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Plague Tale Requiem rats obey you, but they’re still terrifying

Plague Tale Requiem is a rat game at its core, with Asobo's furry friends forming the backbone of the RPG's story, but the sequel is set to amp them up further

Plague Tale Requiem rats put the Innocence ones to shame: Young girl stands in front of a tidal wave of rats in medieval street

The Plague Tale Requiem rats have a little more bite than their Innocence predecessors, injecting the now-iconic rat game with even more fur, fleas, and fear. Given that the plague-ridden rodents were already scary enough in the first game, just how did Asobo go about making them even creepier? Lead level designer Kevin Pinson reveals all.

Following the success of Plague Tale: Innocence, Asobo Studio has decided to add another chapter to the woeful tale of Amicia and Hugo in the form of Requiem. Set several months after the events that plunged the siblings into darkness and despair, they’ve picked up some new tricks coming into Requiem – especially Hugo. During my playthrough at Gamescom 2022 I learned that the five-year-old has honed the ability to communicate with the rats, bending their terrible power to his will.

Having gone from enemies to allies, Plague Tale Requiem’s rats are very different from their predecessors. Pinson sat down with me to discuss why.

Plague Tale Requiem rats obey you, but they're terrifying: Knight in shining armor being eaten alive by lots of rats in a dark cave

“We wanted to expand upon what we had in the first game,” Pinson says. “We wanted to give Hugo this ability as it’s just a natural continuation for him. The events of Innocence have taken their toll on him and he’s more in control of his powers.

“This doesn’t mean he has full control,” however. “Requiem is really about this sense of Hugo trying to master his control, and sometimes losing it in the process. It’s really this balance of Amicia and Hugo trying to find the best ways to help each other.”

The rats themselves have grown, too, as Pinson reveals: “building upon the foundations of how you control the rats in the first game was a really good challenge for us because we really liked the mechanic. We felt like we didn’t go all the way – this time, I think we did.

“We asked ‘how can we make the rats the most threatening thing in Plague Tale’s universe?’ The systems in-game make them more aggressive – they can follow you, they can climb, they can drop. We went from having 5,000 rats on-screen to 30,000 – so, a lot of rats. Regarding big sequences like the tsunami, it’s been something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, and now we have the tech to do so.”

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Having played Requiem and uncovered the power of said rodents, the control mechanic is really, really creepy. Vicious squeaks and screeches override the background noise and echo through your headset, stray rats fall off the pile and bonk off of the camera, and you see the horror in your poor victims’ eyes when they realise they’re about to get devoured (that part is in third person, thankfully).

You can also use Hugo’s affinity with the creatures to seek enemies using their vibration senses. This perfectly complements the stealth mechanics that the game champions, and provides further insight into Hugo’s connection to the rodents. In Requiem the rats are your friends, to some degree – but we wouldn’t like to test that relationship.

The Plague Tale: Requiem release date is set for October 18, just in time for spooky season. If you’re desperate to dive back into the plague-infested world of 14th Century Southern France, you can add the game to your Steam wishlist or pre-purchase it. In the meantime, though, check out our list of the best RPG games on PC to keep you occupied.