Nightingale developer Inflexion Games is primarily led by ex-BioWare developers who have come together to put their own twist on the increasingly popular survival genre. Prior to its Early Access launch later this month, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days exploring the world of Nightingale, familiarizing myself with its various systems and mechanics.
In the fantasy world of Nightingale, players step into the shoes of a Realmwalker, a person who is able to traverse various Fae Realms. This is done by entering the Realmic Transmuter, a large portal gateway that you can activate using Realmcards. Realmcards determine the characteristics of the Realm you’ll be transported to. For example, using a Swamp Realmcard will cause the realm to be set in a swamp biome. From here, you can use Minor Realmcards to determine other traits, such as the Hunt, which will spawn a large boss that you can track down and defeat for great rewards.
While speaking with Leah Summers (director of production) and Neil Thompson (art director and head of audio), they told me that the team was excited about the prospect of adding more Realmcards to Nightingale, further diversifying the worlds that players can create. They said that developers are coming up with new ideas for Realmcards every day, so it’s a matter of when, not if, we see more added to the game.
In addition to traversing realms on your own, you can also enter realms alongside friends. When entering a friend's realm, the world will be scaled to their character, meaning you’ll likely have to adapt your play style during co-op. What’s neat is that your character’s inventory is constant no matter where you go, so you can adventure with friends, and then bring the loot back to your own realm once the expedition is over.
The means to survive
Outside of its dimension-hopping feature, Nightingale features a lot of what you’d expect from a modern survival game. You chop down trees and destroy rocks to gain resources and build a shelter. You create a bed so that you can rest and regain energy. You need a campfire to keep yourself warm and cook food. It’s a satisfying gameplay loop that survival game fans will find familiar.
While exploring the various realms of Nightingale, I realized how detailed the game’s survival elements can be. For example, while I was traversing the desert realm, I had to avoid staying in the sun for too long as my character would overheat. Simply dipping into a shadow cast by a tree or a large rock would prevent me from overheating. While in the swamp, if I stayed in the water too long, my character would get wet and see their speed and temperature decrease. It’s something that adds to the immersion and makes each realm feel like their own.
Nightingale is shaping up to be an ambitious debut from Inflexion Games. With the studio’s AAA experiences, I’m looking forward to seeing how that knowledge is applied to the survival genre and how the game grows over time.