Swedish game studio Forgotten Key sent their CEO & founder, Robin Hjelte, halfway around the world to GDC 2015 in San Francisco to present their adventure-exploration game, AER. I had a chance to talk to Robin about the game and play an early build.
I played as Auk, a pilgrim girl with the special power to shapeshift into a bird. Robin explained that this power is rare, even in the world of AER where the lands float in the sky. I started exploring this world and quickly tried out my flying skills. The flight mechanics were really smooth, and the transition from flying to landing was seamless.
Robin showed me some interior areas on the map where you cannot use your shapeshifting powers. Here you must rely on your jumping and problem solving prowess to navigate these areas. At one point he used a lantern (received earlier in the game) to activate some ancient technology sitting dormant for ages. He explained that the lantern acts as a link between you and the ancient civilizations that once roamed this world.
When asked about the overall narrative, Robin explained that the world is coming to an end, and it is your goal to stop that from happening. Your adventure is rooted in the belief that salvation from the impending darkness lies in the world's past. Attempting to find the answers will lead you to the far reaches of the world, as you search the ruins of the old gods, solve puzzles in dark caves, and meet other characters throughout the world.
I enjoyed the fact the game does not tie you down to linear progression, as the open world aspect allows players to explore and learn more about the lore of AER at their own pace. The low polygon count and colorful palette used in the game gives it an unique, relaxing and ethereal tone.
I like exploration games, and even though I have the task of saving the world, I feel like I will be spending a lot of time exploring the world of AER. AER is set for a 2016 worldwide release date on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.