Beyond Eyes, video game, Rae, birds, trees, watercolour

EGX 2014: Beyond Eyes

A game that caught Ben’s attention at EGX was Beyond Eyes. Tiger & Squid’s lovely adventure offered a refreshing change to other titles at the event.

Title overview

Name: Beyond Eyes
Developer: Tiger & Squid
Publisher: Team 17 Digital
Release date: To be announced
PEGI rating: Not listed
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
More information: Official website

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Ben says…

There’s a certain feeling of privilege when looking back over the years at how video games have evolved as a medium and being a part of that evolution from the very beginning. The industry has grown from a humble beginning of two lines bouncing a circle back and forth into a multi-billion dollar global empire that can offer something for everyone. Fantastic as that is, the current marketplace is saturated with games that replicate, build on, and dare I say flog-to-death successful formulas often under the banner of a revolutionary new intellectual property (IP) or some-such.

It makes standing out from the crowd all the more difficult if you are peddling something different – for all manner of reasons: you have to convince players, publishers and funding partners that the concept in your mind can not only exist in the market but establish a decent enough sales base for a return. It’s why entrepreneurs in all areas of business often have to persevere and battle on and why so many succeed. There’s a will to win, a belief in the product, a desire to share the passion with whomever will listen but at the same time listen to the opinion of others and take on board that which they find useful.

These are all important qualities and I sensed them abundance in Sherida Halatoe, the one-woman design and development mind behind Beyond Eyes. I spent a good deal of time chatting with her at EGX 2014 and underneath the tiger beanie was a brain that clearly knew it had come up with something special.

As we discussed the game, in which the player has to guide a blind girl as they search for her missing cat, the cleverness of the concept and how she had translated it into a gameplay experience shone through. This was in part down to Sherida’s ability to articulate but mostly from the feedback the game gives the player.

The world begins as nothing but brilliant white, and each step the girl takes begins to populate that world with colour and shape until the player is given a sense of the surroundings. Grass crunches underfoot and reveals an area of watercolour green, she keeps walking to more crunching and more green appears. Then she slows, raising her hand to reach out and touch… a tree? Maybe a wall. The more she feels the object is revealed as a tree and forms a brown watercolour, surrounded by the grass revealed underfoot.

The art style is absolutely gorgeous. Imagine a Japanese magic painting book where a watered paintbrush brings colour to the pages. It’s really quite something to see.

It’s a clever take on interaction with the player using the controller to suggest a direction, and it’s up to the girl if she trusts you enough to follow.

The key to success in this game is not your ability to control the girl but how much she trusts you. It’s another clever take on interaction with you, the player, using the controller to suggest a direction and it’s up to the girl if she trusts you enough to follow. This is especially important near loud areas such as roads as the girl’s fear of noise comes from the firework accident that blinded her.

That’s not to say Beyond Eyes couldn’t do with some spit and polish. The build we saw was still early stages and will be firmed up as the 2015 release looms. If, and it’s still a big if, Tiger & Squid can deliver on the vision we could have something akin to Flower or Journey on our hands. It’s that good.

Beyond Eyes will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in the first half of next year.

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