High on Life announces Roiland-free DLC

Squanch Games CEO and studio director Mike Fridley has announced the first DLC for the hugely popular High on Life, an OTT cartoon shooter where the guns talk and the humour is love it or hate it. It's set two years after the original game ends and going for something of a vibe change to horror, with the name High on Knife. 

The DLC stars Knifey, a weapon voiced by Michael Cusack, and the trailer shows off various new characters, enemies and environments: with a notable shift in atmosphere and some pretty grotesque-looking creations, fleshy and bulbous.

"[We're] getting a little spooky this time around," said Fridley. "Not like, "I may never sleep again," levels of terror, but definitely on the "My dreams are going to be broken for a while," end of things. Think body horror, but you start off with a horrible body and it gets even more horrible".

One horrible thing Squanch has had to deal with is accusations of domestic violence and false imprisonment levelled against Justin Roiland, creator of Rick and Morty, co-founder of Squanch Games and voice talent in High on Life. Roiland was arrested in August 2020 and pleaded not guilty in October 2020, before the lawsuit was eventually dropped in March this year. At the time an Orange County district attorney spokesperson told PC Gamer the DA's office "dismissed the charges yesterday as a result of insufficient evidence to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt".

Roiland for his part said he "never had any doubt this day would come," and was "thankful" for the dismissal but "deeply shaken by the horrible lies that were reported about me during this process." Nevertheless Roiland's career has suffered: Adult Swim dropped him from Rick and Morty, and he resigned from Squanch Games. 

All of which is necessary preamble to noting that High on Knife does not feature Roiland reprising his role in the game. The DLC introduces new voice talent for the weapons it's bringing, including Sarah Sherman (SNL, Sarah Squirm) playing a gun called Harper. Another weapon shown is "B.A.L.L., a weird little pinball gun operated by a gaggle of tiny gibberish-speaking freaks," said Alec Robbins, High On Life‘s narrative director. "I actually voice those guys because I won a rigged fan contest". 

High on Knife will be coming this fall, and Fridley adds in passing that the game has now had more than 7.5 million unique players (it's available on Game Pass, but still). If the humour lands for you, it's actually pretty good

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."