Interview: Dean Razavi talks ‘From Rust,’ a new cooperative digital card game that’s breaking all the rules

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From Rust is an all new type of digital collectible card game.
Image: Razberry Games

Plenty of new video games are launched every year. Some make waves in the console scene while others are geared towards PC players. Certain titles emphasize their online multiplayer modes while others focus on a one-player story. However, only a handful of truly unique games arrive every year.

“From Rust,” an upcoming cooperative digital collectible card game from Razbury Games is one of them. It combines classic RPG elements with turn-based collaborative strategy, unique characters, and lovely mechanics to create something unlike anything you’ve ever played.

I had the opportunity to chat about “From Rust” with its creator and lead developer, Dean Razavi, to discuss why he’s so excited about this game and why you should be too. Check out the interview below after a brief summary of “From Rust.”

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A New Kind of Card Game

Collectible card games are notorious for being replicas of each other. If you’ve played one, you’ve probably played at least two that are very similar. However, that’s where “From Rust” is different.

Rather than focusing on a competitive aspect, 1-4 players must work together to defeat the boss of each deck. Turns play out over a series of “days,” where each player flips cards, fights monsters, and crafts tools to make their hero more powerful.

The game takes place in a steampunk apocalyptic setting that suits it perfectly. Fighting off rogue machines for loot or the good of humanity “Mad Max” style is immensely satisfying and will keep players coming back for more. Meanwhile, using teamwork to defeat a boss rewards players with new cards that are added to their account moving forward.

“From Rust” features well-defined mechanics that are apparent from the early stages of the game. The team behind it hopes to fill a void for “living card games” on digital platforms like Steam considering their success in the tabletop setting.

As of now, “From Rust” has already won several awards for its gameplay and story. It will undoubtedly continue to rack up the accolades when it officially releases.

Interview with Developer Dean Razavi

The Burn-In (TBI): In your eyes, what sets “From Rust” apart from other digital card games?

Dean Razavi (DR): We’ve tried to focus “From Rust” on three things that set it apart. First, we want to make sure you’re constantly finding new things to explore in the game. In a traditional digital CCG, there’s a library of cards and that’s it; for us, because we control each level’s deck, we can constantly add more unique cards to discover on your 10th, 50th, 100th session.

Second, we’re heavily invested in “From Rust’s” story. All of these zany characters have their own quest lines that are developed through the levels, which also build out this world that’s been taken over by robots. We get to do cool things like having a “story mode” with more dialogue and specific “plot cards” that get added to the deck after shuffling.

And third, we’re leaning hard into cooperative mechanics, giving players cards that are specifically designed to work in cooperative settings, together with other characters, instead of everyone playing 4 parallel games.”

TBI: How does “From Rust’s” collaborative aspect make it more fun for players?

DR: Approaching each session from the perspective of “we’re all in it together” really changes the tone of the game right off the bat. There’s less pressure on any one person, and your team is really just there to cheer you on. In combat, players roll dice, and so because it’s collaborative, it’s almost like your friends are gathered around you at a craps table at a casino, cheering for you to roll well.”

TBI: Who do you see as the target audience for “From Rust?”

DR: We made this game for us to play first and foremost, because if you don’t love your own game how can you possibly convince others to love it?

I love a lot about card games—the strategy of finding interesting combinations between cards, the mischief of trying to make a build around some single strange mechanic, the surprise of obtaining new random cards. But I’m less of a fan of competitive card games because I can never win!

Also, I love gaming alongside my husband, and we never really play against each other in competitive games. So, our goal was to essentially make a CCG you could play with friends instead of against them.

As we continued to develop the game, we started leaning more into RPG dungeon-crawler elements and pulling designs from games like “Diablo.” So, people who also like, say, “Slay the Spire” but who are looking for more permanent RPG-style progression (as opposed to rogue-lite style progression) will definitely enjoy the game.

TBI: What has been the most rewarding part of working on this game so far?

DR: We’ve been fortunate to show this game at places like DreamHack, PAX, and Play NYC, and it’s admittedly a fairly weird concept. But when I get to the end of the description, every so often a player’s eyes light up when they can see the possibilities of how the game progresses and grows. That’s always really rewarding, because it’s like, okay, we’re going in the right direction.

TBI: Game development isn’t all a serious process. Do you have a funny memory from your time working on this game?

DR: Right now in the game, a lot of the individual cards just have “TEMP ART” written on them while our art team cranks out the assets. Some people in our community got used to “TEMP ART” and got upset when it was replaced with the real thing; they’ve asked for us to include a “TEMP ART” mode to switch it back on launch!

TBI: Although “From Rust” isn’t available just yet, how can interested players get a taste of the game right now?

DR: One weekend every month, we do an alpha with our Discord members. We turn on the servers Friday-Sunday and let people run wild with it. The next one is coming up this weekend, March 6-8, and anyone who is interested can join us at http://bit.ly/FromRustDiscord.

Check out a few screen captures of “From Rust” below and be sure to check out the alpha demo this weekend!

Image: Razberry Games
Image: Razberry Games
Image: Razberry Games

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