The sombre tone continues in a new trailer showing off its impressive dynamic world simulation technology. "We want to create a universe that reflects the power of nature, the relative insignificance of mankind and the brevity of his lifespan," the narrator explains as tribes face perils of earth, fire and water.
Developed by Ubisoft Montpeiller, From Dust is slated for a downloadable release on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the second quarter of 2011.
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There's also some colourful new concept art and the first round of screenshots. And because it's too pleasing not to include, here's a Q&A from Ubisoft with producer Guillaume Brunier. What a delightful-sounding video game.
1. Could you tell us more about this sphere we've seen in some screenshots? What does it represent? Is it useful for the player?
It's at the same time a mysterious and a key element to the world of 'From Dust'.
Mysterious because we aren't really sure what it represent. The tribe's spirit? The Ancients? A superior force? Just a ball? If you ask this question within the team, you will very probably get different answers. The only sure thing is it's linked somehow with the people of 'From Dust'.
It's a key element because it's the way players will interact with the world. As you can see in the screenshots, the sphere is basically made of floating matter. By pressing the right trigger, I will grab anything I can see from the landscape: soil, water, plants, lavaÃƒÂ¢Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã‚Â¦ and transport it to release it wherever I want.
2. We've noticed that all the characters of From Dust are wearing intriguing masks. Does it have a specific meaning?
These masks are the central element of the From Dust tribes' culture. You can easily imagine they have been passed through generations as one of the few things that lasted in this heavily tormented world.
3. Could you tell us more about the content of the behind closed doors demo? What's new compared to the E3 teaser?
The GamesCom demo shows 2 things: how to interact with the world via our sphere and how to defend one of your villages against a gigantic Tsunami. Basically, with the sphere, and its environment modifying abilities, players will make way for a man of the tribe to bring back the water power to the village, preserving their knowledge. That's the first and simplest gameplay loop in 'From Dust'. As the world is completely dynamic, there are many ways to complete this loop.
4. The depth of the simulation/physics engine is super realistic. Any specific technology on this one?
We're using an internal engine that we call Lyn and that we share with other projects at Ubisoft. But on top of this we added a 'From Dust' specific simulation dedicated to terrain, water, vegetation and their interactions with one another. Thanks to this simulation a lava slide touching a forest will ignite a landfire that will not stop spreading until it's reaching a river. It's the butterfly effect, sort of. Also everything is entirely dynamic and malleable, it means that player can change the world, the topography, and then the world evolves according to it owns rules. It's a world in motion.
5. What's the ultimate goal of the player in Project Dust?
By recovering and using lost knowledge spread around the world players will save the people of Dust from extinction. The player will have to recover their memories explore the world, face different environments and lead them to find this legendary and mysterious place we [sic].
6. Following the E3 announcement, a lot of PC gamers are interested as well by the game. Anything on a PC version in the works?
We're working on a PC version as well. As for the PS3 and X360 versions, the targeted release date is 2011 and the distribution will be digital-only.
7. Eric Chahi is famous for Another World / Out of this World masterpiece, how is he involved on this project?
Eric has brought the original concept to Ubisoft and has been acting as Creative Director to the project since then. He is especially involved in the game design but also art direction and animation for example.
8. What are the key games influencing Eric and the team in their god-game design?
We're not your typical god-game but rather a modern take on the genre. Very obviously we share the terraforming gameplay with Populous, only we've next-genized it! Contrary to Black and White, there's no good or bad actions in 'From Dust'. We don't judge what players do, we just let them deal with the consequences of what they've done. These consequences have impacts on the world, that react dynamically as well as on the tribes and will create new challenges for the players. In Populous and Black and White, the world is a gameplay object. In 'From Dust', our ambition is to make it a non playable character.
Games like Ico or Shadow of the Colossus have brought poetic universes to the gaming landscape, we hope the world of 'From Dust' will bring his share as well.