WayForward knows why players must explore the dungeon of Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know— a world-shaking secret about Princess Bubblegum that will tie into upcoming episodes of the popular cartoon show.
In the game, Princess Bubblegum reveals she has been keeping hordes of monsters locked away in a massive labyrinthine dungeon beneath her castle. When the monsters begin to escape, she summons Finn, Jake and friends of Ooo — including Flame Princess and Lemongrab — to help put the monsters down and discover why they managed to escape.
Players will trek through 100 levels across six different environments, all of which become increasingly buried under gobs of sticky pink goo. According to producer Aaron Blean, players will learn a dark secret about Princess Bubblegum once they solve the dungeon's mysteries. Blean said the reveal is exclusive to the game and was written by Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward.
"It will be canon and will tie into the show," Blean said, noting it's very possible the show could pick up the game's plot. He also said the game will finally reveal Princess Bubblegum's true age — "she is quite old," he said — and why she has built this dungeon.
"It'll be like, ‘Oh, mind blown!'" Blean described.
Blean said Ward worked closely with the development team for Explore the Dungeon, and the game will include more exclusive reveals about the show's characters. This information, Blean said, will all feed back into the show.
The Adventure Time game that launched for the Nintendo 3DS last year received mixed reviews; while the game also featured heavy involvement from Ward, players complained that the game wasn't long enough and didn't satisfy their expectations for what an Adventure Time game should be.
"What we learned last year with Adventure Time! Hey Ice King, Why'd You Steal Our Garbage? was ... well, there was a lot of mixed feedback," Blean said. "A lot of people loved the Zelda 2-esque aspects of it, but our biggest takeaway was that the game was too short, they wanted more voice overs and the game felt too easy.
"Given that, we are aiming for a broader audience other than core gamers and adults like us who love the show and love games like this," he added. "We wanted to make sure from an accessibility standpoint that our younger audience could also go in and enjoy the game. We wanted to make a bigger experience, we knew the expectations were high —so we went console, we went bigger."
For those gamers that felt there wasn't enough content in the first game, players who complete Explore the Dungeon will have the option to try out an endless horde mode. Players are sent into the Nightosphere to fight off demons for as long as they can, testing their mettle against some of Ooo's deadliest enemies.
But one tease from the 3DS game pushed me to ask: when you beat the game, you see Fionna and Cake, the gender-swapped versions of Finn and Jake. Will we see them in Explore the Dungeon?
"The Fionna and Cake lore will be in the game, but they won't be playable characters," Blean said. "However, they will be in the game in some form, now that Ice King is playable."