Fe is an upcoming action-adventure game developed by Zoink Games and being published by Electronic Arts. It is an exploration game, focusing on large explorable environments. We’ve seen few clips of the game already, and that is enough to conclude that Fe is nothing like the previous generation open-world games. Zoink is obviously trying something different, something bold and expressive – a bold new game design.
Recently we had the fortune of talking to Alexandra Dahlberg, Community Manager at Zoink Games, and getting to know more about the game. Some of the excerpts from the interview are down below.
What exactly is the game Fe about?
When the game starts, you wake up as a cub in a forest glade. Everything around you is new to you, and it’s up to you to discover who you are while also uncover the secrets of the Silent Ones, a new force that has arrived in the forest.
What are the roles of the Silent Ones in Fe?
That’s for you to find out. Their intentions are unknown, but it seems they are capturing the animals and plants in the forest to use for their own unexplained purposes.
What is the inspiration behind the unique art style of the game (as seen in the trailers)?
We wanted to find a style that made it easy to get the feeling of a dense forest while at the same time not making it hard to spot the wildlife living in it. Otherwise, the inspiration is very much the Nordic forests we’ve grown up in and played in as kids. A place that seemed full of adventure and possibilities, while also having an underlying danger to it.
Exploration games are a rather underrated genre of video games. What exactly do you want to prove to the general audience through this game?
Mostly we want to awaken a feeling of getting thrown into something unknown. Of being a small creature in a large world but still being able to stand up for yourself and those around you. We also want to tell a story that you get to discover while exploring, without having the control taken away from you.
Most exploration games focus on realism, with their environments focusing on human interaction. Fe, however, tries to play differently with a completely different environment design. Explain why?
Realism isn’t generally our thing, we are a very art heavy studio and enjoy exploring different styles. For the environment, the setting of a forest was a given, since we knew we wanted to make a game about [the] silent interaction between animals. But the specific design we chose for Fe came from us wanting to create something that was both beautiful and could give you a feeling of a dense forest while also being able to locate other creatures around you without too much difficulty.
What sort of gameplay elements are you focusing on, seeing that you are using the Zelda-based approach open world exploration?
We can’t quite compare with the vast world of Breath of the Wild. The environments in Fe are a lot denser which means there is more focus on platforming when you move around in the world. There’s also a lot of observing, sneaking and – of course – singing going on!
In trying to develop a unique gameplay experience, what are some of the main challenges you have faced?
There’s definitely a fine line between giving the player freedom and leaving the player frustrated and confused, and this is something we’ve put a lot of time into. Since there are very little actual instructions in the game, and we’ve been working with visual elements and the behaviour of the animals to show you the way forward. It’s been a real balance act, for sure.
Would we have character progression? Skills that can be learned as Fe frees up more of the Forest from the Silent Ones’ control?
Definitely. By befriending the other inhabitants of the forest, Fe can learn new cries, allowing you communicate with different kinds of plants and explore new areas. There are also new skills to learn, for starters you cannot climb trees at the start of the game.
Will the game have combat, or will it solely focus on exploration?
There’s no actual combat done by you, although other creatures may bump together. Since Fe is quite small and agile, its’ strengths lie in being fast and sneaky – as well as having friendly backups.
Lastly, tell us about your experiences, while trying to make a “unique experience” for the players.
I’ve always thought “unique” is such a vague word. All experiences are unique in some way, and Fe is inspired by a lot of games and experiences we’ve had through our lives. But what we believe to be truly interesting about the game are the wordless interactions and the way that opens up to multiple interpretations of the story. It’s been really interesting working with those limitations when working with the storytelling, and we hope you will all enjoy the end result.
Fe is due on 16th February for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch. Make sure to subscribe to our push-notifications and never miss an update from “Fe”. Until next time, Happy Gaming!