Spiritfarer Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Spiritfarer RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Spiritfarer Physical Edition Releases This Summer https://www.gameskinny.com/t3lwv/spiritfarer-physical-edition-releases-this-summer https://www.gameskinny.com/t3lwv/spiritfarer-physical-edition-releases-this-summer Fri, 28 May 2021 11:08:19 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Thunder Lotus and iam8bit announced a Spiritfarer physical edition for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. The Spiritfarer physical edition release date is July 27, and it will cost $29.99 on PS4 and $34.99 on Switch.

It comes with much more than just the game.

The package includes a 96-page digital art book plus a digital copy of the Spiritfarer soundtrack, though no special box of tissues to use when you're listening to it. There's also a stamp and postcard set featuring some of the game's locations.

If the Spiritfarer soundtrack is mostly what you're after, though, you're in luck. Thunder Lotus and iam8bit also announced a Spiritfarer vinyl soundtrack along with a collector's edition, though they didn't share specifics as to what the collector's edition will contain yet.

Spiritfarer released in fall 2020, but Thunder Lotus still has plans for adding new islands, passengers, and more to the game. Most recently, Stella's sister Lily arrived in Spiritfarer, shedding new light on Stella's story (and making us cry again).

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Spiritfarer Celebrates Major Milestone with Free Lily Update https://www.gameskinny.com/miavo/spiritfarer-celebrates-major-milestone-with-free-lily-update https://www.gameskinny.com/miavo/spiritfarer-celebrates-major-milestone-with-free-lily-update Tue, 20 Apr 2021 11:07:48 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Grab your hankies, folks. The Spiritfarer Lily update is live now on all consoles and PC.

The Lily update is the first part of Spiritfarer's 2021 content roadmap and adds new depth to Stella's story. Its release coincides with Spiritfarer selling more than half a million copies.

Lily the Butterfly Guide joins the ranks of Stella's passengers. Their purpose is exploring Stella's past through a series of new episodes, and it's something fans have requested since the game first released in 2020.

Creative Director Nicolas Guérin said:

We wanted to keep the Lily Update small, to address the single most common feedback we’ve received from players since launch: fans want to know more about Stella and what, ultimately, her quest is about.

It’s the emotional core of the game, so we wanted to get it right; Lily offers a sweet and personal window onto who Stella is, and we hope the players like what we’ve done with this update.

The Lily update also fixes some bugs and improves co-op mode.

It's understandable why fans want to know more about Stella. The base game is very much about Stella continuing her role as caregiver and helping others. Now it's her turn to tell her story.

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Spiritfarer Roadmap Promises New Passengers, Islands https://www.gameskinny.com/og2ix/spiritfarer-roadmap-promises-new-passengers-islands https://www.gameskinny.com/og2ix/spiritfarer-roadmap-promises-new-passengers-islands Thu, 11 Feb 2021 16:18:46 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Thunder Lotus has free, new Spiritfarer content planned for the rest of 2021, including new spirits, story events, islands, and more, the developer outlined in a Spiritfarer content roadmap. 

The first round of Spiritfarer's additional content is planned for spring 2021. New character Lily headlines this update. Lily is Stella's sister, whose spirit comes aboard as Stella starts uncovering more of her memories. Lily is awake at night and provides enough light for Stella to continue navigating even after dark.

The next update sets sail in summer and centers around Stella's former neighbor Beverly. The two meet in Oxbury and rekindle their friendship by bonding over the past.

The Beverly update also adds an Archive Room to the ship, where Stella can view new Acetate collectibles. Thunder Lotus promised even more tweaks and enhancements in this update, but is saving details for a later date.

Finally is the fall update, and it's a big one. Spiritfarer's fall update sees Stella travel to a new island with an old hospital, where she meets Jackie, the hospital steward, and Daria, Jackie's patient. Being the Spiritfarer, Stella decides to help Jackie take care of things.

It'll add new building materials, resources, and events too, but like the summer update, Thunder Lotus is keeping some information back for now.

We thought Spiritfarer was pretty complete and wonderful when it released in September 2020, but we definitely won't complain about even more, no matter how much it might (read: will) break our hearts.

[Source: Thunder Lotus]

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Spiritfarer Items Guide: Every Important Item and How to Get It https://www.gameskinny.com/mfqap/spiritfarer-items-guide-every-important-item-and-how-to-get-it https://www.gameskinny.com/mfqap/spiritfarer-items-guide-every-important-item-and-how-to-get-it Mon, 31 Aug 2020 20:11:08 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The world of Spiritfarer is vast and full of nifty items to collect. Some are only good for making extra Glims — Spiritfarer's currency — while others are vital resources you'll need to upgrade your ship and help ease your passengers into the beyond. We're rounding up every Spiritfarer item, where to find these items, and what they do to help make your own journey smoother.

We've broken things down by item type and included where you can find them, key notes about them, and what they're used for.

Spiritfarer Item List

Seeds

You'll use seeds almost more than any other item in Spiritfarer, especially early on.

Most seeds are available for purchase at a branch of Theodore's Raccoon Inc. stores. But you'll randomly find some seeds in crates on the sea or possibly for sale in Francis' floating emporium.

Speaking of Francis, he's the only way to get Mystery Seeds, which always sprout into Tchotchke, items you'll sell back to him for a good profit.

One other very special case is the Fireglow Seed. It's the only way to get Fireglow, and it's tied to an event.

You'll need Gustav on board. Then, navigate to the dark spots on the map, and you'll trigger an event similar to the Jellyfish one with Gwen. Plant the seeds, and there you go.

Seeds in Hummingberg

Seed Type
Description and Uses
Flax Seed Field seed; grows Linen Fiber
Corn Seed Field seed. Grind Corn in the Windmill for Corn Flour
Coffee Seed Field seed
Carrot Seed Garden seed
Turnip Seed Garden seed

 

Seeds in Bottom Line Corp.

The store in Bottom Line Corp. is pretty much the same as the Hummingberg store, with just one difference. You can buy Seed Samplers here, which act as grab bags with random seeds.

Seeds in Furogawa

Furogawa is probably where you'll find your first fruit seeds. You'll need an Orchard for those, which you'll need Alice on board for.

Seed Type
Description and Uses
Rice Seed Field seed. Grind Rice in the Windmill for Rice Flour
Leek Seed Garden seed
Apple Seed Orchard seed
Flax Seed Field seed; grows Linen Fiber

 

Seeds in Hikarishima Lighthouse

Hikarishima Lighthouse is closest to the Furogawa store, but you won't gain access to it until obtaining the Bounce ability from Oxbury. That's a later-game upgrade that requires the rock breaker addition to the ship.

Seed Type
Description and Uses
Tea Seed Field seed
Lettuce Seed Garden seed
Cherry Seed Orchard seed
Flax Seed Field seed; grows Linen Fiber

 

Seeds in Nordweiler

Nordweiler is the first big island you'll reach on the other side of the ice after outfitting your ship with the ice breaker, and it's got some new seed types in store.

The Sunflower Seed is a must-have because it's your base for making Fried Chicken and other fried foods.

Seed Type
Description and Uses
  Celery Seed Garden seed
 Sunflower Seed Field seed. Use in the Crusher to make Sunflour Oil, an essential Fat used for obtaining Fried Chicken and other fried foods.
    Pear Seed Orchard seed
  Cabbage Seed Garden seed. Use Cabbage in the Cellar to make Sauerkraut.

 

Seeds in Loneberg

Loneberg's a tiny place, but you can pick up Cotton Seeds to grow in the Field here. And you should, because later upgrades and buildings need Cotton fabric.

Seeds in Oxbury

Seed Type
Description and Uses
Potato Seed Garden seed
Wheat Seed Field seed
Mulberry Seed Orchard seed. Required for getting Silk

 

Seeds in Edgeborough Lane

Edgeborough Lane's store only has the Olive Seed for the Garden and the Sugar Cane for the field. Run them through the Crusher to get Olive Oil and Sugar respectively.

Seeds in Greymist Peaks

Seed Type
Description
Onion Seed Garden seed
Tomato Seed Garden seed
Garlic Seed Field seed
Peach Seed Orchard seed

 

Cloth Items

Cloth and the materials to weave it are another set of items you'll quickly get familiar with.

The Loom used to make threads and fabrics is one of the ship's first new facilities, but you'll be using it all the way through the game, especially when it's time to get Silk.

Name Uses
Linen Thread Harvest Linen Fiber from Flax Seeds, then use it at the Loom
Linen Fabric Use Linen Thread at the Loom
Wool Thread Shear a sheep, then take the Wool Fiber to the Loom. You'll need to find Alice on Mount Toroyama first.
Wool Fabric Use Wool Thread at the Loom
Nebula Thread Use Nebula Fiber at the Loom. To get Nebula Fiber, navigate to the pillbug shapes around Furogawa with Alice on board. Speak to Alice to trigger an event, round up the bugs, and you'll get the fibers.
Nebula Fabric Use Nebula Thread at the Loom
Cotton Thread Grow and harvest Cotton to get Cotton Fibers, then use those at the Loom
Cotton Fabric Use Cotton Thread at the Loom
Silk Thread Grow a Mulberry Tree, then gather the moth cocoons to get Silk Fibers. Use these at the Loom for Silk Thread
Silk Fabric  Use Silk Thread at the Loom
Metal Rope  Use 2 Copper Ore chunks at the Loom

 

Important Ingredients

You'll need certain key food ingredients for some of the dishes you can't make with your ship's facilities, like milk, eggs, and pork. Some of these are crucial to advancing passenger quests.

How to Get Fat in Spiritfarer

Fat falls under the crucial category, and you'll need the Crusher to process certain ingredient items into fats. Note that even if you obtain the ship upgrade that lets you build the Crusher, you won't get the materials for it until after meeting Bruce and Mickey.

Atul's Fried Chicken quest will just have to wait a while.

Name
Location
Pork Raccoon Inc. in Furogawa, Nordweiler, Oxbury
Chicken Raccoon Inc. in Nordweiler, Oxbury
Beef Raccoon Inc. in Oxbury
Eggs Raccoon Inc. in Oxbury. Harvest from chickens after building Chicken Coop
Milk You'll need a Cow Stall on the ship, but you can only build that once you purchase the Proof of Purchase: Cow from Edgeborough Lane's Raccoon Inc. store.
Sugar Run Sugar Cane through the Crusher
Sunflower Oil Fat item. Run sunflower seeds through the Crusher
Olive Oil Fat item. Run olives through the Crusher

 

Rocks

The Rocks category encompasses a broad array of items, including powders and things like Quartz.

Name Uses
Limestone Crush to make Lime Powder
Quartz Crush to make Silica Powder for important upgrades
Coal Powers the foundry. Can be mined or created by cooking Sawdust. Crush to make Carbon Powder.
Comet Rock Gathered during an on-boat event after finding Giovanni. Crush to make Comet Powder.
Slate  Used for ship upgrades. Can be mined or found in crates

 

Finding Marble in Spiritfarer is another special case. You can only get it in the Kalstein Mines, but you can't get there until you've learned Double Jump, Glide, and Zip Line.

The first two you'll get as the story takes its course. If you're stuck on getting Zip Line, head to the Shrine on Nordweiler, and exchange your Obols for the ability.

Metals

Metals include the ores you mine, the ingots you turn ore into, and the various sheets of metal you can use ingots for. These, too, are vital for later upgrades, but the stronger ores are tied to events triggered by Summer.

You'll spot different dragons at specific map points, and the nodes for these ores are only available on their respective dragons.

Glass is technically counted under Gems, but for the sake of simplicity, we're including it with other Foundry-centric items.

Name Location and Uses
Copper Ore Mined from Iwashima Countryside, Greenhalten Bay, Mount Toroyama. Use at the Foundry to make Copper Ingot.
Iron Ore Mined from Hosekai Quarry, Crow's End, Southpoint Docks, Hidden Thicket. Use at the Foundry to make Iron Ingot.
  Aluminum Ore Find the Aluminum Dragon at -132, 134. Use at the Foundry to make Aluminum Ingot.
Silver Ore Find the Silver Dragon at 188, -34. Use at the Foundry to make Silver Ingot.
Gold Ore Must acquire Dash ability. Then find the Gold Dragon at 121, 111. Nodes exist at Southpoint Docks, Crow's End, Obscure Canopy, but only after Stella can Dash. Use at the Foundry to make Gold Ingot.
Zinc Ore Mined from Southpoint Docks. Use at the Foundry to make Zinc Ingot.
Pulsar Ore Obtainable through an event with Bruce and Mickey. Use at the Foundry to make Pulsar Ingot.
Glass Run Glass Bottles through the Foundry

 

Sheet Metals

Refine Ingots at the Smithy to get Sheet Metal items. The Smithy is another later-game upgrade you won't get until sometime after meeting Bruce and Mickey.

Name Ingredients
Brass Sheet  1 Copper Ingot, 1 Zinc Ingot
Bronze Sheet  1 Copper Ingot, 1 Aluminum Ingot
Crystal Glass Sheet  1 Zinc Ingot, 1 Silica Powder
Electrum Sheet  1 Gold Ingot, 1 Silver Ingot
Rose Gold Sheet  1 Gold Ingot, 1 Copper Ingot
Clear Glass Sheet  1 Lime Powder, 1 Silica Powder
Steel Sheet  1 Iron Ingot, 1 Carbon Powder
Celestial Sheet  1 Comet Powder, 1 Pulsar Ingot

 

Gems

There aren't many actual Gems in Spiritfarer, but you'll need them for an early quest involving Summer. Some other key items get lumped under this category as well.

Each of the Gem types usable for The Diffracted Cabinet quest can be found in specific locations. But you can earn some of them through completing Francis' errands — just speak to him every time he shows up to see if any new ones unlock — and may rarely find them in crates.

Name Location
Citrine Chest in Alice's house on Mount Toroyama
Opal Hikarishima Lighthouse Shop, chest at the end of Mount Toroyama mines.
Amythyst Chest on secret path in Hosekai Quarry
Diamond Chest on secret path in Hosekai Quarry, fill out Susan's Museum
Hematite Fill out Susan's Museum
  Lightening In A Bottle Sail to a thunderstorm area, then speak with Atul. Stand in sparkling spots to catch bottled lightning. Note: you'll need empty bottles
XP Potion Go to Buck's room and interact with the game there to trigger an event.
Bottled Ectoplasm Interact with Stanley's beetle Jacob to trigger an event, then catch the Dust Shades as they appear.
Bright Jelly  Capture jellyfish at dark spots on the map with Gwen
Fireglow Grow from Fireglow Seeds.

 

Wood

Wood is another essential item category used for most building projects and big upgrades.

You'll harvest it from various islands as logs, then process it through the Sawmill to obtain planks. Trees re-grow in a few days' time, so you'll never be without for long.

Name How to Get
Maple Log Cut down Maple Trees on Mosstein Cove, Barkensheim Creek, or Greenhalten Bay
Maple Plank Use Maple Log at the Sawmill
Oak Log Cut down Oak Trees in Gurenu Fields, Resuteno Meadow, or Iwashima Countryside
Oak Plank Use Oak Log at the Sawmill
Ash Log Cut down Ash Trees in Sunspring Square or Ambertown Park near Oxbury
Ash Plank Use Ash Log at the Sawmill
Pine Log Cut down Pine Trees in Misty Woods or Obscure Canopy
Pine Plank Use Pine Logs

 

Other Spiritfarer Items

There are a few other key Spiritfarer items worth mentioning.

Woodblock Print and Figurine

For Gustav's onboarding process, you'll need to buy a Woodblock Print from Furogawa's Raccoon Inc — except Theodore's already sold it.

Gustav gives you a Figurine instead, which you need to take to Susan's Museum at -150/150. Swap it for the Woodblock, and give that to Gustav.

Glue and Paper

These basic items are tied in with Stanley's story arc, and you can't make them until you're asked to. For Household Glue, cook an Old Shoe (fish it out of the ocean or buy from Francis) and Coal.

To make Household Paper, cook the Household Glue with Sawdust.

Spiritfarer's Spirit Flowers

The Spirit Flowers are what you get after releasing a spirit. You can see them adorning each spirit, and they act as a sort of last farewell or thank you. Find them in the departed spirit's room after you leave the Everdoor.

That's every important item in Spiritfarer and how to get it, including lightning in a bottle, ectoplasm, silk thread, and nebula fabric Be sure to check out our favorite food guide, and stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Spiritfarer guides.

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Spiritfarer Favorite Foods Guide: Passenger Likes and Dislikes https://www.gameskinny.com/ov491/spiritfarer-favorite-foods-guide-passenger-likes-and-dislikes https://www.gameskinny.com/ov491/spiritfarer-favorite-foods-guide-passenger-likes-and-dislikes Fri, 28 Aug 2020 11:44:02 -0400 Josh Broadwell

One important part of Spiritfarer’s management component is keeping Stella’s passengers fed and happy. Each passenger has a unique set of likes and dislikes, plus one food dish that they enjoy above all others. So it's important to give them their favorite foods. 

