Sable makes a strong case for being the prettiest game of E3

Sable

I don’t really know what Sable is going to involve. I’m not sure I much care, so long as it looks and sounds like this.

Reminds me a litte of that super-widescreen, charmingly lonely early stretch of The Force Awakens where it’s Rey scavenging and subsisting in a vast desert scarred by the relics of ancient war, which I think I could have happily watched a whole film about.

Here’s the official description:

“A coming-of-age tale of discovery through exploration across a strikingly rendered open world desert. Go on a deeply personal journey across an alien planet as the young Sable, exploring ancient monuments, ruined architecture, and ships fallen from the cosmos, all while learning the history of its inhabitants and discovering her place in the world.”

There’s probably a bit of Journey in there, but the involvement of the ever-remarkable 80 Days‘ writer Meg Jayanth would seem to suggest we’re in for some strong and characterful narrativising as well as free-roaming exploration.

Sable hails from new London studio Shedworks, and I imagine you’ll be wanting to know about that soundtrack – it’s by Michelle Zauner of the band Japanese Breakfast. It’s due out next year, and you can go and rub some delightful screenshots of it over your eyeballs here. A Steam page is already up for wishlisting.

Check out our E3 2018 tag for more announcements, trailers, news, and goodness knows what else.

38 Comments

  1. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Oooh, pretty. And I recently fell in love with Japanese Breakfast (see em live if you can = amazing) I wondered where I recognised that voice from.

    So, this looks very Star Wars, with Zelda-y gameplay, and writing by 80 days people? Oops, I think I just hyped myself.

  2. klops says:

    Moebius

  3. causticnl says:

    yes, Moebius def.

  4. Kingseeker Camargo says:

    I wish every game out there dared to experiment in unique art styles like this. This is the kind of game I’ll buy just because of how gorgeous it looks and I’ll find out what it is about later. I love everything about this in the same measure as I hate everything about BG&E2.

  5. Heavenfall says:

    Beautiful cellshading on the character!

  6. Zenicetus says:

    Great art concept, although the camera angles looked designed more for an impressive trailer than for controlling the character. Need to see some in-game video. It sure looks interesting.

  7. Stevostin says:

    Moebius lives.
    Probably substantially prettier in game. Youtube compression doesn’t bode well with that kind of rendering.

  8. LTK says:

    I’ve never subscribed to a game’s newsletter so fast. It really reminds me of Zineth, with the art style and speeding through the desert. I’m always happy to be reminded of Zineth. It’s free, by the way!

  9. b00p says:

    heckyeah

  10. DantronLesotho says:

    Alec, I’m glad you made the comparison about the sketch about the force awakens because I 1. think about that scene a lot and wish it was its own thing and 2. also thought about that when this game first came on my radar.

    This thing looks great, btw, and I first saw it on screenshotsaturday.com. Really glad to see it’s getting a good reception.

    • DirtyDivinity says:

      I love that scene from The Force Awakens too – wich is pretty inspired by the wonderful opening of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of The Wind ( link to en.wikipedia.org ). At the time Miyazaki himself was greatly inspired by Moebius.
      Anyway – automatic falling in love mode engaged. I can watch and listen to this beautiful trailer in loop, dreaming about this place.

    • Jernau Gurgeh says:

      +1 for The Force Awakensiness of this, and my desire for that film to be 50% about Rey on a sandspeeder collecting scrap. Also, in a related manner, WALL-E needs to be 95% about him sorting through trash on his own on Rubbish Dump Earth. That movie went right downhill as soon as he and EVE went into space.

  11. automatic says:

    Seems like Moebius comics and the new Zelda game are having sex and all I can think about is smearing my face all over it in a luxurious threesome.

  12. Mouse_of_Dunwall says:

    That looks very cool. I dug the song in the trailer too.

  13. K_Sezegedin says:

    Wow, looks great.

