A Valley With A New Look In A Valley Without Wind 2

A new enemy, probably. I think.

Arcen Games’ side-scrolling random-o-action game A Valley Without Wind continues to divide opinion, mostly due to its unusual appearance, but perhaps the warring tribes of Like and Don’t Like may be united by the sequel. It sports a new look, a bunch of new features such as building and it’s going to cost the princely sum of no-pennies to anywho who bought AVWW The First.

You’ll be wanting to read lead dev Chris Park’s long post about his plans, intentions and promises for AVWW2, but the main point he wants to convey is that “Valley 2 is a true sequel — it’s a lot more different from the first game than many sequels are compared to their original.” So this isn’t a rehash, but rethought second pass at the concept. Sounds as though he was originally planning to substantially alter the original game (which he’s already done a great deal of) but elected to make a whole new one so as not to encourage fans of the current design into firing up their angry tanks. Rather than risk a Left 4 Dead 2 outcry, the new game will be freefreefree to AVWW1 purchasers. Hooray!

Intended features include at least 120 new enemies, city-building, more of a turn-basde focus in the ‘macro game’, physics, bosses, perks and – perhaps biggest of all – an isometric world map. There are losses too, most pertinently the inventory and the sandbox element (though the game will still be procedural), as this moves to more of a directed but large-scale Metroidvania type of thing. But please don’t react merely to my crude summation, as there’s a ton of deep detail on how all this going to work over and why it’s changing on the Arcen site. They’re aiming to be a bit less post-genre with it, and believe “we have something that’s a lot tighter and more fun.”

I hope it pays off. AVWW was a game I wanted to like on paper, but couldn’t in practice. Arcen are clearly aware that there have been… issues, so hopefully this time around all will be well. No screenshots yet, but there is a bunch of art, again on the site. A beta is planned for Novemberish.


  1. sinister agent says:

    These guys have so much respect for their customers.

  2. Crimsoneer says:

    I nearly feed bad getting the sequel for free. I’ve followed development since alpha, and the regularity of updates puts some companies to shame.

    • Vinraith says:

      Personally I’m planning to just buy it anyway. I got many times my money’s worth out of AVWW, Arcen doesn’t owe me anything.

      • arccos says:

        Yup! Guess I’m one of the few who really enjoyed what the first does. There are absolutely rough edges all around, but it was quite fun!

  3. zebramatt says:

    Also, everyone who purchases Valley 2 will get a free copy of Valley 1, I’m told.

    • allen says:

      did you even read the post?

      • El Stevo says:

        It wasn’t mentioned in the post.

      • Tssha says:

        Allen, parse what he said more closely. The first time I read zebramatt’s post I read it the same way you did, and I read it wrong. He’s saying something very similar to — but not exactly — what was outlined in the article.

  4. MarigoldFleur says:

    Arcen have never really made a game I could get into, including AVWW but I have to admire their ability to listen to criticism and how well they adapt their products to it.

  5. misterT0AST says:

    I might add that the Online Multiplayer in AVWW works perfectly, much better than the laggy multiplayer of Minecraft, the buggy multiplayer of Rock of Ages.
    It’s incredible how determined and competent these people are.
    I’ll try to get into their first game once again.

  6. jikavak says:

    Sounds like they’re removing all the stuff that didn’t make much sense.I must say I’m excite about this one.

  7. krisanto says:

    I really wish that they’ll be able to hire a good art director for this sequel. I had an epileptic seizure while watching a gameplay video of the first AVWW.

    • Vinraith says:

      Which is to say, you never played the demo. The graphics translated poorly to video capture, they looked fine in the game itself.

      • malkav11 says:

        They look better in game than in media of the game but I wouldn’t go nearly as far as deeming them “fine”. They’re bad. I’m cautiously optimistic about the sequel news (and the art samples look great), but I’m very sad to see that the sequel plans appear to be putting the kibosh on overhauling the art on the original.

        • Vinraith says:

          Honestly, I like them better than most pixel art. Clearly it’s a matter of taste, but they’re certainly perfectly clear and functional.

    • zeekthegeek says:

      That’s the most notable of the changes and the motivation to make a sequel: a complete design/style overhaul. The mechanical changes are huge but the art style is brand new.

    • zebramatt says:

      Heavy Cat are doing the art this time around.

  8. Lambchops says:

    I’m with Alec on wanting to like AVWW but not really enjoying it. As such I’m fairly tentative about the sequel but I’m sure Arcen will make something more down my alley in the future (after all I know a lot of people didn’t care to much about Tidalis, which I thought was rather excellent).

    While I might not always like their games they are definitely a studio I admire and like to keep an eye on.

  9. trjp says:

    I’m unreasonably excited about this given that I had no issue with the original really – e.g. I liked it.

