We last saw Fe at E3 2016. Launching as part of EA Originals, the game’s unique muted palette and unique aesthetic is a flawless masterpiece. By Swedish developers, Zoink Games is classified as a “personal narrative about our relationship with nature, the land, and its beings.”
Exploration and discovery will, therefore, become key themes in Fe, as Zoink looks to create “a wordless celebration of our longing to be one with the world around us”. The story “that reminds us that everything in this world is connected, living in a delicate balance that is constantly under threat.” In essence, the studio’s title is “a game full of discovery, conflict, and relationships.”
Similar to atmospheric games like Journey and Shadow of the Colossus, the striking indie game is being featured at this year’s Gamescom. The gameplay is dependent on intuition. The character uses an assortment of cries to communicate with animals large and small, recognizable and less so. His abilities deepen throughout the game, enabling him to solve further puzzles and see more of the forest.
“Metroid and Zelda are huge inspirations in how they encourage you to re-explore older areas,” Hugo Bille said. “It’s a great tool to make it easier for players to really know a place.”
It’s a personal fantasy story, one that requires players to be attuned to the world around them in order to proceed. An early part of the demo had Fe stumble across some flowers that looked ready to bloom, but wouldn’t. It turns out he had to enlist the help of a friendly stag to burst them open. But the game doesn’t tell players any of this. To discover how to use the world to Fe’s advantage is to understand this painterly forest and its inhabitants intimately.
“Our most important inspiration is always going to be nature for this one,” Hugo Bille, the game’s creative director, told me. “Something that’s true to the nature of the Nordic forest. There’s no spoken language and so on.”
Fe will launch on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One early next year.