by Joseph Leray
Hidden Path Entertainment, the mostly-independent developer behind the "Defense Grid" series, has announced their next game: "Windborne."
Described as "social sandbox creation game," "Windborne" seems like quite the departure for a team best known for tower defense games. "Windborne" tasks players with guiding the mysterious creatures known as "Jin" on their quest to build new civilizations. This involves exploring ancient ruins, crafting homes and artifacts, and defending against marauding enemies. Quests and dragon-breeding (!!) round out the package.
Here's the Official Skinny:
• Building – With a wide variety of building materials, furnishings, and artifacts, you can build whatever you can imagine
• Crafting – Everything can be made and improved, and everything you make has a purpose.
• Exploring – You will be part of your own story as you explore an interesting world that is full of wonder and surprise. Explore millions of ruins filled with puzzles and treasure.
• Guiding – Guide the Jin to civilization by defending them, building homes for them, and teaching them, and they will help you in return.
• Community – See other islands floating by, and visit them to trade with their owners. Join your friends and help them build their town.
• Dragons – Breed dragonlings to unlock special abilities, including the ability to fly!
• Combat – Defeat enemies that are encroaching on your island, or try assaulting a copy of your friend’s island to test its defenses.
• Quests – Pick and choose quests to give you optional challenges that net big rewards.
According to Destructoid, the game's social elements include being able to trade or recruit help from other player-built civilizations. Interestingly, there's also a player-vs-player combat element: if a neighboring island seems vulnerable, your Jin will be free to attack it. This twist is that you'll only be attacking a "copy" of the island -- your civilization will gain points, but your enemy won't actually lose anything.
Destructoid snagged some absolutely gorgeous cel-shaded concept art, while the only screenshot on the game's website suggests a watercolor style. Coupled with the civilization-building focus and mystical-magical artwork, the game's broad range of versatile powers suggest that "Windborne" plays a bit like a so-called god game, a much more grandiose genre than "sandbox creation."
Hidden Path are funding, developing, and publishing "Windborne" on their lonesome (another first!), and the team hope be on Steam Early Access by the end of the year.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter