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Nightingale: early access, trailer, story, and more

Everything you need to know ahead of Nightingale's release date

A screenshot of a giant Fae in upcoming survival game Nightingale.
Image credit: Inflexion Games

What is Nightingale, and when is it coming out? As you'll know if you read through our compendium of our most anticipated games of 2024, Nightingale is the game I'm most excited to play this year. It's a gaslamp fantasy survival crafting game by Inflexion Games, which tasks players with traversing an endless network of Fae realms, gathering resources, building bases, battling wonderfully - horrifically - designed creatures, and more.

Below we'll give you the chance to become as excited about Nightingale as I am. In this guide we'll walk you through everything we know so far about Nightingale, from its early access release date to its story, setting, gameplay, multiplayer aspect, and more.

Nightingale early access release date

The Nightingale website FAQ has long teased that the game is launching first in Early Access. And, after a period of open and closed testing that's taken place over the last few years, developers Inflexion Games have announced that Nightingale Early Access begins on Tuesday 20 February 2024. The eagerly anticipated news comes two and a half years after Nightingale was first revealed at the 2021 Game Awards.

When Nightingale does launch in Early Access, it'll be available on PC only - sorry, console players. You can wishlist it on Steam and the Epic Games Store so you're notified as soon as Early Access begins. The devs predict Nightingale will be in Early Access for nine to 12 months, and they expect the game "will evolve and expand significantly" during this period.

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Nightingale developers: Who is making the game?

Nightingale is the first game by Inflexion Games, a new 100-person Canada-based dev team. Inflexion Games is led by its founder, Aaryn Flynn, a 17-year veteran from BioWare - creators of Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic, and many more beloved RPGs. Flynn was in fact general manager of BioWare from 2009 until 2017, so his name is fairly well-known.

The team at Inflexion Games are currently developing Nightingale in Unreal Engine 5.

Nightingale trailer

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Above is the latest Nightingale trailer released by Inflexion Games. This short, 30-second trailer is all about the updated release date change, confirming the game will launch on February 20 2024 instead of the previously announced date of February 22nd 2024.

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For a more thorough look at Nightingale, the original release date trailer revealed during Gamescom 2023 gives us a much better look at the game in action. The 2-minute trailer showed glimpses of the much-demanded third-person mode that devs hope will be ready in time for the early access launch.

This feature, which first appeared in a playtest last year, was put to good use in the trailer, with the game's stunning environments being explored in third-person mode. The trailer also showed the game's nightmarish fae creatures being battled in first-person mode, along with other mechanics like base building and character customisation. The ability to glide around the map Mary Poppins-style with your umbrella, which featured in a previous trailer, also made a welcome appearance again.

If you'd like to see more of Nightingale, below are a couple of other trailers released by Inflexion. The first is the official gameplay trailer for Nightingale, which shows off some lovely rain, chopping trees, and the Realm Card system (more on this below). The second is the original reveal trailer used to announce the existence of Nightingale.

Watch on YouTube
Watch on YouTube

What is Nightingale about?

Nightingale is a fantasy story that takes place across a number of interconnected realms. Humans come from one particular realm, which is a Victorian-era Steampunk-esque world of top hats and flintlock firearms. This realm is connected to various others via a sprawling arcane portal network. But that network has suddenly collapsed, and the player is stranded in the Fae Realms - a far wilder and deadlier land filled with all manner of horrific beasts.

But how did they get there? As is explained in Inflexion's video journal on the World of the Realmwalkers, the home of humans is experiencing a cataclysm due to a mysterious phenomenon known as "the Pale". The humans attempted to escape through the portal network to Nightingale, a magical capital city where historically humans journeyed to learn and practice Fae magic. But the portal network collapsed and those attempting to escape to Nightingale were cast about the various realms, lost.

The player's long-term aim is to reach Nightingale City. But in the short term, that means putting a lot of focus purely into surviving from day to day, building shelters, gathering materials, and doing the whole survival crafting game thing. With the right materials and tools, players can begin to use the portal network once more to generate and transport yourself to entirely new realms, which means Nightingale doesn't just have one fixed setting.

Nightingale gameplay

The new frontier in a Nightingale screenshot.

Nightingale is a first-person survival crafting game, that can also be played in third-person. You'll start off with nothing, and must chop trees, gather stones, find food, find or make shelter, fend off attacks from hostile eldritch beasts, and so on. It's all very familiar stuff for players of survival crafting games, but Nightingale does do some things rather differently to most.

The biggest unique selling point of Nightingale's gameplay is its portal network, which allows you to generate new realms through which your character can traverse. This is done through the use of Realm Cards (below), which gives you a fair degree of control over what you'll find on the other side. It's an important aspect of progression through the world of Nightingale, because your starting realm won't containing everything you need. To progress beyond a certain point, you'll need the resources and secrets of other realms to help you.

A screenshot of a giant Bound monster from shared-world survival game Nightingale
Image credit: Inflexion Games

Combat is partially melee, partially firearm-based, with numerous moments in Nightingale's trailers showing off some lovely-looking flintlock rifles, shotguns, and pistols that the player can presumably craft and use to face off against the fae creatures that assail you. As well as the fae beasts, you'll also encounter "incursions by the twisted Fae mimicries of humanity known only as the Bound", according to the game's website.

Building is also a large part of Nightingale. You can designate any one realm you choose to be your "Respite Realm". This is where you respawn if you die, and where you are allowed to start constructing your estate. Nightingale features a modular base-building system similar to other survival crafting RPGs like Grounded or Valheim, with floors, walls, stairs, and dozens of other components that can be placed down by the player wherever they like.

What are Realm Cards in Nightingale?

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Realm Cards are craftable items which you can use to generate new realms via Nightingale's portal network. To open a portal to a new realm, you will open up a screen which allows you to place down various Realm Cards of different kinds - and the combination of Realm Cards you place down will determine the type of world that you'll find on the other side of the portal.

Realm Cards can be crafted out of paper, ink, and various other materials. There are three types of Realm Cards available:

  • Biome Cards - determines the overall biome of the realm (Swamp, Desert, Forest, etc.)
  • Major Cards - add significant changes to the realm, for example an increased number of hostile creature spawns.
  • Minor Cards - add minor changes to the realm, for example the weather, time of day, season, etc.

It's not yet clear whether Major and Minor Cards are necessary - perhaps you might be able to create a "vanilla" world based purely on a biome - but we do know that you must play exactly one Biome Card to create a portal, and there appear to be four slots for additional cards alongside the Biome Card.

Is Nightingale multiplayer?

The new frontier in a Nightingale screenshot.

Nightingale is indeed a multiplayer game, with players able to team up in groups of up to 10 per server and adventure across the Faewild and the portal network together. The game is described at every turn as a PvE (player vs environment) rather than PvP (player vs player) game, which means it's unlikely that players will be able to fight each other on a server. Instead, they'll be working together to tame the Faewild. We also know that players will be able to follow others through to a new realm even if they aren't the one who created it - and even if they don't yet have the ability to create such a realm yet.

Of course, co-op multiplayer is not forced upon the player in any way, and it's perfectly viable to play Nightingale solo.

That's everything we know about Inflexion Games' upcoming fantasy survival crafting game Nightingale. For more on the studio's first game, find out what Aaryn Flynn, the developer's CEO, said when we spoke to him soon after the game's reveal and when we caught up with him later on at Summer Game Fest. We've also got the lowdown on Tencent buying Inflexion not long after Nightingale was first revealed, as well as details on the accessibility options available when early access launches.

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