"And if you scream really loud, some animals will run away," Beijer says. "So you have to sort of lure them by talking gently. By moving gently. Things like that. But once you're friends, they're more easygoing, so they don't get startled as easily."
There's no traditional dialog in Fe. No quest-tracking system, or even a map to know where you are in the world. You'll need to interpret everything through the game's animal voices and build your own mental map of the forest. For Zoink Games, it's a huge design challenge, but one they've come to relish. Like Journey, Abzu and Inside, their view is that the story should be open to interpretation. "We have an idea of what the story is about, but we're not 100 percent certain that everyone is going to come out with that exact impression," Bills says.
Much of the game is still shrouded in mystery. But the team hinted that the general structure is reminiscent of Metroid. One large, seamless world that slowly opens up as you play. There will also be huge creatures reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus. Towards the end of the demo, Bills scaled a huge reindeer that towered over the rest of the forest. It was so large, in fact, that trees were growing on its legs and back. Upon reaching its head, the two shared a brief conversation, granting Fe the power to talk to other deer.
"We have an idea of what the story is about, but we're not 100 percent certain that everyone is going to come out with that exact impression."
Fe is an intriguing adventure filled with visual wonder and a unique underlying theme: How communication, and playfulness, is key to reconnecting with nature. It's also part of EA's "Originals" initiative, which so far has delivered Unravel and soon, the split-screen co-op adventure A Way Out. Thankfully, it won't be long before we know how Fe has turned out; it's scheduled for early 2018 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC and the Nintendo Switch. I'm particularly excited by that last one, if only so I can sit and play while my back is resting against an old birch tree.
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