No Love Lost Ratloop Games Montreal game

No Love Lost is a crowd-pleasing space adventure from Montreal indie studio Ratloop Games

We spoke with game director James Anderson about the community-first culture at the Saint-Henri-based studio and the development of their latest title.

The third game from Saint-Henri-based indie studio Ratloop Games, No Love Lost is an intergalactic space adventure that blends elements of PvPvE and competitive questing. You play as a member of an outlaw-inspired space cowboy crew sent to a carnivorous alien planet to gather a lucrative resource. 

With elements of the looter-shooter and extraction genres, No Love Lost is satisfyingly fast-paced: pick a team, zoom around on your hoverboard, harvest as much nectar as you can while blasting alien creatures. With a distinctive yet playful pastel and purple-hued art style, you’ll want to grab your friends (up to 10 can play simultaneously) and drop into this sci-fi-inspired Wild West world. 

“Our true goal with No Love Lost was to make a multiplayer game that our entire team could enjoy playing together,” explains game director James Anderson. “We had an underlying philosophy that since we are a mixed bunch of gamers of differing skill levels and tastes, if we could create a group experience that we enjoyed together, it would translate into the real world for groups of friends who play together.”

This team-first approach reaches across not only the game but also is at the heart of how the studio’s culture has evolved. “It’s all about having a happy, healthy, and motivated team that knows how to work well together. Prioritising attitude and team fit over pure skill or talent was something we’ve turned towards over the years” But when making No Love Lost the team strived to “follow the fun.”.

The importance of community

Game development comes with a built-in set of challenges, the main one being finding an audience.  When asked, Anderson replied: “Making the actual game is the easy part!” Having released two titles before, they took a community first approach and based a lot of their iteration on community feedback collected through playtesting from the outset. Anderson explains: “We held monthly playtests with our community from the very earliest playable build we had. It really kept us focused on what’s important and the feedback that we received was invaluable. The community playtests permitted our audience to speak to us directly, informing us of the things they liked and what frustrated them years before our game launches.”

Procedural quest manager

Anderson adds that the team put a big focus on replayability and world building. “Our game is at its core a PvP game, a battle between two teams; the whole world is however populated with quests more similar to an open world single player game.“

“We have a procedural quest manager which will drop you off at a random location and guide you on a chain of quests across the surface of the planet. This same quest manager will then bring down an extraction ship to pick you up at the end of that chain in a random location. This means each time you play you get to experience different content in different orders in different locations. All of this is done ‘under the hood’ so the players aren’t even thinking about it, they’re just playing the game.”

“As we drop more and more quests into the world the sense discovery and richness of the world increases with almost no management from our side, which is great for us and the players. The way we’ve set up our content pipeline is unique for this kind of multiplayer game”

A true Montreal vibe

Ratloop Games fully embraces the Montreal vibe in capturing the vision of their games. “There’s a certain uniqueness to the mindset and culture of the people here, it’s a creative place and we enjoy working with the talent here. It’s hard to identify specifically or put it in writing but there’s a certain appreciation for arts, innovation and creativity that is deeply rooted in the Montreal culture.”

Any closing thoughts on where the studio might be going next? “There are always ideas floating around on the back burner, but we are a single project studio, so we don’t want to get too distracted with dangly carrots.” ■

No Love Lost from Ratloop Games

No Love Lost is now available on Steam.

This article was originally published in the March 2024 issue of Cult MTL.

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