade, Death hacks and cuts his way through the junk food monsters to defeat the main boss: Waldo.
“The topic that we wanted to touch upon with this new department is the dangers of the food industry, which is responsible for dependence on sugar and “poisons” our dishes with elements in which there is nothing natural. Fast food restaurants are just an aggravating factor.”
Leger says Waldo is the perfect final boss for the Fast Food expansion, as he embodies the aesthetics of the mascots of American eateries of the 50s, raising junk food to new standards in terms of how harmful it can actually be. According to Leger, designing a world in which enemies appear in food-filled rooms and corridors was surprisingly very easy, and just as easily came the inspiration to create various new enemies. Forcing Death to fight armies of French fries and hamburgers, the analogue of Hades Have a Nice Death seeks to emphasize the excessive consumption of poisonous food, from which modern society is difficult to escape.
Of course, Leger and his team faced difficulties while working on this project, but one of the main points for him was to come up with creative ways to animate enemies, for example, a burger that appears or disappears in layers, like a sandwich. The Have a Nice Death’s Fast Food update focuses on the dangers of fast food restaurants, but Leger tried to emphasize how these health hazards are related to the food industry as a whole.
“Oddly enough, we had a lot of ideas for this world! Junk food is really a universal concept. But we had to make a choice based on gameplay utility or appearance. The clearer the design, the easier it is for the player to perceive the threat. Visual comprehension should be immediate and intuitive, even before animation is played, which is an ongoing challenge.”
Leger believes that added sugars and preservatives are really dangerous links in the food chain, because they can “poison” people’s food and become the main causes of cholesterol problems or, even worse, diabetes and obesity. The darker tone of the new update doesn’t necessarily change the experience of Having a Nice Death, but it still sends a powerful signal that junk food has long been deeply ingrained in modern habits. In general, looking back at the process of creating the Fast Food update, Leger is quite happy with the result, and he and his team are already working on their next project.
Have a Nice Death is in early access on Steam for PC.