Bird Is The Word: Aer Looks Ethereally Brilliant

By Nathan Grayson on September 20th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

Oh, deer.

I really like it when videogames are beautiful. Not just in the “OMG graphics so realistic that I must existentially entertain the notion that the entire universe could just be a hyper-advanced computer simulation” sense, either. I’m talking about games that create a glittering maw of sights and sounds that licks its lips and proceeds to swallow me whole. These overwhelming visions of other worlds – places I’ve never even dreamed of, but now desperately long to live in. Aer, if I’m very, very lucky, will turn out to be one such experience. It’s a gorgeous sandbox adventure set in a strange, naturalistic, old sky world. You play as a girl who can transform into a bird at will, as we all secretly wish we could.

Wowzers. Reminds me of both Journey and Zelda: The Wind Waker, which are the only two good console games. Admittedly, however, this is apparently only a “concept” trailer and is subject to change. But, if all goes to plan, Aer won’t just be an attractively beaked face. The world will be a place, and one that sounds well worth exploring, at that.

“As a girl with the ability to take bird form, you will fly to explore and experience a marvelous yet dying world. With a focus on freedom, curiosity and aesthetics you will traverse the skies, home for nomad tribes, wildlife and secrets of old. You will soon be wrapped up in a tale of such stuff that magic is born from; prophecies, gods and dreams.”

“With a sandbox-like gameplay you will be allowed to explore the world as you like, and during that time help its inhabitants. Ultimately you will challenge the gods and save reality itself.”

It all sounds rather magical, but it’s still too far out to go all starry disco ball eyes at it just yet. I really like what Aer wants to be. But game development isn’t magic, and things can go horribly, horribly wrong. I am hopeful, but I plan to wait and see. And maybe watch that scrumptious trailer a few more times.

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27 Comments »

  1. razorramone says:

    Looks awesome. Definitely reminds me of sailing around enjoying the world in Wind Walker. I love games with huge draw distances, I wish more would make it a priority.

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  2. stahlwerk says:

    Here’s the unofficial demo / Trailer / thing:

    http://www.ro.me

  3. Chris Cunningham says:

    Nagrand. Nagrand is what you meant to say it reminded you of.

  4. noodlecake says:

    Very pretty. :)

  5. Urthman says:

    Oh yes. People complain about the incredibly high cost of producing “realistic” content for current-gen systems. But there is still this enormous untapped space for stylized, artistic graphics that are much cheaper to create, less taxing on the hardware (freeing up power for things like enormous draw-distances or more complex AI or physics), and potentially more beautiful, original, and/or striking than the most realistic Cryengine game running on tomorrow’s hardware.

    • Christo4 says:

      And you can also make the world bigger and actually worth exploring!

    • Stardreamer says:

      Wulf – anyone remember Wulf? – used to bang on about this a lot, and I completely agreed with him. When devs focus on apeing that boring old real world we lose part of the magic of computing. Games like Fract have the right idea. Go nuts in the digital space! Build worlds that can’t exist anywhere else. I was immediately attracted to this because of the style. Top work, that developer.

  6. Premium User Badge cpt_freakout says:

    Looks great! Question is, will it only be for interaction-as-exploration, as in Proteus? Or will we be able to “do” stuff in the world?

    It also reminds me of Shelter, so I’m off to cry in some corner about mama badger now.

    • winterspree says:

      You will be able to do more than just exploring, don’t worry about that! Can’t release any more info on the matter just yet though :)

    • Premium User Badge particlese says:

      Hmmm…I think I’d be happy with or without things to “do” in a game that looks and sounds like this, but I also hope and suspect from the trailer that most of those things aren’t “combat”. Looks like there will be some antagonists, which is great for keeping things interesting and memorable, but I just hope the conflicts don’t send the protagonist on a murderous rampage, exterminating all Cybermen and Bouldersnakes in the entire universe. Looks fine so far, though. ;)

      At this point, I’m really just excited to see wherever the dev goes with this. The concept looks and sounds fantastic!

      Edit: Just read the description on Krumbukt’s site…Can’t wait! :D

  7. bongosabbath says:

    I love this sort of polygonal art style. I really want to see more things like this.