  10. The Random One says:

    The only thing I liked in AVWW was the concept; the game design was notably awful. I hope they can pull off what they want, but I ain’t holding my breath.

  11. MythArcana says:

    I am so confused by these convoluted motives. That is all.

    • zebramatt says:


    • eks says:

      The only motives I can see is “keep loyal customers happy”, or maybe “make a better game” and I’m sure “make some money” is in there too. All these things are what should be expected of a game development studio….. I’m not sure what’s “convoluted” about them.

  12. Hematite says:

    After reading the headline I was all ready to come in here and grump around about how I was still waiting for the first one to live up to any of its potential, but after reading the article it sounds like this is the best and fairest thing they could possibly do.

    I played the demo and didn’t like the gameplay at all, then I bought it anyway because the developers are such swell guys and I wanted to support them. It’s not a smart way to buy games, and I still have more fun reading about the design objectives of AVWW than playing it but at least it’s a cheap way to feel like a patron of the arts ;)

  13. Brosepholis says:

    These guys have such big plans, but until they truly fix the second-to-second mechanics of their game, it will remain an utterly soulcrushing experience to play. If they can make their metroidivania actually feel like metroidivania and not a violent lobotomy then they will finally have earned my purchase.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Fixing the moment to moment gameplay seems to be one of the objectives here, they’re going away from mouse aim combat and spell bars.

  14. Elevory says:

    AVWW throws mountains of meaningless information at its players almost from the get-go. I hope Arcen have seriously reconsidered the value of good pacing in game design.

  15. Professor Paul1290 says:

    I’m really looking forward to this sequel as it seems like it’s going to fix a lot of the pacing issues of the first game.
    I liked the first game quite a bit, even if it was a bit inconsistent, finicky, and strange.

    On the other hand, it does seem like AVWW 2 is going to be more “ordinary” than AVWW 1 (is that a good term for it?).
    From what I’ve read AVWW 2 seems like it’s going to be closer to a traditional game of the genre than its predecessor.

    I’m pretty sure it’s probably going to be a better game overall and I’ll probably enjoy it more than the first one, but at the same time I would be lying if I said I don’t feel a slight sense of loss.

    • PUKED says:

      In this case “ordinary” is still pretty far out there. How many spiritual successors to Actraiser can you think of?

      It’s cool that they were attempting some off the wall mishmash of ideas like AI War again, but they didn’t strike gold twice. Not sad at all to see them reel it in a little.

  16. Mctittles says:

    I hope they understand what isometric means this time. As in not Perspective view 3d objects floating on an angled plain, but Orthographic view objects. The first shots of VWW1 in isometric had this problem, which they somehow managed to bring into the 2d remake as well.

    Not to put down Arcen as a business though. They are good to their customers even if I didn’t like VWW.

  17. malkav11 says:

    I was going “what?” when isometric was mentioned since I hadn’t gotten that at all from Chris Park’s post. But turns out I missed the one line that says “Isometric world map – ’nuff said.” Given the art, the intended Metroidvania feel, and the words “world map”, I am fairly confident that this just means the overall world map – where you transition from zone to zone and place buildings in AVVW 1 – will be isometric instead of the current top down view, not that the primary gameplay spaces (i.e., the platforming levels) will be isometric.

    • Mattressi says:

      I was hoping that they were going back to isometric (true isometric, that is – not the odd-perspective top-down they had originally), but it seems they’re keeping it as a sidescroller. I’m still interested, but sidescrollers don’t interested me as much as isometric or 3D games, unfortunately.

  18. crinkles esq. says:

    I too am one who was mostly turned off by the art style (if you could call it a style, it was more anti-style), though some of the game mechanics seemed wonky. But I’m impressed both by the ambition to make the game better — most devs would just move on to another project — which says to me the creators are really passionate, and the ability to be humble and listen to customer feedback without being afraid to say no. I will look forward to progress on this one.

  19. Sunjammer says:

    “Unusual appearance” is being incredibly generous. The game looked absolutely hideous by any standard. It took programmer art to a whole new depth of unpleasantness; I’m a developer, if I was working on that game (the first one) I’d have a vivid struggle maintaining any sort of faith in the game I was making, and I’m not even that vain a dev.

    I applaud them trying something new, but I certainly hope they set the base line higher than collection of gaudy scrap paper someone shat all over in a bin found in the forest. Divisive doesn’t even begin to describe it.

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  21. neofit says:

    The article only says that the map is becoming isometric. It looks like the game is still a side scroller. This part became old quick.

  22. mashakos says:

    Haven’t heard of the original, but looking at the trailer on their site I was amused to see that the style is similiar to what my 10-year-old self and 5th grade buddies would have considered a totally rad game!
    (get the “rad” reference? that’s what we used to say in ’92)