This Spiritfarer guide is here to make the culinary process much easier. If you offer a dish a passenger likes, they’re happiness increases. The happier passengers are, the more they’ll help out around the ship, doing things like collecting and processing materials. 

There’s no actual penalty for giving a passenger a disliked dish. They just don’t accept them.

But figuring out what each passenger likes and what they’re favorite foods are is a guessing game. Except it isn’t thanks to our Spiritfarer favorite foods guide.

We’ve outlined every passenger’s favorite food here and since you can’t feed them the same dish twice in a row, we've also included their preferred food types so you can keep them happy at all times.

Spiritfarer Favorite Foods Guide

Alice

Alice Favorite Food

  • Veggie Pot-Pie — Flour and Vegetable or Mushroom. You won’t get this for a while, since it requires the Windmill.

Alice Likes

  • Old-Fashioned Food — Shellfish Stew is the easiest; just cook one of the shellfish you can find on the side of the ship.
  • Desserts — Like with Summer, Poached Fruit is the easiest and earliest dessert you can offer Alice.

Alice Dislikes

  • Exotic Food.
  • Stimulants (e.g. tea, coffee).
Astrid

Astrid Favorite Food

  • Noodle Soup — Just cook rice flour. You won’t get this for a while, since it requires the Windmill.

Astrid Likes

  • Plain Food — Grilled Fish and Plain Rice are the easiest, with ingredients in abundance.

Astrid Dislikes

  • Sugary Food, Fine Dining.
Atul

Atul Favorite Food

  • Pork Chops — You’ll learn this recipe as part of a quest, but you can’t finish it until you get to Furogawa and purchase Pork from the shop there.

Atul Likes

  • Everything.

Atul Dislikes

  • Nothing. Feed him whatever you’ve got on hand, and he’ll be happy.
Bruce and Mickey

Despite being a team, Bruce and Mickey share the same tastes.

Bruce and Mickey Favorite Food

  • Garlic Bread — Combine Wheat Flour and Garlic. You may get lucky and find Garlic in a crate, but you can buy it from a shop later, after you clear the mist barrier.

Bruce and Mickey Likes

  • Pub Food — Anything Fried.

Bruce and Mickey Dislikes

  • Crayfish.
  • Meals that only require one ingredient.
Buck

Buck Favorite Food

  • Tomato Pizza — Wheat Flour and Tomato.

Buck Likes

  • Comfort Food — Popcorn works here if you want to make things simple.
  • Old Fashioned Food — Shellfish Stew is the easiest; just cook one of the shellfish you can find on the side of the ship.

Buck Dislikes

  • Fruit.
  • Dairy.
Elena

Elena Favorite Food

  • Green Salad — Leaf Veggie (Lettuce) and Fat. Getting these won’t be any problem by the time Elena joins your party.

Elena Likes

  • Plain Food.
  • Healthy Food.

Elena Dislikes

  • Meat.
  • Fried foods.
Giovanni

Giovanni Favorite Food

  • Beef Fondue — Requires Beef and Fat. Beef is available for purchase later on in the game, so depending on how you progress, you’ll want to focus on likes for Giovanni too.

Giovanni Likes

  • Fine Dining — You’ll have access to more choices by the time you find Giovanni, so things like Squid Skewer (cook a Squid) and Bouillabaisse (Fish + Vegetable or Mushroom) are options if you run out of Shrimp.
  • Stimulants — Tea and Coffee.

Giovanni Dislikes

  • Eggy foods.
  • Carbs.
Gustav

Gustav Favorite Food

  • Surströmming — Catch a herring, and put it in the Cellar. The Cellar is part of the final ship features upgrade, so it’s out of reach for a little while.

Gustav Likes

  • Exotic Food — Plenty to choose from here, but Fish Curry (Fish + Rice or other Grain) and Paella (Shellfish + Rice or other Grain) are the easiest by far.
  • Acquired Taste — Steamed Shellfish can be your go-to food here. Just cook one of the hangers-on you find on the side of the ship.

Gustav Dislikes

  • Fried foods.
  • Sweet foods.
  • Fruit.
Gwen

Gwen Favorite Food

  • Black Coffee — Purchase coffee bean seeds and plant them, then cook the beans.

Gwen Likes

  • Comfort Food — Popcorn is the easiest and cheapest.
  • Fine Dining — Cook a shrimp to make Shrimp Cocktail.

Gwen Dislikes

  • Fruit
  • Shellfish (mollusks specifically; she like shrimp).
Stanley

Stanley Favorite Food

  • French Fries — Cook Potato and Fat together. You won’t get either of these for a while, so stick to liked foods until you’ve got the Crusher to make fat.

Stanley Likes

  • Breakfast Food — Egg Sunny Side Up (just cook an egg) or Cereal Bowl (grain + dairy) fit the bill here.
  • Desserts — Poached Fruit (just cook a piece of fruit or a berry) is the easiest

Stanley Dislikes

  • Fruit (uncooked)
  • Stimulants
  • Vegetables
Summer

Summer Favorite Food

  • Grain Salad — Cook a grain (rice is the easiest) with a vegetable or mushroom.

Summer Likes

  • Desserts — Poached Fruit is the easiest since you can just cook berries to obtain it.
  • Salads — Egg and vegetable make Egg Salad, while Mushroom and Veggie make Mushroom Salad.

Summer Dislikes

  • Anything with meat or animal products.

And that’s it for our Spiritfarer favorite foods guide for every passenger. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Spiritfarer guides in the coming days, and be sure to check out our Spiritfarer review to see why we called it one of the year's best games. 

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Spiritfarer Review: Never to Be Forgotten https://www.gameskinny.com/zo2jf/spiritfarer-review-never-to-be-forgotten https://www.gameskinny.com/zo2jf/spiritfarer-review-never-to-be-forgotten Fri, 21 Aug 2020 17:11:02 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Thunder Lotus set itself one heck of a task with Spiritfarer. Create a game about dying that was also cozy. Make players fall in love with the game's characters, but don't break their hearts too much. Add in plenty of management tasks, without throwing off the balance or making it feel too game-y.

It was a lot, and the development team did it, plus a lot more besides.

Spiritfarer is a finely crafted piece of artistic commentary on death, grief, and what it means to let go, and it's far and away one of the best games to come out of 2020.

Spiritfarer Review: Never to Be Forgotten

Spiritfarer’s opening lays out what to expect from the rest of the game in more ways than one. Stella, the game's protagonist, arrives at the Everdoor with adorable cat companion Daffodil to take over as Spiritfarer from Charon. Stella’s overarching plot is hinted at the dialogue, especially a bit later when you meet your first two passengers, but I won’t spoil it here. 

Leaving that crucial piece of background information unspoken is one of the smartest plot devices I’ve come across. It means nearly everything you do during Stella’s journey is essentially enacting Spiritfarer’s major theme, which means that big oomph at the end hits suitably hard.

But you’ve got a while before getting to that point. Spiritfarer is a surprisingly lengthy game that should take you in the ballpark of 30 hours or so to complete. That might be surprising if you’re just getting on board after one of the game's earlier demos.

Those, especially the first one, made it seem like meeting and guiding spirits on their paths to the afterlife would be a fairly short experience. 

Spiritfarer settles into a broad gameplay loop shortly after cleaning up the boat and taking on your first passenger. Each passenger has a set of tasks you’ll complete, and these tie in with exploring Spiritfarer’s vast ocean full of unique islands and equally unique stories. 

While every task is different, they all relate to the same two things that combine into an eternal loop: expanding your boat’s capacity and gathering resources. The more resources you gather, the more help you can offer your passengers. The more help you offer your passengers, the more places open up for exploration and the learning of new skills. 

These two main task categories drive every aspect of Spiritfarer, but they also never grow stale since there’s so much you can choose to do between major tasks. 

This curious world between life and death is a vast one, and you’re never punished for straying too far from the beaten path. You’re also never quite able to stray very far from that path, with progression tied as it is to new unlockables earned through completing different spirits’ stories.

But there’s enough freedom of choice where it doesn't seem like Spiritfarer is pushing you on unrelentingly.

A new section of the map opens up every time you discover a new island, so you could just put everything else on hold and go exploring, which is a treat in Spiritfarer, thanks to the game’s beautiful art direction. Everything from rice swaying in the breeze to shooting stars arcing across the sky during an eclipse is just gorgeous.

The islands are designed practically, too. They’re not big enough to feel overwhelming, but even the small ones have at least a few vital resources to make re-visiting worthwhile. Checking an island out on the map gives you a handy overview of what you can gather there, so it’s easy to plan your repeat visits to get what you need.

Of course, you’ll want to re-visit most of them anyway, regardless of resource potential. A good many islands have areas and rewards you can’t reach until your Everlight absorbs new abilities. 

That’s where one of my only real complaints about Spiritfarer lies. Boat travel takes a long time. You won’t notice it much when you’re moving forward, since you’re rarely far away from something new to discover. But it’s more obvious when you have to backtrack to the shipyard for improvements or to another island for resources. 

Depending on where you are and what’s going on, you may have enough secondary tasks to fill the time, but if not, you’ll probably end up fishing for a while until the boat arrives. The option to sleep and pass time only pops up in the middle of the night, when the boat can’t travel, so there’s no taking a quick nap a la' Harvest Moon.

On the off chance you do get stuck, you won’t stay that way for long. Passengers remind you what they need if you haven’t provided it yet, while others offer handy hints leading you to the next major location or spirit in need.

The wild energy of catching lightning bolts is a particular highlight

In between gathering, mapping, and the like, there’s a lot you’ll be doing. Your boat gradually becomes a floating farm, a culinary wonder center, a garden, a mine, and a processing center all in one, with even more you'll be adding along with those.

Each of those titles is accompanied by its own buildings and tasks. Some tasks quickly become routine, like watering plants and cooking meals for your passengers. Others you’ll complete to get new resources used for new buildings, the placement and management of which is an engrossing sub-system of its own.

Many of these tasks often come up as mini-games of sorts, like guiding a saw blade down the logs you collect or timed button presses controlling the ship’s loom. None of these are exacting, which is good since they aren’t supposed to be. It’s a fast, simple, and fun way to get what you need.

My absolute favorite is a technically nonessential, almost zen-like one: playing songs passengers teach you to help boost your plants’ growth cycle while the plants themselves sway in time to the music. It’s just one of many simple, lovely touches scattered throughout Spiritfarer.

While most of these tasks relate somehow to at least one specific spirit’s needs or requests, you’ll also use the fruits of your labor to upgrade your ship, either to unlock new buildings, make it bigger, or equip it to handle certain hazards blocking your path.

Then there’s the passengers themselves, of course, though I’ll try not to spoil too many particulars here. You’ll eventually encounter a good many passengers, some who know Stella already, some who need help overcoming past traumas, and some who just take a shine to her bright and plucky nature. 

They’re all instantly likeable. Dialogue with each spirit is limited to specific sub-events or major tasks related to their arc, which is a huge step up from the first demo where spirits spoke randomly and shattered the emotional flow of big moments.

It might seem like there’s not enough time to really know each passenger, though Spiritfarer delivers a healthy chunk of their stories and personalities through subtext and other means. Sound bytes and animations — even eating animations, but especially the ones for hugs — offer just as much insight into their personalities as their stories do. 

You won’t get deep dives into every passenger’s backstory, but what you do learn is enough to guess at what might have happened. In fact, I appreciate the loose structure of each narrative arc for that. Vague hints at family troubles, past indiscretions, or just regrets of missing those left behind provide a great deal more emotional impact than full-on exposition dumps could. 

More importantly, it lets you bond with each passenger by seeing some of yourself, a friend, or a loved one in them. It’s something I admit I was skeptical about, and I came away impressed and moved.

That bond is special for gameplay reasons, as well. Spiritfarer is probably the least gamified sim and management game I’ve ever played. Yes, you’re ultimately doing these tasks to get new things and move forward. Above all that, you’re doing these things because you want your passengers to be happy, and your relationships with them are what elevates Spiritfarer from just running errands for your passengers.

The game's animations play a big role in making them endearing because Spiritfarer is unsurpassed when it comes to depicting pure joy and affection. Just hug Gwen or Atul, and you’ll see what I mean.

Aside from all that, they’re genuinely funny as well. The writing handles humor just as well as it does emotion, and despite the rather heavy nature of the themes, the overall tone is largely a happy one.

Spiritfarer is maybe better described as rose-hued melancholy or perhaps joy diffused with sadness, depending on how you look at it. From the very beginning, you know your journey with each passenger — all the chats, hugs, and understanding — is meant to culminate in saying goodbye one last time.

You might forget about it in the midst of doing your rounds and gathering resources, but it’s always in the background.

Eventually, the familiar presence is gone. There’s a slight jolt as you remember that part of your routine isn’t needed anymore. All that’s left are the material reminders of your time together — the buildings, the homes, the decorations — and what each spirit taught you, things that bubble up every time you use a skill or building associated with them.

It’s sad. Depending on your emotional state, especially if you’ve recently endured a loss, you’ll probably cry. I sure as hell did, even at the parts that aren’t overtly sad, and I may or may not be tearing up after writing the previous paragraph. 

But that’s also the point. Creative Director Nicholas Guérin told me earlier in the year Spiritfarer is supposed to bring us closer to accepting death and departure, cosseting it in happy, soft moments to cushion the blow. It hits that target so, so well, but it’s also a bit tough to deal with at times.

That’s by no means a complaint. Thunder Lotus deals with death, loss, grief, and everything else along with it in a delicate, smart, and sensitive way. The end result is Spiritfarer as experience. As much as, or more so than, Spiritfarer as game.

Spiritfarer Review — The Bottom Line

Pros
  • Moving, thoughtful story
  • Smart writing easily swapping between funny and emotional
  • Intelligent handling of heavy themes
  • Resplendent art and sound design
  • Thoroughly engaging gameplay loops
Cons
  • Traveling back and forth takes a bit too long
  • Minor typos sprinkled throughout the text

Spiritfarer might be emotionally challenging, but that's also what makes it worthwhile. As just a game, it works fine enough on its own. But everything else it's wrapped up in transforms Spiritfarer into something special.

Any conversation about games as art, or how individual games can push the medium forward, absolutely must include Spiritfarer from now on.

[Note: Thunder Lotus provided the copy of Spiritfarer used for this review.]

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Spiritfarer Sets Sail with Simultaneous Release on All Platforms https://www.gameskinny.com/l2myp/spiritfarer-sets-sail-with-simultaneous-release-on-all-platforms https://www.gameskinny.com/l2myp/spiritfarer-sets-sail-with-simultaneous-release-on-all-platforms Tue, 18 Aug 2020 13:00:02 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Thunder Lotus' long-anticipated Spiritfarer had a vague 2020 release window for a long time, and the developers just recently teased new characters. But the indie management adventure is finally available  right now  following its prime spot in the most recent Nintendo Indie World Direct.

It's available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, as well as PC through Steam, Epic, and GOG, for $29.99. It is also available on Xbox Game Pass.

According to Spiritfarer's creative director Nicholas Guérin, it wasn't easy to keep the game's launch a secret.

I will say that it’s been pretty tough keeping this launch under the radar! We took what is by far our biggest, most ambitious production yet, and decided to up the ante by releasing Spiritfarer simultaneously on almost every system under the sun.

The Spiritfarer release date trailer provides a lengthy look at what makes Spiritfarer so ambitious. Half of Spiritfarer is making sure Stella's departed passengers are happy and have everything they need to make that final journey.

That involves building up the boat, growing crops, setting off for lands unknown, making music with your passengers, and meeting all manner of other characters along the way.

The other half of Spiritfarer is saying goodbye to those passengers you've grown to know so well. We took a deeper look at what's involved in Spiritfarer's death portion a while back, but suffice to say, keep those hankies at the ready. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for our Spiritfarer review in the coming days.

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Stella's Horizons Widen Ever Further in New Spiritfarer Trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/qqoqm/stellas-horizons-widen-ever-further-in-new-spiritfarer-trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/qqoqm/stellas-horizons-widen-ever-further-in-new-spiritfarer-trailer Thu, 30 Jul 2020 13:00:56 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Spiritfarer, Thunder Lotus' game where coziness and death hold hands, is still slated for a 2020 launch date. While we still don't have a solid Spiritfarer release date, we do have another trailer showing how far along the game has progressed, which also introduces some new passengers too.

After Alice the hedgehog requests help from Stella, we see the scene shift to Stella charting a new course for Mount Toroyama. There, she learns the secrets of meditation from Summer the snake — the same Summer we first met last year in the game's initial demo.

The trailer shows us a number of glimpses into Stella's expanded world, from sun-kissed villas to sumptuous townhouses, plus a new weather condition on the boat.

Stella herself shows off a couple of new abilities as well, like riding updrafts with her hat and using her belt as both electrical conduit and handy zipline.

And there are two new passengers making their debut: Giovanni the lion and Stan the mushroom.

Thanks to the Spiritfarer demos, we knew Stella completing quests for her passengers features prominently. But the new Spiritfarer trailer shows there's even more: mini-games with each passenger. We see Summer teaching Stella how to help speed up crop growth time by playing music, but Thunder Lotus' Rodrigue Duperron confirmed each animal has a mini-game unique to them.

So there's even more reason to get attached to Stella's passengers, making that final farewell all the more difficult.

In a different bit of news, Thunder Lotus also announced Spiritfarer will release on the Epic Games Store and Google Stadia when it does launch. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Spiritfarer news as it develops.

Spiritfarer made out most anticipated indie games of 2020; see what other indie titles we're looking forward to over here!

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Wholesome Direct Dishes Up Cat Farms, Old Dogs, and Witches https://www.gameskinny.com/745s1/wholesome-direct-dishes-up-cat-farms-old-dogs-and-witches https://www.gameskinny.com/745s1/wholesome-direct-dishes-up-cat-farms-old-dogs-and-witches Tue, 26 May 2020 14:14:44 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Wholesome Games, a Twitter account dedicated to promoting feel-good and unique indie games, premiered its first-ever Wholesome Direct today with 50 different games shown off. These ranged from Spiritfarer and the cat-based farm-sim Snacko to hospital simulator Wayward Strand and more. Fifty games is a lot to get through, so we've rounded up a few of the highlights below.

Button City

First up was Button City, a bright, colorful game inspired by '90s kids movies. It's all about a group of furry friends trying to save their local arcade at whatever the cost. And the cost appears to be a fun mashup of different gameplay styles, from adventure to sh'mup befitting of a quest to save the arcade.

Errand Boy

Errand Boy follows a pure-hearted young child helping those in need by running their errands. It's part Zelda-inspired adventure game, part puzzler, and completely wholesome because helping those in need might just be the key to saving the world.

Snacko

Snacko is all about big-city kitties moving to a deserted island and starting their very own community. You'll explore the island, raise animals and crops, and uncover the mysteries around you, but most of all, you're a cat-farmer. That's enough for us.

Chicory: A Colorful Tale

Chicory, made by three roommates, follows an artist called Chicory as she tries to restore color and life to her world. Everything, from interactions and exploration to solving puzzles, revolves around color, and we're looking forward to learning more about Chicory later this year.

Spiritfarer

Spiritfarer's new gameplay trailer premiered during the Wholesome Direct, showing off some of the game's more involved platforming segments. We see Stella and Buttercup making the most of their abilities as they gather resources and navigate treacherous terrain, all in pursuit of caring for the spirits of their deceased friends. Check out more about Spiritfarer in our deep dive interview into what makes the game tick.

Bird Alone

We got a glimpse of Bird Alone as well, a quirky looking game starring you and your philosophizing parrot. In Bird Alone, you'll build a garden full of plants and birds, caring for them by interacting with them and possibly making music and other art as well. More news is expected later this year.

Little Witch in the Wood

Little Witch in the Wood from Sunny Side Up finally got some attention in an exclusive gameplay trailer. You play as a new witch embarking on her witch's apprenticeship. It's a three-year journey of exploration, learning new magic, and figuring out how the world around you works. Little Witch in the Wood launches in 2021.

Winding Worlds

Winding Worlds from Ko-Op was a bit of an exception in that it's available now on Apple Arcade. It follows Willow as she explores numerous worlds, solving puzzles, saving souls, and figuring out how to help her friends overcome their troubles and move on.

A Space for the Unbound

A Space for the Unbound is a mix of puzzle, adventure, and RPG where you play as two high school sweethearts in 1990s Indonesia. They're on a quest to tick off their bucket list, but in the process, they get caught up in solving the mysteries of their town and the supernatural forces threatening it.

Garden Story

Garden Story is a one-person project putting all the developer's gaming wants in one package. You play as a new village guardian, rebuilding the island, helping people in need, and reading lots of fruit puns because everyone on the island is a fruit. There's no release window for Garden Story yet, but we're happy to wait and see how it grows.

Calico

Calico is a mix of magical girls, cat cafes, and gorgeous style. It's a slice-of-life community simulator where you're tasked with rebuilding the town's cat cafe and filling it with cats, all rendered in lovely watercolor style. Calico launches on PC this October.

Wayward Strand

Before the Direct closed with a sizzle reel, Wayward Strand was unveiled. It's a different kind of interactive title where you're on board an airship hospital. Everything's done based on the ship's clock — doctor's rounds, patient routines, and so on. Expect some heartfelt stories and probably a few tears when Wayward Strand launches later this year.

Hoa

In Nintendo Direct fashion, the Wholesome Direct ended with a surprise announcement: Hoa. It's an absolutely lovely looking (and sounding) sidescrolling platformer. It's fully handcrafted and headed to PC and Switch later this year.

That's it for the first Wholesome Direct. Be sure to stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on these indie titles and others in the coming months. 

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Spiritfarer Gameplay Trailer Gives New Peek at Management Sim https://www.gameskinny.com/jinog/spiritfarer-gameplay-trailer-gives-new-peek-at-management-sim https://www.gameskinny.com/jinog/spiritfarer-gameplay-trailer-gives-new-peek-at-management-sim Mon, 24 Feb 2020 18:16:41 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Thunder Lotus Games has released a brand-new gameplay trailer for its upcoming title, Spiritfarer. It's just under than a minute long, but it highlights some of the many, many activities Stella and Daffodil use to help the departed souls in their care.

If you played last year's demo of this life-meets-death management sim, some of this might look familiar to you. There's the adventuring and platforming component, complete with Stella's awesome double jump, plus crop growing, fishing, and generally hanging out with the boat's passengers.

However, the trailer also gives us a peek at a lot more. Stella will be raising animals on board after apparently bringing them back from some of the distant lands she visits. There's some kind of forging element making use of the materials you can mine, along with certain parts of the environment you can interact with, like obtaining lumber for building rooms and expanding the ship.

As we see at the end of the trailer, all this is done to help make Stella's passengers happy and aid them on their journey to the afterlife. It's also some of the only Spiritfarer footage we can actually watch without tearing up (well, almost).

Spiritfarer still has a vague 2020 release date for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, but hopefully, we'll be hearing more about its progress soon.

If you missed Spiritfarer's announcement during Microsoft's E3 presentation last year, you can catch up on what it's all about by reading our in-depth interview with the game's creative director.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Spiritfarer news as it sails out of the mists.

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Thunder Lotus on Spiritfarer: Death, Hugs, and Legacies https://www.gameskinny.com/hjwln/thunder-lotus-on-spiritfarer-death-hugs-and-legacies https://www.gameskinny.com/hjwln/thunder-lotus-on-spiritfarer-death-hugs-and-legacies Sat, 15 Feb 2020 10:00:01 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Spiritfarer, an upcoming indie adventure game from Thunder Lotus, is all about dealing with death. But it's not what you're thinking.

Instead of relying archetypal morbidity, Spiritfarer punches you in the heart and makes you cry, all in a cozy, Ghibli-style setting. It's a juxtaposed premise that we don’t often see in gaming, and it’s something that's intrigued me about the game since it was briefly announced during Microsoft’s E3 2019 press conference.

I had even more questions after I took advantage of the brief demo available last December.

Fortunately, I got the chance to talk with Nicolas Guérin, creative director at Thunder Lotus, about Spiritfarer’s inspirations and strong emotional ties to the development team.

Guérin and the team probably heard this question countless times since announcing Spiritfarer, but naturally, I had to ask it, too: why focus on death, and where’d the idea come from?

Guérin said Spiritfarer was in the works before he joined the team. Thunder Lotus wanted to continue with its unique focus on the stories and universal truths contained in mythology, like they had with JotunThis time around, though, the team changed its focus from Norse mythology to Greek, imagining the story of Charon in “Ghibli-like visuals.” 

It’s hard to imagine two more different styles: the grim ferryman of the underworld in one, and Stella, with her magic hat, bright smile, and lovable feline companion Daffodil in the other. However, that contrast was an important part of the creative process.

The harsh contrast between the dark world of the Charon myth and the colorful world of Spiritfarer helped us conceptualize protagonists that are the opposite of what you generally imagine. Stella was [originally] just a simple doodle from our awesome Art Director Jo-Annie Gauthier, and Daffodil is loosely based on my own cat.

Guerin continued by saying the goal was to do something completely different with how games treat death.

