Parting Shots: Ghostrunner II

Radosław Ratusznik
Game: Ghostrunner II
Occupation: Game Director, One More Level
Career Highlights: God’s Trigger, Ghostrunner

After its release back in 2020, the original Ghostrunner became a surprise hit, as its blend of fast-paced first-person action and challenging difficulty provided a satisfying adrenaline rush of an experience set within a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world. Now, in its sequel, developer One More Level hopes to recapture everything that made the first game a cult classic, while expanding and improving upon the gameplay in a variety of ways. To learn more about Jack the Ghostrunner’s latest adventure, we chased game director Radosław Ratusznik throughout Dharma Tower as we tried to get some answers out of him.

How would you describe the Ghostrunner series to those who might not be familiar with it?

Radosław Ratusznik: It’s a fast paced action game where you take control of Jack the Ghostrunner—a cybernetic ninja equipped with a futuristic katana—fighting gangs, tyrants, and monstrosities of the post-apocalyptic world inside and outside of Dharma Tower. Dying is part of the core gameplay loop, and it’s the process of learning how to beat the more and more complicated challenges that the game is constantly throwing on your way.

The series has a reputation for having a challenging difficulty curve. What would you say to players who might be scared to give Ghostrunner II a try?

RR: I’m not going to lie—it’s a challenging game. But still, even if you bounced off from the first Ghostrunner, I encourage you to give the sequel a chance! We’ve [introduced] new ways of dealing with the enemies in combat. Blocking and parrying are new lifesaving features that are simple to learn. Jack is now equipped with a couple of special abilities that you can use quite often to help yourself, such as a shuriken. On top of that, there are powerful Ultimate abilities that will give you aid in the most difficult situations.

What inspired you to broaden the game’s world for Ghostrunner II?

RR: In the first game, we kept all the action inside the walls of Dharma, as the deadly solar radiation that is burning the Earth is a serious danger for human beings. It seems that it is not so harmful for Ghostrunners, so finally we are able to leave the Tower. The reason why we are leaving our home is deadly serious, so we are jumping on our newest toy, a motorcycle, in the chase after the deadly AI cult. Players can expect much more spacious arenas outside, and the more open structure on some levels is something fresh and unique for this game.

Can you tell us more about Ghostrunner II’s new motorcycle sections?

RR: Jack as the Ghostrunner is pretty fast, but we were thinking about how we can make him even faster. So we came up with the idea of giving him a motorcycle as his vehicle. We were putting a lot of effort into this feature to become a new major addition to the gameplay. It is quite arcadey, and it’s definitely not a motorcycle simulator, but it’s a lot of fun and a pure adrenaline rush!

What feedback did you take from the first game to improve bosses in Ghostrunner II?

RR: The feedback we received was that some bosses were not that exciting because players had to wait quite a long time dodging the bosses’ attacks for the short window of opportunity where they could actually attack the boss. Now, you can take a risk and play quite aggressively while dodging or blocking the upcoming attacks, so it is much more skill-related, and when you learn the bosses’ attacks you can improve your times without the necessity of waiting for a boss to do some actions.

Cyberpunk is having a bit of a moment in all forms of media. If you could see Jack cross over into any other cyberpunk universe, which one would you choose?
RR: I personally would love to see a character inspired by Jack in the CD Projekt’s RED Cyberpunk 2077 world. I think that kind of crossover would be huge for all the gamers around the world.

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