New Zealand’s A44 Games follows up 2018’s gorgeous action-RPG Ashen with an intoxicating open-world blend of fantasy and firearms. Just as its world sits on the cusp of a technological revolution, so too is this a bold leap forward for its creator: now part of development collective Kepler Interactive, the studio has put together an ambitious, expansive and richly detailed open world, and Edge 370 has the inside story on how it was built.
In Flintlock: The Siege Of Dawn, you play as Nor, an explosives expert at the frontline of a war against the old gods. When tragedy strikes, she deserts her post and, hearing a rumour about a possible god-killing weapon, sets off to find it. But while she’s capable of wielding flintlock pistols, rifles, shotguns and more, this is an altogether different kind of weapon – a living one.
For the rest of the game, Nor is partnered with Enki, a mischievous fox-like creature whose abilities tie into both combat and exploration. While you can harness his dark magic in the challenging Soulslike encounters, he also factors into traversal, latching onto floating nodes to zip through the air. “Essentially, it feels like a rollercoaster ride,” game director Derek Bradley says, yet it’s anything but on-rails, with nodes sucking you in and then spitting you out, forcing you to throw out explosives to redirect Nor and break her fall. Bradley likens it to the way a certain Marvel superhero gets around. “It ends up being a bit Spider-Man-like, I would say, in terms of how you dart between things,” Bradley adds. “But also a puzzle.”
Marvel meets Miyazaki sounds like a mouthwatering proposition; indeed, if you want to find out more about the combat’s rhythmic elements or the story of how Nor gets the band back together, you’ll have to read E370’s extensive cover feature. And talking of Miyazaki, in our extended Play section you can read the definitive Edge verdict on FromSoftware’s latest opus, Elden Ring, alongside reviews of Gran Turismo 7, Kirby And The Forgotten Land, Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, Tunic, Norco and many more.
Elsewhere in E370, we reflect upon the ten-year anniversary of three groundbreaking games, exploring how Journey, The Unfinished Swan and Dear Esther pioneered a new form of narrative expression for videogames. We also talk to Atari veteran Ed Rotberg about his career at the vanguard of the coin-op era, explore the making of a modern RPG classic in Tales Of Arise, and look back at how a student project about environmental awareness evolved into vibrant puzzle-platformer De Blob.
In our Hype section we catch up with Inkle to find out why A Highland Song is its most un-Inkle-like game to date, and the new Telltale to investigate The Wolf Among Us 2. We manage to extricate ourself from Neon White just long enough to explain why this esoteric firstperson shooter is the most exciting speedrunning game in years, and why Fez-inspired Metroidvania Animal Well could be the sleeper hit of 2022. All this and much more can be found in Edge 370, which is on sale now.