...it felt quite appropriate that a game with those initial ideas would try to achieve something different, and for once, REALLY consider death.

We as humans (and arguably furthermore in the "western" culture) obviously have a hard time considering what is ultimately something so deceptively common.

And it’s not hard to see where this sentiment comes from. Death is many things in video games, from annoying failure state to something we mindlessly inflict on others, but rarely is it a topic for discussion or genuine reflection. Some, like A Mortician’s Tale, attempt to view death from a positive lens, but devolve into traditional gaming gimmicks and don’t encourage people to connect with the topic.

Guerin sees that as a missed opportunity for the medium. Because of how games let “us interact with concepts in a unique way. … death actually happens to all of us. And although it’s incredibly hard to see it this way, it’s actually ok.”

Despite seeing that same promise in the initial reveal trailer, I was still surprised how well the team managed to carry it out — even in just the short demo I played in 2019. You might not feel okay while playing Spiritfarer, but that’s because it’s such an intimate experience — on purpose.

We see characters die in games all the time after all. Melodramatic deaths, sad deaths, pointless deaths. Sure, it’s melancholic at times, but it doesn’t often make one feel too much, if at all.

It’s not by chance Spiritfarer is succeeding in this, though. That, too, was a carefully considered part of the plan. The Thunder Lotus team is pulling from their own experiences to help players connect with their passengers and, in turn, their emotions.

Most (if not all) of the Spirits in the game are inspired by team members’ relatives that passed away. I’ve personally lost my beloved grandmother a bit more than a year ago, and boy was she funny right up until the end!

It’s always been very important to us that all characters would feel real, and not just simple video game characters.

So, although they’re not carbon copies of actual persons, I can tell you that tons of research (and many boxes of kleenexes) went into the creation of those Spirits!

It makes sense, then, to balance this kind of emotion with a Ghibli-like setting, to keep things from getting too overwhelming.

It also seems safe to say that the Ghibli style extends past the visuals and into the storytelling as well. Part of that could stem from the game’s distinct slice-of-life feel, something it also shares with many of Studio Ghibli’s works. It’s most prominent in the simulation aspect, where players guide Stella as she builds her boat and cares for her friends on board.

Those simulation and management elements are rewarding if complex. Yet for all of the moving parts, they aren't meant to overwhelm the player, but instead add layers of simplicity that grow into more robust wholes. 

... they’ve absolutely evolved since the beginning! Our initial references were farm-sim games like Harvest Moon, or more recently Stardew Valley. To a degree, [however,] our narrative style and our approach to NPCs encounter could be reminiscent of games such as Undertale or Night in the Woods.  

There is a sizable amount of platforming and exploration gameplay in Spiritfarer as well, which ties into the building boat building mechanics (the way the boat is built affects how sea events are played) or the various islands you get to explore.

It’s a lot to put into one game, a lot of different inspirations and styles. But Guérin says it’s all been carefully structured to ensure it never feels game-y or so it doesn’t distract from the core concepts.

...game mechanics should only exist if they serve the purpose of the game experience and meaning. The ideas of transmission and legacy are at the center of the game message as well, supporting the concept of a positive outlook on passing away.

So the difference between, say, Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon and us, is that everything you do has been at some point taught to you by the spirits.

That extends to one of my favorite parts of what the demo offered: the hug mechanic. Stella can offer a hug to her passengers, and like in real life, sometimes they want it, but sometimes it annoys them. It seems such a small touch, but the impact in how it organically encourages you to view the spirits in your care is pretty substantial.

Including it was fairly organic as well, and Guérin mentioned it was basically impossible to create a game about care and empathy without including any kind of physical affection. Still, it wasn’t always planned from the start. 

Making a video game means a huge amount of trial and error, but as long as you know where you want to go, it evolves in the right direction.

As Stella interacted with the Spirits and had to take care of them, the hug mechanic just felt like a natural thing to do.

It’s clear how much effort and care have gone into every aspect of Spiritfarer, but there was still one thing that bothered me after the demo.

In the scenario, Stella is helping Summer the snake-monk build her ideal room for meditation and contemplation. Then, Summer surprises Stella by saying she knows it’s time for her to go. Stella’s reaction is brief, possibly too brief I thought at the time — a short, surprised look, a hand stretched out to Summer, and then it’s back to her usual smiling face. 

Any media creation runs the risk of being interpreted in ways the creator never intended, and I was concerned that death could seem as too cozy and natural for people playing it who might be at risk.

Guérin put those fears to rest, though:

I can safely say that death is definitely not portrayed as a cozy concept in Spiritfarer. Loss will be felt, and the coziness is what’s around it all, to help your feelings throughout.

With that in mind, I asked Guérin if he had any closing thoughts he wanted readers and eventual players of Spiritfarer to walk away with: 

We as individuals are the sum of all the ones that were here before us or exchanged with us during our lives, We should cherish the memories of others, and we should do our best to carry on their legacies.

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10 Anticipated Upcoming Indie Games of 2020 https://www.gameskinny.com/tz43f/10-anticipated-upcoming-indie-games-of-2020 https://www.gameskinny.com/tz43f/10-anticipated-upcoming-indie-games-of-2020 Thu, 12 Dec 2019 10:00:01 -0500 Mark Delaney

I don't mean to alarm you, but a new year is upon us. While you gather your best New Year's resolutions and finish up any shopping you may need to do for the holidays, it's time to peek ahead at what kind of presents the gaming industry may give us in 2020.

After a summer of conventions and expos and plenty of awesome looking reveals since, we're ready to share our most anticipated upcoming indie games of 2020. 

From far-off games with assumed launch dates to set-in-stone 2020 arrivals, there's a lot to look forward to. We could've gone on forever with how strong the industry is right now, but we've narrowed it down to 10 indies. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know!

Tunic

Developer: Andrew Shouldice
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2020

Tunic may be familiar to some as it was featured on the Microsoft stage at E3 way back in 2018, which came as a surprise to even the game's developer, Andrew Shouldice.

To his credit, Shouldice corrects the oft-repeated record that he is the only developer. In fact, he says, he's had help with some audio work, but even a two-person team making something like Tunic is exciting.

Tunic plays like an isometric Zelda with a bit of Dark Souls flair thanks to a labyrinthine level design that wraps around itself, some tough enemies, and resting at bonfires. It also features an adorable fox who looks way in over his head. 

Temtem

Developer: CremaGames S.L.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Release Date: January 21, 2020

Whether or not you enjoyed Pokemon Sword and Shield, you need to have Temtem in mind for next year. The game takes all of the beloved foundations of Pokemon but has aspirations to outshine Game Freak's best-seller with some features the former has still failed to introduce.

With a true open-world MMORPG setup, Temtem will allow players to explore, battle, cooperate, and trade with other players all while collecting and leveling up their titular creatures. They'll then take down boss dojos, the game's equivalent to gyms. Could this be the Stardew Valley of creature collectors?

Fall Guys

Developer: Mediatonic
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release Date: TBA 2020

Just when it seemed like the battle royale genre was slowing so soon after it began, along came Fall Guys. The game looks to revitalize things with a colorful and absurd physics-based battle royale that plays more like a Japanese game show.

One look at the trailer tells you all you need to know about Fall Guys, but we mean that in a good way. One hundred players start out by running through an obstacle course that's constantly shifting below their feet, and only one will win. Can you survive next year's most ridiculous round of Ultimate Knockout? 

12 Minutes

Developer: Luis Antonio
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2020

12 Minutes dazzled when it was shown on stage at E3 2019, and knowing it comes from Annapurna signals to us that we can probably expect another solid game from the publisher who has a keen eye for quality. 

12 Minutes will be the latest in a recent string of timeloop games, but it doesn't exactly play like the others. In a top-down view, players will continuously relive the night their home is invaded and their wife is killed. Why it's happening and how to stop it seem like just the tip of the iceberg of this mysterious thriller, and we can't wait to unravel the rest of it.

Spiritfarer

Developer: Thunder Lotus Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Release Date: TBA 2020

Spiritfarer is unforgettably advertised as "a cozy management sim about dying," which may lead you to ask, "what's so cozy about dying?". But that's precisely what has us excited for Thunder Lotus' latest hand-drawn adventure.

The game's premise seems to take an adult and cathartic view of death as players steer a ship in the afterlife, transporting the dead to their destinations. It's exactly the kind of concept that would only be made by an indie studio. It stands as a testament to the industry's growth that we can now enjoy something with a concept so esoteric and niche.

