It’s been a big month for Dicey Dungeons. Not only has it seen the release of the Reunion DLC, a free dicebag of content to celebrate three years of release, but the game has launched on mobile platforms, bringing it to an entirely new audience.
With so much going on in Dicey Dungeons, we thought it would be a fine time to chat with its originator and sole developer-designer, Terry Cavanagh. We had a lot to ask after falling under the spell of its new Reunion DLC, which – we should add – got a mighty 4.5/5 from us at TheXboxHub.
Hi, could you please introduce yourself and your role on Dicey Dungeons?
Hi there! I’m Terry Cavanagh, and I’m the designer for Dicey Dungeons. I’m a solo developer who made Dicey Dungeons with a small team of scrappy freelancers that came together for this single project!
Could you give us a quick rundown of the new free Dicey Dungeons DLC: Reunion?
Reunion is a big, final DLC for the game, which catches up with the contestants from the original game a few years after the ending. Everyone has an elaborate new episode which explores some of the weird corners of the game’s design. It’s about 5 hours or so of new stuff, and has new writing, music and art!
So many other developers would have put a price on DLC like Reunion. What made you put it out for free?
Ah, well, the game did very well, and we had always planned to do some new content for the mobile release. We kinda got carried away with Reunion’s development, and didn’t realise how big that new content would end up being, though. Maybe we should have charged for it? I don’t really know, haha.
Dicey Dungeons came out almost three years ago to the day on PC. Is ‘Reunion’ a kind of anniversary or victory lap for the game?
It’s a weird coincidence, more than anything! The cutscenes in Reunion have the characters talking about it being “two and a half years since they escaped the dungeons”, but by the time we’d actually finished it, it was pretty close to being exactly three years after the original launch.
It’s not just release day for Reunion, is it? You are also releasing for mobile platforms. How has the release day gone for you?
It went great! Lots of people on mobile are discovering the game for the first time, and Reunion has been going down really well with returning players. It’s been a lot of fun, watching twitch streams and seeing people discover all the new content.
On booting up Dicey Dungeons again, we were surprised that Reunion didn’t come with new characters. But then we realised that it really, really does: each of the pre-existing characters has completely new rulesets and approaches. What possessed you to rework the most fundamental part of Dicey Dungeons?
I think that’s always been the heart of Dicey Dungeons – it’s really all about variations of rulesets, and thinking about the different ways you can approach this dice combat system. The characters themselves in Dicey Dungeons are all about that, different ways of approaching the same ideas – from Robot’s push-your-luck approach to Witch’s complex spellbook approach.
Our favourite is the Warrior, with their ‘workouts’ which are like miniquests to complete for temporary or permanent bonuses. Which character do you look at and think, ‘yeah, we did well with that one?’
Design wise, I’m most proud of the Robot, I think. They have a really unusual episode that’s all about flipping coins instead of rolling dice. It’s stretching the basic concept behind the game pretty far – they were definitely the most complicated to figure out! (Though in terms of replayablity and fun, I think the Inventor episode is the best.)
What’s your favourite character to play? Across both the base game and DLC?
In the DLC, I think the Inventor episode is the best, but outside of that, my favourite character has always been the Witch. I think she has by far the most interesting design to play on a turn to turn basis, and all of my most satisfying runs have been with her.
And what’s the most overpowered piece of equipment in the game, in your view?
Ah, this one is easy – it’s a piece of equipment called “Very Good Sword” that you can get from Precious Egg+ in the 5th and 6th Robot episodes. It literally just does double d6 damage (or triple if it’s upgraded). It’s just uncomplicatedly the best item in the whole game, though it’s incredibly rare!
The soundtrack has you working with the legendary Chipzel. How was it collaborating with them on Reunion?
It’s always a privilege to work with Chipzel, they’re incredibly talented. I think the Reunion soundtrack is some of the best work they’ve done.
And finally, what’s next for you and your team? Is this launch of Reunion to be seen as a goodbye to Dicey Dungeons? Can you give us a small hint of what you’re working on?
Ah, well, the team was always just a temporary arrangement, and we’ve already gone our separate ways. Reunion was a real Reunion, for us – we got the band back together for one last show. But, you know, people have long careers. Maybe one day?
Many thanks to Terry Cavanagh for giving up his time for an interview. If you’re interested in playing Dicey Dungeons, it’s available on the Xbox Store, or you can pick it up as part of the Game Pass service. It’s on Nintendo Switch and PC too.
Better still, the recently launched Reunion DLC is completely free, and can be accessed from the Extra Episodes menu option on Dicey Dungeon’s game screen. Roll out!