Without question, Microsoft’s E3 2015 keynote was jam-packed full of gaming goodness, as they doled out quite the fair share of surprises. While the company offered up tons of crowd-pleasing information, like the fact that the Xbox One will now be backwards compatible with Xbox 360, Microsoft also made room for indie studios to showcase smaller, more intimate games. During a segment devoted to the [email protected] service, a resource that allows independent developers to self-publish digital games to the Xbox One, multiple titles were revealed, such as Tacoma, Ion, and Beyond Eyes.
Developed by Tiger & Squid—a studio that’s solely comprised of its founder, Sherida Halatoe—Beyond Eyes is the first release for the creator, who displayed it to the public for the first time during the Annual Game Developers Conference 2015. Working in collaboration with Team17, the video game developer known most notably for the Worms series, Beyond Eyes‘ visuals are filled with vivid watercolors that are reminiscent of Studio Ghibli’s film The Tale of Princess Kaguya, while the game’s tranquil, piano-driven music sets a warm and welcoming atmosphere for players.
In explaining Beyond Eyes‘ concept and development, Halatoe says:
“Beyond Eyes is the story of Rae, a young girl who for the first time in her life has to leave the safety of her childhood home, and go explore the outside world. But, being blind, Rae has to visualize the world through other senses, such as hearing, touch, and smell. I made Beyond Eyes, because I wanted to share with the world a story of hope.”
While the setting initially appears to be all in white, once Rae senses her surroundings, she will encounter lustrously colored pastoral environments complete with flowing creeks, flowered fields, and cow pastures. Nevertheless, her journey isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as she will also come into contact with inclement conditions and mysterious black shrouds that force the ten-year-old to face her fears. Ultimately, Rae’s adventure to find her missing cat should prove to be enjoyable for any of us looking for a compact title with picturesque imagery and relaxing gameplay.
For gaming fans in need of a title with darker sensibilities, Microsoft also set aside time during their presentation to reveal Aurora44’s Xbox One exclusive indie game entitled, Ashen. Set in a dim land covered in ash, Ashen is an open world game that forces players into survival mode, as they need to build relationships with other gamers through the construction of camps and towns for shelter against hostile monsters and creatures. While details on the title are slim, if anything, the action RPG is definitely the antithesis to the more light-hearted Beyond Eyes.
Beyond Eyes is to be released in 2015 on Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.