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How Arcanium aims to move the roguelike card game genre forwards

Arcanium: Rise of Akhan is a recent roguelike card game, whose devs say they've taken risks to try and push the genre to new places

Arcanium Rise of Akhan artwork showing a humanoid lioness and a humanoid bear locked in combat.

Card game Arcanium: Rise of Akhan left early access on September 22. This roguelike title by Supercombo launched onto Steam in 15 different languages, adding three additional heroes to the game’s roster, alongside an Arena mode focused purely on combat. An open-world roguelike with deckbuilding, Arcanium mashes genres together, straying far from the roguelike card formula popularised by games like Slay the Spire.

“Throughout development, we were always wondering how we could bring something new to the already-crowded genre,” says Remi Marchand, CEO & Game Director of Supercombo.

The developer took pains to make its title stand out from the crowd, both in its polished, Pixar-inspired animal theming and in its gameplay. Marchand says: “The name of the game for us when developing Arcanium was ‘Freedom’. Freedom to edit your loadout whenever you pleased, freedom to travel anywhere and start from any point on the continent.”

“Where most games used an incremental deckbuilding process with no way to remove cards, we went with a completely editable system where players can modify their Heroes decks at any point in the game. Where most games had this linear approach to map exploration, we went for a complete open world.”

Arcanium Rise of Akhan screenshot showing deckbuilding

“What really mattered for us was to move the roguelite card genre forward, even if it meant taking risks.”

Of course, a couple of years’ finetuning in early access can do wonders for a game like Arcanium, giving devs the opportunity to experiment with new ideas and perfect their game’s mechanics. And Marchand says Supercombo wouldn’t be anywhere now without the input its fans have provided over the years.

“Some of our members wrote lore and dialogues for the game, designed cards, helped us balance the content, became close friends and will even continue to help us in the future,” he says.