When I was in New York City recently, I had the opportunity for a hands on demo of Fe, an action adventure game from Swedish developer Zoink. Fe will be published by Electronic Arts as the first in their line of EA Originals series. While I was there, I also had a chance to sit down and chat with Klaus Lyngeled, the creative director at Zoink.
I was surprised when the game opened and you aren't immediately given any sort of objective – so I decided to follow the strange deer-like creature through the forest. Right off the bat it's incredibly obvious that Fe is an open world game in the truest sense of the word. The only thing limiting your movement is your own abilities, which you gain and enhance as you move through the world. As Lyngeled explained to me, there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Even if you choose to not follow the deer, there are other steps you can take.
Fe also involves a lot of music. Music is how you talk to animals and how you gain more abilities, by harmonizing your fox/porcupine song with that of the animals and flowers and the rest of your surroundings. On regular controllers you harmonize by changing how much you depress a trigger button, but on the Switch you actually harmonize by tilting the handheld console itself, which was a pretty neat use of motion sense. It was also much easier to finely tune the melodies to harmonize with each other, for those of us who are a bit ham-fisted.
What I loved most about the game is the gorgeous atmosphere. For anyone who has played Abzu, Fe has a similar sort of feel to it. It's relaxing and expansive, and easy to see how it was inspired by the forests and folklore of Sweden. Different areas of the game have different feels to them which made it easier to navigate and broke up the world into sections that still flowed together but had their own distinctive ambiance.
You soon find out that the world isn't entirely benevolent and you are up against the Silent Ones who are capturing forest animals that you have to free in order to save the world. While there is an element of combat that it's possible to use in the game, it's not necessary in order to complete it, and avoidance and stealth are much more likely to be your friends.
Interested to hear more about the game and the creative process behind it? Check out our interview with Lyngeled below
Fe will be available on PC, Xbox One X, Playstation 4 and the Nintendo Switch on February 16, 2018.