    I want to take it in my arms and anti-alias the shit out of it, but still…

    • haldolium says:

      AA won’t cut it here entirely (might even make it worse/not better depending what kind and how its implemented etc.) – you need to reduce the thickness of the outlines depending on distances and angles foremost.

  14. haldolium says:

    I do not envy developers choosing outlines as a style because it is a pain to get it right. Here, it isn’t. The chosen algorithm is apparently rather simple, leading to the common issue that distant objects become more outline then object (see stairs and bushes at ~0.15 in the video) – there are methods to avoid that. I think Gearbox had something figured out for them for the Borderlands franchise f.e.

    If one chooses a great style, especially with outlines that represent comic drawing, I expect the technical research in how to tackle these very old issues.

    I always love great art styles, but games are not just art but technology as well. If they screw up on the latter, I can’t appreciate them trying on the former. That is why games are games and are great as such, because it’s a symphony of art and technology and interaction.

    These days, where the accessibility to tools and knowledge is better then ever before for new developers, I tend to appreciate and prefer those who do give a fuck about image quality. Like PLAYDEAD when they made INSIDE.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      I couldn’t focus on the stylistic choices because the outlines were so aliased it was nauseating. I absolutely agree – you gotta put the technical know-how to work if you want your artistic vision to work out properly, and I don’t see that here.

    • Flatbread_ says:

      While I do understand where you are coming from, this game is still about a year out, so it’s very likely that they are still working on visuals and we’re seeing a WIP. It’s a bit silly to use the visuals of INSIDE (a finished game) to pin an unfinished game’s devs as not giving a fuck.

    • spacejunkk says:

      It’s harder to get right than you’d think…

      Sure, you can use normals and a depth texture, but it isn’t so obvious how to blend that information to get good outlines. Favor depth and you have smaller outlines at the character’s feet. Favor normals and you’ll miss outlines randomly when geometry lines up. You never know exactly where the player will be standing w.r.t. nearby geometry, so it’s hard to get the balance right in a way that works all the time.

      And there are always going to be edge cases. Imagine placing something small against a wall – the normals will be the same, depth will be very similar, but in a comic you’d certainly expect an outline here. These aren’t insurmountable problems but they need time to discover, deal with, workaround etc.

      Regarding aliasing, I would guess it’s a stylistic choice as traiditonally edge detection gives you continuous values.

    • faircall says:

      I remember seeing early prototypes of this on twitter a while ago. It’s looking great! My only concern with this sort of toon shader is that it makes it very difficult to read the 3d space, because you don’t really get any sense of depth in the image. So long as they design around that it shouldn’t be an issue though.

    • AlienEyes says:

      Frankly I cannot see what’s wrong with those stairs. Looks fine to me.

  15. Martijn says:

    I love the look of this trailer, but my god, how I hate this type of indie rock. But okay, that’s my taste and maybe the music is not in the game or at least you can turn off and play your own music. This looks like it pairs really well with a recent Earth album.

  16. DasBilligeAlien says:

    Awww Man. I think I can throw my unfinished shitty desert hover bike game on the trash pile with all the other game ideas people finished faster than me.

    Looks good.

  17. HTBites says:

    I put this on my GAMES TO WAIT FOR list pretty quickly.

    If you dig the art style, check out Le Maitres du Temps (Time Masters link to youtube.com) or Blueberry comics from Moebius.

  18. Jernau Gurgeh says:

    That looks wonderful. And there was me considering throwing in the towel on gaming as I rapidly approach 50 years old. Bollocks to it all, I see exceptionally creative stuff like this and remember why I love video games and have been playing them for four decades.

  19. Shadrach says:

    While I couldn’t care less about the noisy screaming E3 hype train, this is definitely one I’m looking forward to.

    In fact, I’ve been to their site before and pretty sure I signed up for the mailing list, so kind of surprised E3 coverage would be the place I would see it again.

    Anyway with that art style, it’s a must-buy for me, but 2019 feels so far off…

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