The power to change things is the power to have fun in your own special way
It can be hard to create unique experiences that stick in the mind, especially for players who have been enjoying the hobby for years. Providing intrigue and incentivizing the gameplay experience can pave the way, and in Inflexion Games’ Nightingale, player choice and agency will play a huge role in driving the moment-to-moment gameplay in the open-world survival crafting title.
As Realmwalkers, the dangerous Fae Realms are not just fantastical worlds ripe for exploration but are also locations full of precious materials and loot. Conventional thinking might dictate that these be linear experiences, ensuring that players get to see everything there is to offer, but the immense freedom offered by Realm Cards in Nightingale brings a whole other dimension of fun.
“We spent over three years building a technology stack that helps us build our realms procedurally. It takes all the exceptional design work of our level artists, environment artists, and our designers to craft something unique in Nightingale but driven by player choice,” shared Aaryn Flynn, CEO of Inflexion Games and previous General Manager at BioWare. “So the exciting thing here is that players have a lot of agency over the kind of environment, that kind of experience they get to go play.”
Obviously, the intricate workings of the methodology and algorithm behind the scenes can be very technical, but what players ultimately need to understand is they hold plenty of power in directing their own enjoyment in Nightingale.
Players have the ability to open up realms that house biomes such as a forest, desert, or swamps as seen in the latest trailer, with more biomes set to be revealed in the future. Further degrees of control will open up as players progress deeper into the game, finding recipes and begin crafting more Realm Cards, culminating in a survival crafting experience that is of their own making.
Knowing the curious nature of players, it is likely that this process of control and subsequent procedural generation may break something along the way, and for Flynn, that is a situation that is more than welcomed.
“That’s okay, that’s going to help us understand them better. And prepare for that and improve it, maybe find some fun there. I think players love to explore edge cases, so this is just another thing they’re welcome to go do and try out and let us know what they find.”
The crafting system powering Realm Cards is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, as players will jump in from the same starting line, before choosing where they want to go, finishing quests, and eventually building out their base of operations. And these estates are not just window dressing, they will serve important gameplay functions.
“The whole thing there is to empower players to build the estates the way they want them to look and at the same time, give them really interesting, functional upgrades that entice them to seek out the possibilities, so they can benefit from the improvements.”
Surviving is also a huge part of the game, and aside from finding important resources and not getting overwhelmed by dangerous flora and fauna, Nightingale features an interesting survival mechanic in the form of Hope. With a limited pool to draw from, the further players explore away from their estate, the more Hope drains.
It helps add another layer of strategy and management to the proceedings, beyond the usual health and stamina bars and the like, and fits quite well into the premise of Nightingale. How players manage that and possibly find ways to extend their time away from home will be something to look out for.
That said, no one has to adventure alone. While solo play is available, having a group of Realmwalkers together brings a different feel to things, and maintaining a good balance of challenge and accessibility is a task that Inflexion takes seriously. In future playtests, player feedback will figure heavily into how the studio plans to refine the game further.
Just like how the team envisions players building out their worlds and discovering all there is out there in the Faewilds, the team at Inflexion are living the very lives of Realmwalkers, crafting the perfect experience that players will soon be invited into. While the job is never done, things are looking promising, and that’s pretty much all that is needed to ignite that sense of adventure and venture into the unknown. And remember, the choice is yours in Nightingale.
Nightingale is set for release on Steam Early Access in Q4 2022.