We have established a connection with Aurora44 and have received the opportunity to do an interview with their designer Derek Bradley. The team of talented developers is working on their first official game called Ashen, a beautiful looking third person action RPG about forging relationships. In this interview we’ll get to understand a little bit more about what Ashen actually is and what you can do in it, so let’s get on with the interview and find out more about Ashen:
GPCF: What’s your studio’s history on how it came to be in relation to Ashen?
A44 Derek: Ashen is our first game. We are a group of passionate developers who left our jobs at Weta Digital just as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug had wrapped up.
GPCF: On the website, Ashen is described as an “action RPG about forging relationships.” Can you explain this in a bit more detail?
A44 Derek: This is the absolute core of Ashen. Relationships, much like a good steel axe head, are forged in the fire. In the case of relationships in Ashen, the fires are shared adversity.
Many of the people you meet while out exploring will be other players. Working together to overcome the many dangers that surround you will forge lasting bonds that will span the entire game.
GPCF: What’s the aim of Ashen, what are you hoping for when people experience playing the game?
A44 Derek: The aim of Ashen is to immerse players in a world they can believe, and to give them genuine shared moments with others.
GPCF: Can you talk a bit more about how the gameplay works in relation to what you do in this action RPG?
A44 Derek: Much of the gameplay is centered around player choice. There will be multiple ways to accomplish different goals and each way will cater to a unique play style.
An example might be a locked door barring a travel route. If a player enjoys the skill based combat in Ashen (similar to games like Windwaker, Monster Hunter or the Souls series) they may be able to defeat a challenging enemy and acquire the key to the door. If they enjoy travel and have an understanding of the wind currents in the world, they could use these to their advantage and swiftly travel the long way and arrive at the same destination, unlocking the door from the inside.
GPCF: We’ve only seen screenshots and animated gifs, and the game looks beautiful! What are you trying to achieve in terms of its graphics and art design for the game?
A44 Derek: The goal for the look of Ashen is to make something iconic, simple and unique.
The fact that we have no faces in the game is important for the iconic side of things. This really turns people into simpler icons, so when a player meets someone else out in the world, they will need to judge them by their actions, not their face.
Having no faces is also a perfect example of how important simplification and achieving a unique look is to us.
GPCF: From where did the idea of Ashen comes from? What were your inspirations or reasons to make this game?
A44 Derek: Ashen truly started as the desire to make a game. So one day, we got together for a meeting and each brought a game pitch to the table. Ashen was the game that was chosen.
GPCF: We’re assuming it’s a single-player game, unless you confirm otherwise which we would then love to know the details about, is there a story to the game and can you share a little bit of it?
A44 Derek: There very much is multiplayer in Ashen, though I have talked a bit about that already, so I can talk a bit more about the story. Ashen is set in a world with no sun. There is no natural light. One day, there is an eruption that lights the land and covers the world in ash. This is the start of the game.
The story that unfolds revolves around discovering the source of the light and how to protect it.
GPCF: You guys are oozing with talent from what we’re seeing, do you have any amazing games you would like to make after Ashen is released?
A44 Derek: Absolutely! Having said this, we are very focused on Ashen at the moment. When Ashen is out we will sit around a meeting table again and bring the teams game pitches together.
GPCF: We’re being teased with screenshots and gifs from the date Ashen was announced, when are we going to see it in video form, or play it? Are you planning to release interesting news we can look forward to soon, or something you can announce with us here?
A44 Derek: We are planning on releasing interesting news soon, tough I cant say what quite yet 🙂
GPCF: Lastly, how will you support the game, if you will, after its release?
A44 Derek: We will be patching and updating Ashen to make sure the experience is as enjoyable as possible. There are currently no plans for DLC.
So that’s the interview! Thanks again to Aurora44 and Derek Bradley for taking the time and having this interview. So the new info we learned from this interview is that the game has online multiplayer where you actual play with players and not just ghosts, in the lines of games like Journey, where you suddenly see someone and would want to ‘forge’ a relationship with that person, going on adventures and enduring dangers together. Ashen is not only trying to let you have an amazing immersive experience, but one that you would share with someone else that you would later on call a friend.
The game will feature unique ways of giving different options for players to take depending on their preferred play style. The gameplay is skilled-based like Wind Waker or Dark Souls.
The reason why the main character / characters have no faces is to force the player to judge another not by their looks but their actions.
Interesting and exciting new info, hopefully this interview will hold you off (us too) until we get more pieces of info or footage about Ashen, as Derek mentions new info will be coming out soon, but let’s hope it’s not Valve time soon.