Ashen Looks Beautiful: An Open World RPG About Friends

By Graham Smith on July 8th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

Guybrush?

The Ashen website promises “open world”, “passive multiplayer”, “non-linear progression” and “high risk combat”, which are all things that sound exciting and Up My Street and My Bag so on. That’s not why I’m posting about it though, because those things don’t exist yet and I haven’t and can’t play the game. I’m posting about it because its concept art is gorgeous and because of a five-second animation clip of the scene pictured above.

I suggest making that full screen so you can properly appreciate the windy sense of adventure. Ashen is being made by Aurora44, a small team formed from people who previously worked in the film industry: lead artist Leighton Milne and animator Yannick Gillain previously worked together on The Hobbit films, and designer and coder Derek Bradley worked on Prometheus and The Avengers. Plus John Robert Matz, who contributed to the Gunpoint score, is doing sound design.

So if it’ll likely look and sound good, what do you actually do?

Ashen is an action RPG about a wanderer in search of a place to call home. There is no sun and the natural light that exists comes from eruptions that cover the land in ash. This is a world where nothing lasts, no matter how tightly you cling to it.

At its core, Ashen is about forging relationships.

Players can choose to guide those they trust to their camp, encouraging them to rest at the fire and perhaps remain. People you meet out in the world will have unique skills and crafting abilities to bolster your chances of survival.

Together, you might just stand a chance.

Which, yep, sounds Up My Bag, etc. But mainly:

(Click for full size)

There’s a bunch more art and detail over at the Ashen website, and more still in the presskit.

PS. When I Googled to double-check that RPS hadn’t already written about this game, the description for the top result said this story was written “By John… Throbometer”. It’s easy to see what happened there, but let’s agree, secretly and never to be mentioned again, that this is now John’s name.

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21 Comments »

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Top comments

  1. Viper50BMG says:

    Hi all, John Robert Matz (the audio guy on the Ashen team) here!
    The insanely talented Thomas Scholes is indeed doing our concept art and working on world design, and you can see a few more in-engine screenshots (and follow news and development) on our Twitter account https://twitter.com/aurora44games
    (We'll also have a proper dev blog up soon, so stay tuned for that!)
  1. Penguin_Factory says:

    Next-gen floppy hat animations confirmed. GOTY.

    Seriously though this looks promising.

  2. HiFiHair says:

    I think this looks entirely worthwhile. The soulful game description is so sweetly poignant.

  3. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    I’m John-ing with anticipation.

  4. altum videtur says:

    I hope one day we get a game where you build and get to know and trust a team of people so you can sacrifice them to the volcano god (Pelé humbly requests a sacrifice, if it’s not too much trouble).

  5. JFS says:

    How cunning to use an ash catastrophe as a background. You never have to worry about draw distance!

    • Blackcompany says:

      Good point. However, it also lends a bit to the atmosphere. Hazy. Shrouded and uncertain. Just as everything within this game world is said to be.

      Because of all the people who will – inevitably – find a way to play it as a PVP griefing murder simulator. I want to be wrong about that, by the way. I do.

  6. Greggh says:

    WHY GOD, WHY!!!… aren’t those screenshots click-able???

    Guuuhh -_-

  7. CrazedIvan says:

    I need to play this game now. Release date be damned!

  8. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    Looks very nice, sounds very good.

    The lonely windswept landscape reminds me of the bit in the film Excalibur where Perceval goes off on the quest for the Holy Grail. The rest of the artwork also lends itself to that kind of Arthurian feel.

  9. Pliqu3011 says:

    I knew I recognised the artstyle, and Ashen’s website confirms it. The man mainly to thank for this gorgeous concept art is Thomas Scholes, it’s 100% his style.
    Check out his deviantArt gallery, it’s simply amazing: http://tomscholes.deviantart.com/

    Also I guess he stopped working on his personal game project Oppidum (point-and-click adventure) then, which is a shame because it looked absolutely stunning (as usual).
    EDIT: It seems parts of Oppidum live on in this project, because some of the concept art on Ashen’s website was previously made for Oppidum.

  10. Viper50BMG says:

    Hi all, John Robert Matz (the audio guy on the Ashen team) here!
    The insanely talented Thomas Scholes is indeed doing our concept art and working on world design, and you can see a few more in-engine screenshots (and follow news and development) on our Twitter account https://twitter.com/aurora44games
    (We’ll also have a proper dev blog up soon, so stay tuned for that!)

  11. infernalmachine says:

    But will it have Sad Onions?

  12. Premium User Badge

    welverin says:

    “(Click for full size)”

    That’s click to embiggen, thank you very much.

  13. Geebs says:

    Could it be any more open?