Neon Lights over a crowded parking lot. The steam and sounds of a ramen stand. Billboards glistening in the pouring rain as entire tower blocks tumble in the distance. There's plenty to appreciate in Cloudpunk's towering urban sprawl - but until now, it's always been kept at an arm's length. This week, developers Ion Lands began testing a new first-person mode in Cloudpunk's beta build, letting drivers get up close and personal with Nivalis' gorgeous mile-high neighbourhoods.
The Cloudpunk devs have been messing with more intimate camera angles for a few weeks, with my usual trawls for Screenshot Saturday Sundays posts frequently bringing up tighter third-person shots. Now, though, they want to put the player's eyes right inside Rania's head, letting you experience Nivalis from (sort of) ground level (cheers for the heads-up, PC Gamer).
— ION ? (@ionlands) May 22, 2020
While the devs note that the perspective shines a light on some of the tricks used to construct their voxel metropolis, it's undoubtedly a cool-as-hell way to explore Nivalis' streets. Cloudpunk's on-foot segments - a part I was quietly very excited about - still kept the city at a distance, seen through more static third-person cameras that never quite grounded me in the city's alleys and marketplaces. I'm extremely keen to see how that experience changes when I can walk through parking lots and alleyways at a more human scale.
After all, Cloudpunk's city is the star of the show. As Sin put it in her Cloudpunk review: "You can really believe the whole city is moving all the time, whether you’re there or not. You might not be able to do much besides walk and drive around it, but it’s one of the best cities I’ve ever seen, and I spent a fair amount of time just idling around and watching it go while listening to the rain, the muffled thumping of nightclubs, and the excellent music."
It's a stunning place, and I'm ready to spend hours just pottering around the city's streets with my own two feet. Cloudpunk's first-person option is currently available to try as a beta option on Steam, with hopes it'll make it into the base game sometime soon.