The Outlast Trials

Developer: Red Barrels
Platforms: TBA
Release Date: TBA 2020

We don't know much about The Outlast Trials yet, so much so that there isn't even a trailer to see, as it was just announced days ago. But what we do know is it's another Outlast game from Red Barrels — an already exciting proposition — but this one comes with a twist.

Four-player multiplayer is coming to the series for the first time ever, and though the reveal uses the word "cooperate," something about this series and the key art tells us we should instead maybe expect a social engineering element. Perhaps we'll be playing out scenes that would fit into SAW, where survivors have to risk saving themselves at others' expenses.

Time will tell if our hunch is right, but even if we're off base, a new Outlast is only a good thing.

Atomic Heart

Developer: Mudfish
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2020

Give a game some BioShock comparisons and it'll pick up steam in a hurry. That's the case with Atomic Heart, whose only issue has been radio silence since its reveal. 

The trailer depicts some sort of Russian post-apocalypse where players will battle with monsters both mechanical and fleshy. It even stars the iconic wrench as a melee weapon, so let there be no mistake what Mudfish is going for with this one.

Coming up on a year since we got a fresh glimpse at Atomic Heart, we're hoping to hear more on the game soon. As of now, there's no reason to think we won't. 

Way to the Woods

Developer: Anthony Tan
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Release Date: TBA 2020

What 2018 did for Tunic, 2019 did for Way to the Woods. By that we mean it was a surprise featured game on stage at the Xbox E3 presser, and it turned a lot of heads. Whereas Tunic stars a fox, Way to the Woods stars two deer.

We love the look of this one because it may deliver some well-timed commentary on human impact on the environment. The pair of deer explore a post-human world, but we don't know why that is yet. Might this be a story of the planet's resiliency after brushing off its greatest polluters? It could be, and that's a point we need more games to make in the years to come. 

Ooblets

Developer: Glumberland
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2020

No most-anticipated list is complete without Ooblets, the oft-delayed controversy-courting mash-up of all things wholesome and cute. With a bit of Animal Crossing mixed with some Pokemon and a dash of Adventure Time, Ooblets is not the direct take on creature collectors like Temtem is.

Instead, Ooblets combines life sim activities like farming with the creature collecting of Pokemon to give players the most Nintendo game Nintendo never made. It also apparently features trippy dance battles, as you can see in the above trailer. We're sold.

Table Manners

Developer: Echo Chamber Games
Platforms: PC
Release Date: Q1 2020

Just revealed weeks ago, Table Manners is our favorite indie VR game to look forward to in 2020. While Half-Life: Alyx allegedly pulls the platform away from the edge of irrelevance, it's the quirkiness of stuff like Table Manners that fills the platform's believers with both joy and hope.

Table Manners is a dating sim like no other. Using VR controls, you're tasked with having successful dates while trying to navigate a crowded dinner table full of opportunities to break, spill, and spoil the evening while your date looks on. Can you win their affection, or merely stain their shirt? Check, please! 

For more of the most anticipated games of 2020, be sure to head over to the lists below: 

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E3 2019 Microsoft Press Conference Recap: Team Xbox Unveils Project Scarlett and a Whole Lot of Game Pass https://www.gameskinny.com/9eg1g/e3-2019-microsoft-press-conference-recap-team-xbox-unveils-project-scarlett-and-a-whole-lot-of-game-pass https://www.gameskinny.com/9eg1g/e3-2019-microsoft-press-conference-recap-team-xbox-unveils-project-scarlett-and-a-whole-lot-of-game-pass Sun, 09 Jun 2019 20:47:53 -0400 Mark Delaney

Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference just wrapped after nearly two hours of new trailers for games like Gears 5 and Halo Infinite, world premieres for games like Miyazaki and Martin's collaborative Elden Ring, and more than a little bit of info on the next Xbox, which is now officially being referred to as "Project Scarlett," after rumors have long suggested so.

If you missed the whole show or maybe just bits and pieces of it in your excitement we've recapped every moment, every reveal, and every trailer into this handy round-up. Of course, if you'd rather watch it all from start to finish yourself, that's fine too. Check that out below!

If you want to take it bit by bit with us, here's literally everything Microsoft announced at E3 2019.

The Outer Worlds

The Xbox presser kicked off with the next game from one of their new first-party studios, Obsidian Entertainment. While the space RPG The Outer Worlds isn't being published by Microsoft — it was already in development from 2K's Private Division label before the 2018 acquisition it will still be premiering in Xbox Game Pass at launch, the same as so many more games to come in this roundup, as you'll see.

The trailer avoids the game's cynical humor for the most part and depicts a more serious version of the capitalist hellhole the game was made famous for when it debuted last December. You can look forward to playing the game on October 25.

Bleeding Edge

Following quickly from The Outer Worlds, two of Ninja Theory's developers came to the stage to introduce their next game, Bleeding Edge. If you think of a melee-focused Overwatch, you're not far off. The game was in development before Microsoft came calling with big wads of cash, so the June 27 technical alpha may seem like a quick turnaround, but really this has been their project for a few years already.

Bleeding Edge pits two teams of four into maps that seem conducive to many playstyles, which should benefit players no matter which of the many teased heroes from the new trailer above. Like The Outer Worlds, it'll launch directly into Game Pass at an unannounced date.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Before we had even seen Phil Spencer hit the stage, a third Xbox Game Studios project came to the stage. The Ori sequel delivered a new trailer that showed off a ton of new environments and several enemy types that are hopefully bosses otherwise, Ori may be vastly unprepared if these behemoths are to be commonplace.

It launches on February 11, 2020 -- and yes, directly into Game Pass too.

Minecraft Dungeons

One of two new games in the Minecraft universe coming soon (though the only one shown on stage at the presser), Minecraft Dungeons' trailer highlighted brand new gameplay moments, including character loadouts, combat, and four-player co-op, which can be played either locally or online. It didn't get a firm release date but it did get a window of spring 2020.

I bet you can guess whether it's coming to Game Pass day and date with retail. If you're really stuck, here's a spoiler: it is.

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order

As promised, Jedi: Fallen Order made its second appearance in as many days on a pre-E3 stage. This time, new gameplay segments were shown off in the trailer on Xbox's stage, including more interaction with a familiar character from the film's universe. Remember, the game is officially canon now. Take that, Force Unleashed! 

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order arrives this year on November 15.

Blair Witch

After the power fantasy of Star Wars concluded, it was time to flip game mechanics on their head with a horror game that leaves you almost completely helpless.

What looked a bit like Outlast 3 at first was soon revealed to be Blair Witch, a first-person horror adventure from Bloober Team, the same studio behind recent horror games Observer and Layers of Fear.

Though it's not a first-party title, Blair Witch will be coming directly to Xbox Game Pass on August 30.

Cyberpunk 2077

After last year's exciting stinger, CD Projekt Red returned to the Xbox stage and they brought John Wick with them. Well, sort of. Revealed at the end of the trailer above, Keanu Reeves is portraying a character in the much-anticipated cyberpunk title.

He took to the stage to reveal the game's release date too. Despite what we heard about the game being too powerful for current generation consoles, Cyberpunk 2077 hits next spring, April 16, 2020, on all the platforms you'd expect.

Spiritfarer

Yet another Game Pass-at-launch title is this indie, Spiritfarer, which bills itself as a "cozy management game about dying." Well, okay then. Seems like a strange, almost contradictory setup, but I bet that's the point. get comfy with losing your loved ones, folks. This is going to be cathartic.

No release date was given yet, but the trailer does offer some cool gameplay detailing how you can customize your boathouse together with your everpresent cat companion.

Battletoads

"Do you have Battletoads?" Yes, and so will Game Pass at launch. The revived brawler from yesteryear only got a teaser last year and didn't show us any gameplay, so this cartoony melee combat is our very first look at what the hokey series can be in a contemporary setting. It feels like a game that knows it's absurd and that's exactly how you'd want it to be.

No release date was given just yet, so maybe keep calling your local game retailer for now.

The Legend of Wright

One of the cool things Microsoft has done a lot lately is make time on their massive stage for some tiny games. Hand-drawn indie The Legend of Wright is another example of that. The shifting aesthetics of the game are glorious and confusing at once. What's going on in this one?

We can't be sure yet, but we'll find out when it launches in 2020.

ID@Xbox Sizzle Reel

Speaking of indies, the annual ID@Xbox sizzle reel was up next and showed off over a dozen games, all of which will be you guessed it coming to Xbox Game Pass on their respective launch dates.

One of them, Riverbond, is even out today. I know because my wife and I spent all of our morning before the show playing it. It's fun! Check out the trailer for the rest of the games.

