There's one thing I particularly like about where I live. It's all the green spaces, you see. Not ten minutes from our flat, my partner and I can walk out of the city into these lovely little valleys. Between rocky hillside and tree-shrouded burn, we spotted three birds of prey soaring overhead, while more familiar crows and gulls perched on treetops. If only, I thought, I owned a pair of binoculars. If only I could relive this, but like, indoors. On a tiny desktop screen. In 480p.
Thank goodness Birdspotting is coming to make my wish come true.
Birdspotting, a collaboration between designer Joram van Loenen, programmer Khalil Arafan, musician Yoann Turpin and writer Michael Berto, was quietly unveiled earlier this afternoon with a brief trailer. Picking up an old jotter and some weathered binoculars, it's time to take a little hike and shoot some birds.
No, like, with a camera, not... look, here's the trailer.
There are wide-open spaces, weathered old ruins, and a great grey coast reminiscent of Dear Esther to explore - albeit with a more optimistic Norwegian charm than The Chinese Room's dreary Scottish influences. It's delivered through a crunchy pixellated filter that might make or break the game for you, mind. It's all the rave with unbearable hipsters like myself.
For a pleasant little relaxation piece, though, there are some awfully gamey moments. It's hard not to howl at the Metal Gear-like alert warning (complete with exclamation pop-up) when you get close to a bird. Unholster those binoculars, Snake - there's a magpie on the loose.
Birdspotting will also let you rummage for eggs, nests and feathers across a wide-open landscape full of "hidden secrets." With a verb-list like listening, observation, stealth and timing, I'd like to think Birdspotting can lean into a less structured, more freeform approach to rambling through the woods. A little more Proteus, and a little less Pokemon Snap. Real-life birdwatching doesn't come with an objective tracker, after all.
Birdspotting doesn't yet have a release date or platform, but I'll definitely be watching this one like a hawk.