Greedfall 2: The Dying World feels like Assassin's Creed 3 meets a BioWare RPG and I'm already excited to see where it's going

GreedFall 2 hands on preview
(Image credit: Nacon)

In an era littered with impossibly shiny live service games, there's something comforting about a little old- school jank. Enter: Greedfall 2. As I arrive in an old building in Western Paris, a barrage of rain pelting the  cavernous fifth floor windows, I put on my headphones and find myself whisked away to the fantastical jungles of Teer Fradee. It's a land-filled with skill trees, dialog choices, and ropey AI. But what this early build lacks in polish, it more than makes up for with ambition.

The brainchild of Parisian studio Spiders, 2020's Greedfall arrived seemingly out of nowhere. An intriguing blend of fantastical beasts, malevolent magic, and uncomfortably authentic 18th century colonialism – and yet against all odds, the gritty RPG was a sleeper hit. Shipping an impressive 2 million copies, Greedfall’s unique blend of action RPG and gritty questing struck a rare chord, offering a welcome throwback to the PC games of yesteryear. If this is the first that you’re hearing of Greedfall, fear not; Greedfall 2 is a great place to start. 


Summer Games Preview
We're diving into the hottest upcoming games out of Summer Game Fest. To find all of our hands-on reports, visit GamesRadar's What's Hot 2024 hub.

Character building

GreedFall 2

(Image credit: Nacon)
Roles to play

More prequel than sequel, Greedfall 2's prolog takes place three years prior to the events of the original, and despite missing the first game in a pandemic-filled haze, I still feel right at home in Teer Fradee. As I roam the tropical fantasy locale with my suitably derpy character-creator-conceived warrior – a time honoured RPG tradition – I quickly became entangled in Greedfall's BioWare-esque web of dialog choices, beckoning quest givers, and strategic, party-led combat. 

Where the original casts players as an invading noble dispatched to the newly-colonized Teer Fradeen, Greedfall 2 flips the script, placing you into the leather-bound shoes of a native struggling with how best to respond to the onslaught of rapidly arriving foreigners. Should the clans befriend their strange new arrivals and learn from their tech? Or should they be feared?

"It is fantasy, but really it's based on history," explains a smiling Jehanne Rousseau, co-founder and CEO of Spiders and lead writer for Greedfall. "Greedfall is more George RR Martin than Tolkien, a story about political schemes and murders rather than elves and dwarves. There are no knights or noble archetypes here – it's a world that's more dirty than heroic."

Rousseau sports a grin that rarely fades throughout our chat, and given the journey she's been on, it's not hard to see why. Cutting her teeth as an artist on '90s Gameboy tie ins, Rousseau has shipped everything from Inspector Gadget tie-ins on Gameboy Colour to Splinter Cell on the ill-fated Ngage. Yet despite working as both an artist and a producer over the years, Rousseau's true calling was always writing.  Filling her downtime scribbling campaigns as a D&D and Cthulhu games master, she'd pen scenario after scenario for her friends. Now, 25 years later, a world that Rousseau dreamed up has become beloved by millions.

"I remember the day of Greedfall's release," Rousseau reflects. "I was terrified. Literally terrified. I took the day off and I told the team, "I don't want to hear anything about what is in the press, [or] from socials, I just don't want to hear anything!" A deeply personal project, Rousseau couldn’t bear the idea of Greedall failing. Luckily, she didn’t have to. "Then finally, our musician Olivier called me and said, 'you can come out of hiding - it's okay. Everything is going fine!'"

Fight or flight

GreedFall 2

(Image credit: Nacon)

There are no knights or noble archetypes here – it's a world that's more dirty than heroic.

Jehanne Rousseau

Part Avatar, part Assassin’s Creed 3, even in its pre Early Access state, Greedfall 2 is a world that feels wonderfully lived in, a tale that's steeped in the kind of texture and nuance that can only come from a creator that lives and breathes their fiction. "It's really exciting to go back to a world and do a sequel for the first time," Rousseau beams. "I've got hundreds of notes that I took while designing the first game, of all these other countries, of what different people were up to – many things that were never seen in the first game. And now, finally I can show you!"

Made by a team of less than 100 people, Greedfall 2 is the kind of AA project that feels refreshing in an industry that can feel creatively risk-averse at times. Still, if you're a fan of the original Greedfall, there's likely one major change you'll be wary of: the new combat. While its predecessor saw you take on man and beast in real-time battles, its sequel instead opts for a 'real time and pause' combat system; one that, if YouTube comments are anything to go by, has divided fans.

"It's true that it's a huge change," Rousseau agrees on the shift in combat styles. "But I think that subconsciously players were asking for these types of controls. It's now more consistent as a [party-based] team game – you've got your team of characters that will evolve together, some will die, some will leave, but it's still a team."

For Rousseau, it was clear that the combat in the original was the weakest link. "We were happy with the first game, but the combat was the thing that [players] were more critical about. People were saying we've got these companions, and they're just messing around. You're doing your own fight, and [your party is] always in the middle of what you're trying to do." That, to Rousseau, was disheartening. "The companions are really important in the experience of Greedfall – people liked to have them around, to share stories with them, to romance them and to use their skills and talents during dialog options, but there was this strange feeling that we are doing everything with them except fighting."

Go forth

GreedFall 2

(Image credit: Nacon)

We were happy with the first game, but the combat was the thing that [players] were more critical about.

Jehanne Rousseau

Even in this slightly shaky pre-release state, I have fun with the 'real time and pause' approach to battles, happily switching between characters mid-skirmish in order to save a party member from certain death. It's fiddly and a bit hectic, but with the right amount of spit and polish, it's an approach to combat that could lend itself well to the party-first story that Greedfall 2 is aiming to tell.

While I embark on a variety of quests, I soon find myself relying on the dice roll-esque quality of my chosen character stats in order to see me through. Venturing through the mountains, I discover two of my clansmen howling in pain, ensnared in bear traps left by the invading foreigners. My first attempt at liberating them goes well, and one grateful kinsmen thanks me as he leaves, leg happily intact. The second of my friends? Less lucky. As I try to release his ensnared leg from its metal claws, my rudimentary skills fail, and the trap clamps shut, spraying the poor trapped man with a fountain of blood as he screeches in pain. Uh, sorry mate!

There is a lot going on in Greedfall 2, and while it still has a way to go, its scope is certainly impressive. After a Summer Game Fest that showcased the best and brightest in the indie and non-blockbuster space, Greedfall 2 slots perfectly into the landscape. Combining high fantasy elements with real-world historical contexts, Greedfall 2 tackles a refreshingly weighty breadth of themes, and that is to be applauded. Much like Baldur’s Gate 3, Greedfall 2 is launching first via Early Access, arriving on PC this summer. Rousseau tells me that the EA release will contain approximately 30% of the full game, lasting around 10-15 hours, with the full fledged launch arriving on PC in 2025, flanked by PS5 and Xbox versions. In other words, there’s more than enough time to transform this sequel into the kind of epic tale that it deserves to be, and with this much passion behind it, I'm hopeful that Spiders can fulfil its RPG destiny.

Greedfall 2 is just one of the many upcoming PC games to get hyped about this year.

Tom Regan
Freelance Writer

Tom is a freelance journalist and former PR with over five years worth of experience across copy-writing, on-camera presenting, and journalism.

Named one of the UK games industry’s rising stars by, Tom has been published by world-leading outlets such as: Fandom, The Guardian, NME, Ars Technica, GamesRadar, Engadget, IGN, Techradar, Red Bull, and EDGE.