Yet another game shown off during Microsoft’s Xbox briefing at E3 2017 was Ashen, an upcoming Xbox One-exclusive role-playing game from New Zealand-based developer Aurora44. A pretty fantastic trailer was unveiled, revealing that Ashen touts a handful of elements akin to indie titles like INSIDE, particularly in regards to design.
The trailer for Ashen leaned into three core areas of the game: battle, exploration, and opponents. Featuring all-killer/no-filler combat, an eerie and expansive open world to wander through, and enormous enemies to slay, the first look at Ashen is a memorable one. Another interesting element of the footage is the focus on multiple adventurers battling it out together. This could indicate that teams or clans will be of major importance in Ashen‘s narrative and that co-operative play will be a lynchpin in the game’s overall structure.
Perhaps what viewers zeroed in most on in the clip is Ashen‘s unique and impactful art style, which is more geometric and far less detailed than many games on the market today. The characters in Ashen go without eyes, noses, or any kind of facial features. All that’s shown on the blank faces of some starring characters are oversized mustaches. Everyone is dolled up in grim, monotone clothing — a color palette that’s reflected in the overall aesthetic of the game and even in its title — that leaves the viewer wanting to dive into the mystery of Ashen.
Microsoft provided a synopsis for the game:
“Ashen is an action role-playing game about a wanderer in search of a place to call home. There is no sun, and the only natural light comes from eruptions that cover the land in ash. This is a world where nothing lasts, no matter how tightly you cling to it. At its core, Ashen is about forging relationships. Players can guide those they trust to their camp — together, you might just stand a chance.”
Ashen was first announced at E3 2015 as part of the ID@Xbox initiative, and now hopefuls of the open-world survival title really know what they’re bargaining for. Two years ago, developer Aurora44 indicated that the game features a “non-linear progression,” which means no two games will be exactly the same. Players popping up in different places at certain times during gameplay will “alter the story in dramatic ways,” and any encounter players have with other characters or enemies can spell disaster.
Marry the previous sprinkling of details with the full-frontal reveal at this year’s E3, and it definitely seems that Ashen is something to get excited about. Unfortunately, the impressive trailer is about the only thing different between Ashen‘s outing at E3 2015 and at E3 2017. Microsoft still hasn’t stamped the title with an official release date, but the company did confirm Ashen will be playable in 4K resolution for the recently announced Xbox One X.
Ashen will release for the Xbox One.