Vane: An echo of Team Ico in this fresh game

Vane: An echo of Team Ico in this fresh game

The Last Guardian has been dangled above our goes like a golden carrot for so long that it has literally become the Holy Grail of gaming. But during it’s long arduous journey, leaping from platform to platform, rolling around development hell (and so many begging that we are not being set up for another Duke Nukem travesty), something has crawled out of the woodwork to whet our ICO whistle for a while.

And that something is called Vane.

Created by Friend and Foe gaming, a team that is made up of a few developers from the original Last Guardian team, the game is set in a desolate world where players will trek across deserts to solve puzzles in ancient tombs and ruins. Very familiar territory if you’re well acquainted with Team ICO games.

What’s it about?

From early access screenshots it’s effortless to feel the atmospheric appeal it has to suggest, and even lighter to see the inspiration from The Last Guardian and other Team ICO games. The brief movie offers an interesting setting and gameplay.

Furious sandstorms pursue the player into ruins, coiled with lightning storms and winds, and the tombs seem to hold dangers themselves from shifting sands to sheer drops. But the most intriguing part comes right at the end of the brief movie, where the protagonist leaps from the ruins – and switches into an eagle.

With such an interesting premise it is nothing brief of ‘I need to have it’. Nothing can be more tranquil and amazing than soaring like an eagle across a desert landscape, solving puzzles and avoiding dangers with this unique capability.

There is something other-worldly about it, and with so few true animal games like Tokyo Jungle and Okami, it is a title that will surely be welcomed by many players.

“Vane is a game that doesn’t want to communicate anything explicitly to the player,” says Mat Smith, developer on the team, “so that means we need to be extra careful in blocking out and testing our environments to guide the player in subtle ways where necessary.”

This is slightly reminiscent of another desert game Journey. Very little is communicated in Journey and players are welcome to explore and do as they wish, taking away from the game what they find and not what the game wants to force them to love. It opens the door for emotional and intellectual interpretation, suggesting a broader discussion than the average shoot em up does.

When can we buy it?

As intriguing as Vane is there are so many questions left unanswered. Will there be enemies? Can you switch into anything else? Are those sandstorms part of the puzzle? And most importantly; when will it be finished?

However all these questions will be answered when the game is eventually released it is hard to say when we will get our paws on it. In one of Friend and Foes updates (April 2015) Matt Smith stated they were in the process of upgrading visuals, cleaning up the core game-play to get the game ready for a pitch and hopefully get it out on the shelves swifter. This sounds promising and they’ve since made another post on the development, but a definite date still eludes us.

If nothing else it is something to look froward to in the painful months we have to wait for The Last Guardian. But from what we can see from this ‘petite big game’ as Matt calls it, it will undoubtedly have us soaring with delight.

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