Hob - Runic Games, open-world, sans dialogue, Shadow of Ico


I’ve played a few more hours and I like Hob a lot. It’s a little frustrating, because I think if they had put a little more time into it, it would be an absolute classic. Now that I’ve played through a few areas, I can say that 1) The environmental design is incredibly ambitious and beautiful and different from any other game I’ve seen, and 2) It almost goes by too fast or under-revealed. The way it moves chunks of the landscape around is incredible, and sometimes the environmental animations are as subtle and character-ful as the character animations! But really really great games of this type do a better job of showing you how all the landscape pieces fit together: you are [here]… your goal is [there]… you can’t get [there] because of [this]. And then you navigate through that space with that knowledge, having little ah-ha! moments as you go. I get some of those with Hob, but just as often I get “There’s a lever here, so I must have to pull it. Oh yeah, look, now I can go that way.” It’s not bad, but it’s not brilliant. That’s only sad because so many other brilliant elements are there, waiting to play their part in a great symphony. Hob (so far, for me) is more like an enjoyable movie soundtrack.

If they’re going to have combat, I’m glad it plays out like it does, which is as basically a trifle. No real challenge, but I get to see some neat new enemies every once in awhile and figure out how to deal with them. I like the proportion of big threats to small ones, and the mini-boss battles (despite the first, frustrating one I mentioned above) are refreshing, and refreshingly conquerable.

Relic has done a great job. I think the game also has improved in the later areas, so maybe my estimation of their work will continue to rise.


I too am really enjoying it, a couple of hours in. The balance of puzzle, exploration and combat feels spot on. I would prefer a bit more camera control, but that would spoil some of the exploration. The one-shot enemy I encountered is not a one-shot if you’ve upgraded your health one bar by that point, as you can just before you get to it. That said, the checkpointing can be a bit weird. Teleporters don’t checkpoint you, for instance, so unless you go out of your way to find an actual checkpoint, you can find yourself respawning, only to have to take a teleporter straight away. Also, the map isn’t particularly helpful, being both cryptic and not really showing you how to get from one place to another. Overall, though, highly recommended if you want a beautiful Zelda-lite.


When this game is compared to Zelda, which Zelda game does it resemble most?


After @rhamorim mentioned this in another thread I took a closer look. Looks pretty nice! I know that it’s not really the same type of game as Ori and the Blind Forest, but for some reason the exploration and combat give me a similar feeling (from the official videos). Hob looks like it has more puzzily things in it.

Is this a fair view of it, or is is that far off base?


I wouldn’t want to oversell the Zelda comparison. When I say Zelda-lite, I mean lite. It doesn’t have the range of gadgets that Zelda does, or quests, and the combat is pretty loose.

As for Ori, it’s not all that similar. There’s not a lot in the way of precision platforming (at least so far), and the puzzles are pretty straightforward. But it does share that Metroidvania heritage, I guess. It’s closer to Ori than to Torchlight, I suppose.


MAP i saw posted on neogaf.

Hob Map



Ah, I didn’t notice that you said “lite” as opposed to “like” (although the latter seems to be included in the former). Anyway, yours isn’t the only Zelda reference I’ve seen, and I’m not trying to challenge those comparisons. I’m really curious about the pedigree of the game and because the Zelda games I’m most familiar with are the NES ones, I wanted to know which era of games presented something like this–Wind Waker? Ocarina? Or is it just in the sense that any action-adventure game with as much exploration as fighting ties back to Zelda? Hm…


Wow, finished it!

It’s real good, and I’m sure will end up among my favorite of the year. Still can’t shake the feeling that there was an utter masterpiece inside this thing that just didn’t come to fruition. But this does so many things well that I’ll still remember it fondly.


Updated version of that map with a couple other things (including the sword pieces I couldn’t find:

Hob Map


So I’m quite enjoying this game, but am having performance issues. I shouldn’t be having performance issues on a game like this - I’m running on a 1080 with an overclocked CPU and tons of RAM. Maybe it’s due to bad performance in ultra-widescreen? Anyone else having issues? It gets very stuttery as I’m running around. No issues with other games.


It’s a known bug in the game affecting some 1070 and 1080 users. Apparently Runic are working on a patch to fix it


Welp. That’s that for Runic. Perfect World is shutting them down.


Crap, just saw that over at Kotaku. Man that sucks.


Very sad, I heard the game was rough around the edges but still fun.


Shutting down Motiga as well.


Oh no! :(
This is terrible but not unsurprising news.
I thought Hob was fantastic and it’s one of my favorite games of the year but it had pretty abysmal sales.
Approx 45k (according to Steamspy).


A PCGamer article I came to link, though I see the word broke here already, in case there are more details to be gleaned.


(Thread, yep.)


Statement from Runic Games.

Hey everyone,

It’s been over nine years since a rag-tag team of 17 developers helped open Runic Games. We’ve been so lucky for the community that has supported us and made us successful. Thanks to that support, we have had the chance to meet and work with the best people in the world. Our team here at Runic has released three successful games, and over that time we have seen many changes; team members got married, kids were born, but the most important thing is that we have become a family.

I’m sorry to say that today will be Runic’s last day open. Our focus is on our family here, and helping them find a new place to call home. If you are in games and looking for some of the best talent in the industry, please email jobs@runicgames.com.

For those that love the Torchlight series, there will be some news coming. And for all our fans, our community and multiplayer services will keep running even after the studio’s lights go off.

It has been an amazing experience. To my family here at Runic, I know we won’t be far from each other, and I’ll miss seeing you all every week.

You haven’t heard the last of us,

Marsh Lefler

Studio Head


So why did Hob fail, lack of marketing? All the reviews said it was rather splendid.