Upcoming indie game Wayward Strand is a narrative-driven experience set aboard a flying airship hospital in the skies. A free game demo is out now.
Cozy, wholesome, and combat-free game genres have seen a surge in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. Many people unable to see their families and friends turned to virtual worlds to find different ways to interact safely, with games like Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons seeing an immense increase in sales because of it. Demonstrating an industry pivot away from the stereotypical beat-em-‘ups and shooters gaming is arguably known for, it was revealed that this year one-third of games shown at E3 were non-violent.
Indie developer Ghost Pattern has revealed more on its upcoming game, Wayward Strand, a “new type of playable story,” coming to PS4 and PS5. The game will be an interactive narrative experience about a teenager spending time in an aged care ward aboard a hospital in the skies. With its unique art style and gameplay mechanics, fans of wholesome games will likely want to wishlist this title.
Described as “a thoughtful, heart-warming tale, woven together from multiple distinct threads,” Wayward Strand promises to deliver an unforgettable gameplay experience with a difference. The title will see players interact with different characters onboard the airship hospital, getting to know them and listening to their stories. According to the PlayStation Blog, what makes Wayward Strand unique is that stories unfold in real-time, and “NPCs continue their stories without waiting for you to interact with them.” Delving more into the mechanic, art director Goldie Bartlett explains:
The game takes place in the summer of 1978, where budding teenage journalist Casey Beaumaris is asked to help out her mother at work onboard the airborne hospital. As well as chatting with the ship’s overworked staff and lonely patients, Casey can also take a more covert approach. While the game does not have dedicated stealth gameplay like the director’s cut of Death Stranding, players will be able to follow and eavesdrop on NPCs, with findings logged in Casey’s notebook. These notes will form stories the more the player delves into each character’s backstory, which Casey hopes will make a good article for her school newspaper. As might be expected from a game set in a hospital, Wayward Strand will explore some difficult topics such as grief and death, though the developer has noted these darker concerns come alongside the theme of “friendship and community.”
“As a team we’ve spent the last five years crafting the intricately interwoven stories of each characters’ life over the course of these three days, defining and detailing how they each interact with, and bounce off, each other. This means that the actual experience of playing Wayward Strand feels incredibly open – you’re dropped into a living, breathing world, where stuff is happening around you all the time. At any particular moment, you are choosing what, and who, to focus on… just like real life.”
While lots of narrative-driven games feature puzzle mechanics, Ghost Pattern has confirmed Wayward Strand won’t be a puzzle game like the recently announced Out of Line, nor will it be about specific game challenges. Instead, “it’s about being an active participant in a world full of unfolding stories,” according to the developer. As well as coming to PlayStation 4 and 5, Wayward Strand is also coming to PC, though other platforms have not been announced. A demo of the narrative story is available to download on Steam, where the game can now be wishlisted. There’s no set release date yet, but Wayward Strand is expected to launch sometime in 2022.
Wayward Strand comes to PS4, PS5, and PC sometime in 2022.
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