You wouldn’t think that the Risk of Rain series had any sort of lore, but it does. And all of it is kinda… weird and abstract and not really well-understood. While I never really played Risk of Rain 1 (which is too hard for me), I have been playing a lot of Risk of Rain 2. Right now, a lot of the “story” aspects are missing. There’s a handful of levels but you normally loop around and around. Until you are killed by the planet, obliterate yourself or fade to black after fighting a special Scavenger. The actual lore though? It’s hidden away in item descriptions, logs and quiet little phrases.
Your own lore is simple.
For the player, the only important thing is that you need to get off this planet. The ship you were traveling on was destroyed. You fell from the sky in your escape pod, and now you need to escape and hopefully get home. Unfortunately, your only real way out of each area is via a teleporter, in a world where literally everything is trying to kill you. And that teleporter takes you to a new place where more things are trying to kill you.
For now, the only way out is death. Either at the hands of the planet, in the cold shimmers of an obelisk or in a frozen moment of time, lost forever.
Outside of the simple premise, all is not well.
We’re stuck on a planet that wants us dead, and every single outpost we’ve seen has been in ruins, or too alien for us to understand. Massive chains and platforms seem to litter this completely alien landscape, alongside rivers of pebbles and gargantuan rings of stone. Everywhere is seemingly beautiful and deadly in its own way.
And the wildlife? Well, we all know how deadly that is. The further you go, the more the wildlife adapts and tries to kill you harder.
And then there’s sooo much god-like terribleness.
From a cult worshiping N’Kuhana, a deity who kills everything and demands constant sacrifices, to beings that are apparently bending time and space around them, the survivors won’t be surviving for long. The items we stumble across while we try to escape range greatly. On the one hand we have items people have ordered and were being shipped across the stars. On the other hand, we have strange daggers, experimental items, ancient relics and objects that are so alien we don’t understand them.
It all seems like something massive is going on behind the scenes, and we only get traces of these things via snippets of data, collected from various items.
Really, the lore hints at something so huge that the player is almost insignificant.
How this all ties into Risk of Rain 1, I’m not sure.
Not much is known how these games tie together, apart from the fact that we’re on the same planet, and the final boss of RoR1 is dead in RoR2. And we only know that because it’s mentioned in some of the lore of the item Predatory Instincts in RoR2. We know that the player characters are survivors, but what was their ship doing above this cursed planet in the first place? We know that there’s a cult to a death god, but what is it doing? And we also have strange beings worshiping the moon and creating godly items that warp reality itself.
This is all happening on a planet that we’ve visited before, where we fought a god-like ruler and only one person appeared to have survived.
No matter what happens, rescue is not coming for the survivors.
Perhaps the scariest tidbit of lore is actually buried in the lore for a common item, Gasoline. According to its lore entry, the chances of survivors being found are insanely low, and it would take them months at best to be found. Because the ship they were on was off course and slowing down, when it shouldn’t have been. In a system that apparently didn’t even have a habitable planet on it.
Essentially, any and all survivors are doomed. Trapped on a planet that mercilessly wants them all dead.
And that is why Risk of Rain 2’s lore is so damn terrifying.