  8. winterspree says:

    Hi folks! I am one of the developers at Forgotten Key and I’d like to say thank you for all your kind words! I’ll try to answer as many questions as I can (to the extent I can). You can find me at twitter as @_Krumbukt if you would care to look :)

    • norfolk says:

      What little we have to go on here looks gorgeous and compelling.

      Do you have any plans for a kickstarter? How are you funding yourselves?

      • Krumbukt says:

        Thanks! We have loose plans for that in the future, depending on our situation, but nothing set in stone at the moment. Up until now we are funded by awards from competitions we have won as well as some personal capital.

        EDIT: Oh, I changed my username from Winterspree to Krumbukt, but apparently the other comments still says Winterspree. Anyway, I am the same person answering!

        • jaguar skills says:

          Don’t really have any questions, but just wanted to say the game looks gorgeous and I see bright things in your future whatever the funding method is.

          Actually, you know what? I think I do have a question. To me, that game evoked hints of Wind Waker / Skyward Sword (the asthetic, not accusing the game of being as tedious as SW), Journey and a smattering of Fez. Did any of these influence you, or was it the source of their inspiration ie Miyamoto?

          • Krumbukt says:

            Both Wind waker and Journey are probably the two largest sources of inspiration but it is taken from other aesthetic oriented games such as Fez, Bastion, Machinarium etc. as well. A hint of Mario as well, but as we have stated on our website, the focus will be on exploration, freedom and aesthetics (which for me at least means a experience based game).

            EDIT: And thanks! :D

  9. dagudman says:

    Just pointing that aer in Romanian (and possibly other languages but I am not sure) means air. Quite fitting.

  10. captain nemo says:

    Reminds me of the fun I had zooming about with a jet-pack in ‘Project Nomads’

  11. crinkles esq. says:

    Part of the reason it looks great is because of a consistent, homogenous colour palette. As opposed to say…the new SimCity expansion which is a jarring mess of hues, lacking any congruency. And yes…it does seem to have a heavy Wind Waker influence, but with flying instead of sailing. Which is not a bad thing, assuming the gameplay is good.

  12. Stardreamer says:

    Oh hot damn: sign me up! Somebody give me a pen!

    This looks fab and I don’t even know what it is. No-one spoil it for me by saying any words about it.

  13. Slight0 says:

    Interesting how companies pour untold man hours into advancing the graphics frontier with both amazing technologies at affordable prices and giant armies of artists and animators in order to bring visuals in entertainment to a whole new dimension only to get pushed aside by a guy or two who’s “artistic vision” is 4 colors and landscapes made out of tortilla chips.

    Don’t get me wrong, you can do a lot with a handful or tortilla chips, but have we seen that here? The only thing interestingly abstract or “different” aspect about this landscape that would set it apart from normal boring ol’ nature (sarcasm) is the floating islands. Same old trees, deer, people, rolling hills covered in green grass, white clouds, grey mountains, ect, ect. What is so special about this that justifies the low graphical fidelity? I mean the article panders to this game like it’s the next big thing that everyone needs to know about.

    I sure can’t wait to explore one of the five 10′x10′ islands I see in front of me! There could be buried treasure, though no deeper than three feet lest it fall out the bottom of the island!

    • Rhodokasaurus says:

      Have you considered that your comment is literally worthless? I’m serious, did it occur to you for one tiny moment that you, having produced nothing of beauty or meaning or value, possibly in your entire life, should just piss off?

      Or do you think your comment has enriched someone’s life?

      I think the trailer looks beautiful, if RPS didn’t show it to me I may have never seen it. It’s a world I’d love to escape into for a while. I hope that the developers find the resolve it takes to pull it off, because it could be fantastic.

      And if it doesn’t turn out good? At least I wasn’t a miserable twat about someone else’s hard work.

    • jaguar skills says:

      It’s called minimalism, and when it looks easy it’s because it’s been pulled off by someone with genuine talent. If you have a better example I’d genuinely love to see it but I suspect you don’t.

      Also, you do really think a team of hundreds of people can ever match the artistic vision and coherency of a single auteur? Sometimes, collaboration works brilliantly but most AAA games are the bland result of endless focus groups and design meetings where everyone has their say and makes the end product diluted. That’s how you end up with remakes of Syndicate and XCom as FPS games.

    • Stardreamer says:

      I bet you’re one of those people that said South Park had terrible animation, too.

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