Ghost Town Games is serving up a veritable buffet of chaotic co-op goodness this year with the upcoming release of Overcooked! All You Can Eat. Compiling every tasty mouthful of Overcooked content into one compilation, All You Can brings Overcooked, Overcooked 2, and every piece of its DLC to Xbox Series X and PS5. The next-gen recipe includes enhanced 4K graphics, 60fps gameplay, faster loading times, and a variety of other improvements. If that weren't enough, the package will also come stuffed with over 200 levels, including seven new additions to cook up some chaos, along with three new chefs to add to the roster.
Work on bringing the multiplayer culinary adventures to the next generation started back in September 2019, and the chance to work on a PS5 and Xbox Series X remaster was one the team was eager to take up. It presented Ghost Town Games co-founders Phil Duncan and Oli De-Vine with the unique opportunity to return to Overcooked with all of the experience and knowledge they have gained since the series made its debut. The intention, Duncan tells me, is to create a more universal and polished experience across the two games.
"It was just a golden opportunity, really, that you don't get that much in development," Duncan says. "When we made the first game, it was literally just the two of us working out of my front room. And obviously, there's just like a whole heap of constraints there. Like, financially, we were making the game off our savings, which obviously then gives you a sort of tighter timeframe than you'd normally have maybe when developing a game."
"But we obviously had to learn a lot on the job, we had to become animators and UI artists, and audio engineers, and all these things that we managed to do to a very limited extent. And with All You Can Eat, it's obviously this opportunity to bring onboard world-class artists, and animators, and sound engineers, and producers, and community managers. So there are all these people that we'd worked with on Overcooked 2 with Team17, but to have them get their hands on Overcooked 1, and to bring that sort of level of polish and improved content, was just a dream come true for us."
As part of creating a more cohesive experience across both games in All You Can Eat, there have been major improvements made to the online experience. That's a change made because of an abundance of player feedback Ghost Town Games and Team17 received from the community since the release of Overcooked 2. "One of the larger requests from the audience was to have a better online system, and we are doing as much as we can to provide that and provide a better experience online – a more seamless experience online," says Luca Imbriani, game designer of All You Can Eat.
As a couch co-op game, Overcooked originally only had local multiplayer support. In order to bring the first game into the online multiplayer experience for the next-generation consoles, it had to be rebuilt in the Overcooked 2 engine, which required a lot of reconstructive work. Online support also brings with it cross-play support, which is expected to come shortly after launch. The team hopes the effort put into the online side will offer a more streamlined and improved experience across both games.
"Going from Overcooked 1 to Overcooked 2, we had a lot of code work that went in to make the game online enabled. And that's something that is quite a big reconstruction project to the codebase," explains Oli De-Vine, co-founder and programmer of Ghost Town Games. "And so when it came to bringing Overcooked 1 in, it sort of had to be brought into that [Overcooked 2] engine. And then the whole thing can then be online-enabled for both Overcooked 1 levels and Overcooked 2, because that's something that Overcooked 1 never had, and we couldn't really do when it was just two of us because it just required way too much work – that's something Team17 have been really helpful in making."
Outside of cooking up a storm for the online side of things, All You Can Eat will also enjoy the perks of the next-gen hardware with greatly improved 4K graphics, 60fps gameplay, and faster loading times. It's clear from speaking to the team that there's a lot of excitement surrounding the visual improvements that refine the look of the game and really bring Overcooked into the next generation. With its charming cartoon-ish art style and colourful level designs, the look of both games really adds to its appeal, and All You Can Eat is giving it a new lease of life with more detail and higher resolution graphics.
All You Can Eat producer Chris Ashworth is quick to express just how beautiful the game looks in 4K, with both Overcooked and Overcooked 2 being uplifted to make the most of the next-gen consoles. Imbriani tells me that one of the changes they are most excited about is how amazing the water looks on certain levels, such as the ice and pirate ship. You just have to look at comparisons between the original and the enhanced All You Can Eat version to see just how much richer and more polished both games look overall.
Alongside graphical enhancements, the team has also been impressed by just how much faster the loading times are, which is a key selling point of the Xbox Series X and PS5. De-Vine believes the leap to the next generation has other benefits that the players won't be immediately aware of but will definitely feel the benefit of, as the process of developing games gets faster and easier for studios of all sizes.
"I think it's [game development] getting easier with each console generation, they're getting more aligned between consoles on the kind of process," says De-Vine, adding, "I remember, like a couple of generations back, the difference between the different consoles in terms of what you'd have to do to develop on them really slowed game development down. And now we're getting to a point where it's getting faster and faster to be able to sort of iterate on games design. The more performance we have out of consoles, the easier it is to produce games quickly. And that means making games that are more diverse in terms of the kind of designs that they can have."
Going back for seconds
For all of the polished perks of the next-gen version, there's also plenty of additional content for players to tuck into, as well as more features to cater to a wider audience. In fact, there are now so many chefs to choose from in All You Can Eat, that the team has overhauled the selection process to make it easier to find your favourites. If that weren't enough, there's also a renewed incentive to get stuck into the culinary quest all over again thanks to some shiny new achievements and trophies to earn.
Player feedback also afforded the team valuable insight into ways they could make Overcooked and Overcooked 2 more accessible, with features such as dyslexic friendly text and options for colour blindness. A new assist mode is also being introduced to cater to different players' experience levels, which the team believes will be especially beneficial to families playing the game with young children. Ultimately, the team wants as wide an audience as possible to enjoy the Overcooked experience with All You Can Eat.
"I think it's always a process with accessibility – trying to increase the amount of features you can add, thinking about more people – because there's always going to be more to do I think," De-Vine says, "but it's been good to try and push that further with this [All You Can Eat]. And to try and expand that degree of people who can be brought together by this because it's something we really enjoy doing. And it's something we really want to do."
The delightful cooking co-op adventure has come a long way since it was developed by a two-person team, and with all of the player feedback and experience gained, Overcooked! All You Can Eat looks set to bring the definitive Overcooked experience to next-gen consoles.
Overcooked! All You Can Eat is set to launch later this year on PS5 and Xbox Series X.