Interview: Slime Rancher 2 aims to offer "a warm bath of a game world"

By Heidi Nicholas,

Slime Rancher 2 is the highly-anticipated sequel to 2017's Slime Rancher — for this Xbox Indie Spotlight, we reached out to developer Monomi Park and chatted to game director Nick Popovich for more details.

Update: Since Slime Rancher 2's announcement, we've been given several more glimpses of the game — a multitude of gorgeously colourful sequel screenshots, along with some new cover art, some of which you can see below:

Original story: We, just like everyone else who played it, absolutely loved Slime Rancher. So when the sequel was announced, we had to reach out to developer Monomi Park for more info. Luckily, game director Nick Popovich was kind enough to answer our questions about Rainbow Island, new slimes, and all things Slime Rancher 2.

What is Slime Rancher 2?

Slime Rancher 2 is a life sim and adventure game from developer Monomi Park, and the sequel to 2017’s hugely successful Slime Rancher.

When does Slime Rancher 2 launch?

We know that Slime Rancher 2 will first launch into Game Preview/Early Access, and now we have a date: Slime Rancher 2 will be available on September 22nd!

Will Slime Rancher 2 be on Xbox Game Pass?

Yes! Slime Rancher 2 will join Xbox Game Pass at launch. “Microsoft has always been a fantastic partner,” Popovich explains, “so when it was time for us to look for one for Slime Rancher 2, it was an easy conversation. I think everyone there really understands Slime Rancher, and that’s really important to us. When you’re like us at Monomi Park and you’re making something as strange as Slime Rancher, you want a partner that wants to be a part of that outside of its success. I think Microsoft is trying to have a really diverse portfolio of games for all different kinds of players and it shows.”

What’s it about?

Slime Rancher was all about the adventures of Beatrix LeBeau, and Slime Rancher 2 once again features Beatrix as she sets out on a new adventure to Rainbow Island. “Beatrix will be exploring Rainbow Island, an entirely new region of the Far, Far Range,” Popovich adds. The game’s Steam page also elaborates a little more on this, saying that Beatrix will work to “unravel the island’s secrets and uncover its true purpose.” And, of course, Slime Rancher 2 will be all about ranching slimes — as seen in the exclusive screenshot above, which Monomi Park kindly shared with us — with new slimes, such as the cotton slime and the angler slime, arriving in the sequel.

How does Slime Rancher 2 play?

We’ll be exploring, farming, and wrangling slimes galore. “A Slime Rancher fan will be right at home with Slime Rancher 2,” Popovich says. “The core of what made Slime Rancher great has been recreated for the sequel, along with a bunch of changes to the experience to make it feel more fluid, enrich exploration on Rainbow Island, or simply add quality-of-life enhancements for the many days you’ll spend ranching in this new world.”

One tidbit of information we’ve seen so far is that Beatrix will come across new natural resources. “The resources she’ll discover will include a bunch of familiar ones (this is still the Far, Far Range after all) as well as others that are unique to Rainbow Island. But best of all, collecting them is more engaging than before as you’ll need to search the nooks and crannies of our big, beautiful, new environments to collect them instead of dropping resource extractors and waiting.”

The first Slime Rancher is already a beloved classic, and we wondered what Popovich would be most excited for these players to experience in the sequel. “I hope they’re as blown away as I am by the visuals and the intricacy of the world we’ve created,” Popovich says. “Something that we learned with the original is that players spend far longer playing it than we ever anticipated, across all platforms Slime Rancher still accrues millions of play hours each month! So we made it a priority to make the world feel like a place you want to just be in and return to often, something like a warm bath of a game world.

“So I hope they feel how I do as I get to play our development builds: jumping in at the end of my day and using this beautiful world as a space to unwind and discover little secrets at my own pace. I think that’s something that the world of Slime Rancher does particularly well, so we’re leaning in to that.”

What’s the world like?

Rainbow Island is a whole new land for Beatrix to explore. “Rainbow Island earns its name from the prismatic colors that cover every inch of the island, shifting dynamically as the hours pass. The cause of this phenomenon is unknown, and something that Beatrix will learn more about as we continue to develop Slime Rancher 2 after launching into Game Preview,” Popovich explains.

Interestingly, instead of a ranch, Beatrix will be farming within a huge conservatory, and we wondered whether this change brought with it any particular challenges. “Yes, a huge conservatory replaces the ranch from Slime Rancher,” answers Popovich. We did this to more embrace the themes of rainbows and light in Slime Rancher 2, as the wrap-around glass walls of the conservatory let all the light of the surrounding world inside. And just like the ranch, players will have to plan out how they want to utilize the space and the expansions available to best suit their needs. It’s honestly one of my favorite places in the game,” Popovich continues. “It really makes for a wonderful home for Beatrix in the sequel, a place you want to return to and just hang out with your slime pals.”

Slime Rancher 2 promises to bring new slimes with it and we, being the nosy people we are, wondered how the devs went about thinking up new slimes. "We try to come up with something that will be interesting to encounter in the wild and deal with on the ranch. In particular, behaviours that will make our emergent systems richer and create more unexpected moments are always best," begins Popovich. "We then try to anchor these behaviours onto a slime that looks cute and different from the others. This actually begins one of the hardest parts of the process, because you have to try and come up with a unique colour composition, but also a unique silhouette so you can parse the differences between slimes as quickly as possible. Once we have that, the very exhaustive process of making the largo combinations is next, which takes a lot of time, and requires a lot of tweaking in order for the slime’s unique components to combine. And every time we add a new slime that can become a largo, we make the job of doing this even harder as it grows exponentially. It’s a terrible curse!"

Any news on Slime Rancher 2 achievements?

We don’t yet have the Slime Rancher 2 achievements, but Popovich did give us a few hints. “We always like to try and find ways for achievements to be surprising, like rewarding you for one when you tried something silly, or went some place you thought you shouldn’t,” Popovich explains. “I feel like that’s a nice way to use the achievements system to let the player know the dev was one step ahead of you.” Popovich also adds that while no specific achievements have been announced, the team is “evaluating what achievements from the original were most well-received.”
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Heidi graduated with an MA in English Literature, and now enjoys writing news, reviews, and features across TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies. When she’s not writing, Heidi is usually either looking for her next RPG, or trying to convince the rest of the team to hear about yet another delightfully wholesome game she has found.