rustler preview ps5

Rustler is a Tongue-in-Cheek Medieval Take on Classic Grand Theft Auto – PS5 Preview

Many may not remember, but Grand Theft Auto III was a huge change for the series, shifting it to a third-person view. The prior two games centered on top-down action, and its that classic feel that Rustler is trying to recapture, with a decidedly medieval flare. I got to speak with some of the devs at Jutsu Games to find out just what this historically inaccurate take on a medieval Grand Theft Auto had in store.

Rustler features a guy named Guy, who, along with his buddy, Buddy, are scheming their way into a medieval tournament with the grand prize of the princess’s hand. Concern aside that this phrasing will literally end up referring to the princess’s severed hand being the prize, the tropey story is meant to highlight the satire of such a mission. As with any good Grand Theft Auto-like experience, our main character is a Guy with some loose morals who loves participating in the odd petty crime here and there. What else is there to do in a fictionalized medieval world?

rustler preview ps5

Once intended to be called Grand Theft Horse—a title that ran into a few legal barriers—Rustler parodies not only classic Grand Theft Auto, but other era-appropriate media like Game of Thrones and The Witcher, and filled to the brim with cliches and references. Later talk of weapons even mentions a “holy hand grenade” at one point. Players are sure to discover a wealth of hilarity nestled among Rustler’s gameplay and world.

Rustler is an open world filled with plenty of minigames and side activities to take part in. You can deliver bodies to the gravedigger (“bring out your dead!”), provide a taxi service, or even spend an honest day’s work plowing the fields (by which we mean making immature images in the fields, of course). Anything to procrastinate from the main quest. We are gamers after all, and we love shiny flashing waypoints on minimaps.

rustler preview ps5

Perhaps one of the best features in Rustler is the ability to hire a bard, your own personal musician who will follow you around and change what they are playing contextually. Or if you want to change the song manually, simply punch them. Or you could even kill them and take their guitar to play for yourself. Jutsu Games said the various mechanics of the bard required some complex dynamic sound design, but ended up being one of the features they are most excited to have in the game. The bard’s music is also modern style music with medieval tones, creating a fun crossover.

While there are many similarities to Grand Theft Auto, like the Knights who are police, and will chase you while flashing blue and red via a Wanted system, there are some key differences too, owing to the lack of technology in medieval times. Rustler may be historically inaccurate, but Jutsu Games wanted to maintain a boundary on that inaccuracy. Essentially, that became “no technology/electronics.” So when you steal a “vehicle,” it’s a horse and carriage. And those horses are more complex than cars, given the fact that they are alive. However, you can still drive into a stable and “repaint” your horse to escape the cops knights, because why not? You can also tear down wanted posters to lower your wanted rating.

rustler preview ps5

Another difference is Rustler’s focus on melee weapons and close-quarters combat, rather than centering on guns and ranged combat. Various weapons include swords, battle axes, spears, turds, and crossbows, so there is still a little bit of a ranged ability there in those latter two. And that aforementioned holy hand grenade is probably something you don’t want to play around with in close quarters either.

Rustler’s lack of modern technology created some interesting challenges for how to handle various systems. You can’t have a character call you up on the phone (“Hey Niko! Cousin!”), so you have to go to the person and speak to them. Similarly the Bard is a solution for a radio-like music system in the game. This also speaks to various satirical anachronous elements you may see. Graffiti is painted on stone walls, because they were perfectly capable of tagging things, no technology required. So what if that tag looks a bit more modern than was historically accurate…

rustler preview ps5

Finally, Jutsu detailed how the DualSense controller would enhance the game on the PS5. Haptic feedback will change based on your riding speed and the surface you are riding on. You’ll receive direction vibrations in combat to better help you figure out where you are taking hits from. The Adaptive Triggers work with various weapons, and actually change based on how much stamina you have. Additionally, it supports the PS5’s 3D audio to let you know where enemies are coming from, and the bard takes unique advantage of the PS5’s audio engine. Perhaps most importantly of all, the DualSense speaker will have a backup beep when you are reversing a horse. Totally worth breaking the “no technology” rule for that one.

Rustler is coming August 31 to PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam for $29.99.