Hello Games are of course the folks behind giant space sandbox No Man’s Sky, so their next game, The Last Campfire, came as quite a surprise when it was announced in 2018. It’s a much smaller game, not nearly an entire universe, about a little traveler named Ember. Hello have now shared a new video to tell us more about the adventure puzzler that’s due out this summer.
The new video takes us through just the first few minutes of the game but it’s sporting some commentary from Hello Games designer Steven Burgess. For what it’s worth, it appears that we’ve seen most of this video’s scenes already by way of The Last Campfire’s recent trailer. It is nice to see things in their proper order with a bit of context though.
Little blue cloth person Ember wakes up alone in what seems like a crypt and has to find their way out. There’s a narrator that speaks as Ember walks along, explaining what it is they’re seeing as, so far as I can tell, Ember has no mouth of their own to talk with. They come upon a skeleton which they nick a satchel off of, which will surely come in handy later. Burgess says that Hello Games are shooting for “a charming world with an undercurrent of darkness.”
Are you getting Journey vibes? I am. Between the robed characters with hidden faces, emotional string music, and large, ghostly robe person, I’m feeling a lot of similarities with Thatgamecompany’s adventure from 2012. Which, to be clear, is not a bad thing. I quite like Journey and it’s been long enough that I’m happy to see another developer harkening back to it.
One bit that caught my ear was Burgess saying “Most games with puzzles tend to have a format of a series of increasingly difficult versions of the same puzzle, but for Campfire we were trying to make it so that each puzzle you encounter feels new or has a unique twist. It’s almost like a smorgasbord of all different types of logic puzzles.”
Riffing on puzzles, for most games, is a way to get mileage out of each of the abilities or mechanics available to a player while still giving them new challenges to master. I hope Hello aren’t throwing that convention of puzzle design out the window quite as much as Burgess makes it sound. Perhaps if Campfire is short enough, it can afford to have a basket of totally different puzzles without overlap. We shall see. Color me slightly skeptical on that bit, though I do quite like the mood and look of the thing on the whole.
Last we heard, The Last Campfire was due out this summer. That was before all the coronavirus business contributed to several game delays, so maybe don’t take that as gospel just yet. You can find it on Steam in any case.
Did you hear that Hello Games’ main project No Man’s Sky just added jetpack mechs to space? Yup, they sure did.