20+ Game Pass Titles Added Today

I don't know if you've heard by now, but Microsoft has this service called Game Pass...

Yeah, even more Xbox Game Pass titles were announced, all of which came to the service today. Big hitters like Batman: Arkham Knight and Metro Exodus were supplemented by indies like Hollow Knight and Old Man's Journey. Here's the full list of what's new to Game Pass today:

  • ASTRONEER
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Battle Chasers: Nightwar
  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
  • Bridge Constructor Portal
  • Everspace
  • Guacamelee! 2
  • Hollow Knight
  • Lightspeed: Double Speer Edition
  • Metal Slug X
  • Metro Exodus
  • Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
  • Moonlighter
  • Neon Chrome
  • Old Man’s Journey
  • Riptide GP: Renegade
  • Riverbond 
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
  • Shenmue 1&2
  • Silence – The Whispered World 2
  • Smoke and Sacrifice
  • SteamWorld Dig 2
  • Supermarket Shriek 
  • Thimbleweed Park
  • The Turing Test
  • Wizard of Legend

Xbox Game Pass Comes to PC Today, Included in Game Pass Ultimate

As the company revealed last week, Game Pass is coming to PC. In fact, you can join the open beta today. The PC version will feature its own list of "over 100 games by August" including all Xbox Game Studios titles on day one just like its console counterpart. 

Subscribers to Game Pass Ultimate (Game Pass and Games with Gold combined) now also get Game Pass PC included with their $14.99/month subscription. You can also sign up for your first month of Game Pass Ultimate right now for $1.

MS Flight Sim

Coming directly to Game Pass PC, and seemingly consoles for the first time, is the latest edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The ever-popular sim has been a PC staple for years, and the trailer implied it'll be coming to Xbox One as well.

In the time since the trailer was shown, some are saying that's inaccurate, though Microsoft has said no such thing themselves yet.

Age of Empires II Definitive Edition

More surely coming just to PC is Age of Empires II Definitive Edition. You can see the remastered classic in action in this brand new trailer.

I probably don't need to say it again, but lest we forget, it's coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one next year. Who would've guessed it?

Wasteland 3

Another title from a newly acquired studio, Wasteland 3 continues Inxile's tradition of keeping CRPGs alive. This time it's to the cold Rocky Mountains of Colorado, giving an aesthetic makeover to the series.

Tonally, it's probably right where fans want it to be, with a similar humorous cynicism as The Outer Worlds from Obsidian and the previous Wasteland games.

Microsoft Acquires Double Fine Productions

Matt Booty twerked to the stage to reveal yet another Microsoft studio buyout. This time it was Tim Schafer's Double Fine Productions.

The studio famous for games such as Psychonauts and Brutal Legend got to celebrate their new parent company with the first-ever gameplay trailer for the long-awaited Psychonauts 2.

LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga

It was a bit weird when The Force Awakens got a LEGO game but The Last Jedi didn't. Well, now it has, along with every other mainline story in the Star Wars universe. 

The Skywalker Saga depicts all nine films, including the yet to be released Rise of Skywalker in brick and minifig form. It arrives next year, after the final movie in the Abrams run has made a billion dollars.

Dragon Ball Z Kakarot

Once known as Dragon Ball Project Z, the action RPG based on the hugely popular anime series is now Dragon Ball Z Kakarot. 

The combat of Kakarot resembled something closer to the past games in the series rather than last year's 2D fighter, though the label of "action RPG" should mean it's ultimately quite different from anything else in the franchise. It arrives in 2020.

12 Minutes

If I'm allowed to editorialize here (if you're reading this, I am!) 12 Minutes was one of the coolest reveals on stage during the Xbox show. Presented in top-down format, the entire game seems to take place in a small apartment where players control a man stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time loop, only it's one that tends to end much more tragically. 

I won't say anything else on it, as it's so stylish and well done, you should really see it for yourself.

Way to the Woods

Up next was Way to the Woods, an indie about a pair of deer, father and fawn, exploring a world, presumably to return to the woods. It has the air of a game that will be at different times uplifting and tragic, and it has me wondering which note it will end on.

*Gulp*

Stay safe, little deer!

Gears 5

The stage presence for Gears 5 was rumored to be heavy before the show, and it turns out that was correct. It got the longest time on screen of any game, featuring multiple trailers. The first, above, depicts the psychological tormet of new protagonist Kait Diaz. 

The game will be coming to Game Pass at launch on September 10, but you can access it four days early with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription or if you buy the game's Ultimate Edition.

The versus technical test will go live on July 19 during which time players can take part in a new arcade mode. Later this summer, beginning in August, players can regroup for an early look at the game's Horde mode. 

Rod Fergusson also hit the stage to unveil a brand new mode called Escape, which has players infiltrate an enemy encampment, plant a bomb, and escape amid the chaos.

Anyone who pre-orders the game or plays within the first week via purchase or Game Pass will also gain access to a character pack featuring a T-2000 robot from Terminator Dark Fate.

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Rumors of a new controller were loud for weeks and they were proven right on stage. Microsoft unveiled the Elite Series 2 controller, featuring "over 30" new ways to customize your experience, including new trigger sensitivity settings, new wraparound rubberized grip, and game profile settings that you can set for up to three games so each plays how you like it.

You can see all that and more in the tech-heavy trailer above.

Dying Light 2

Following the news that it's going to be published by Square Enix, Dying Light 2 got a new trailer during Microsoft's show which included a release date and some more pondering on how player choice affects the world.

You can play nice, be the bad guy, or (a gaming favorite) exist somewhere in the gray area when it hits stores next spring.

Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions

Another one that was heavily rumored was the Forza DLC featuring LEGO. Right again! An all-brick McLaren Senna was this year's token on-stage vehicle and helped introduce players to Forza Horizon 4's second expansion: LEGO Speed Champions.

If you're a fan of both the game and the toys, it seems likely this partnership will extend to physical playsets in the near future just as it has when Forza teamed up with Hot Wheels.

Gears POP!

Returning to the stage after last year's reveal was Gears POP!, a mobile strategy game which brings together an unlikely pair of properties.

Pre-orders go live "soon" and players can pre-register (pre-pre-order?) the game starting today. 

State of Decay 2

We already knew State of Decay 2 was getting a Return to Trumbull Valley DLC. What we didn't know was it had been reworked or just expanded into the Heartland story DLC, which is out today for $9.99 and a 10% discount if you have Game Pass.

The DLC offers two parallel storylines featuring new characters in both cases. It seems likely their stories will converge, but thankfully we haven't been spoiled yet.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Japan's premiere online MMORPG is coming to Xbox as a free to play title next year. A new trailer highlighted a lot of the tropes we've come to expect from the genre like big hair and bigger swords, so even if you're new to the series, it may feel familiar.

Crossfire X

If you're going to go and get Japan's premiere MMO, why not snag China's premiere shooter too? That's what Team Xbox did with Crossfire X, a rebranding of China's most popular FPS. It's coming to Xbox next year and will launch directly into Game Pass.

They didn't reference it in the show, but this is also the game for which Remedy wrote the story content, so fans of their games may want to take a closer look when it arrives in 2020.

Tales of Arise

A new Tales game is coming, and that would've been a huge reveal if it wasn't for the fact that Bandai's site was scraped earlier this weekend and all their news were leaked.

Still, fans got the full trailer on all its glory. Watch it above if you're ready for another adventure.

Borderlands 3

A new stylish as ever trailer was shown for Gearbox's Borderlands 3 and it introduces the four primary character classes on offer in the third go-around.

What's even better is Gearbox confirmed the leaked Fight for Sanctuary DLC is real, out today, and free in Borderlands 2. The DLC is meant to bridge the gap between the last game and this September's so if you're one of the few in it for the story, this one is for you.

Elden Ring

Perhaps no game would've received bigger applause than this one if it weren't for the aforementioned Bandai Namco leak. The Miyazaki-George RR Martin collaboration, Elden Ring, is real.

No release date was mentioned, but the trailer definitely feels like something spun up from precisely these two creators, which makes for an extremely exciting prospect for fans of either and perhaps a literal dream come true for many who admire both men's work.

Project Scarlett Revealed

Phil Spencer then returned to the stage to discuss the future of Xbox. In the near term, your Xbox One will be updated this October to allow you to stream games completely for the first time ever. 

Speaking farther down the line, Spencer also introduced Project Scarlett, the next-gen Xbox project being built by the same team that created fan favorites such as the Xbox One X, the Elite controller, and more. He stressed it will be a games machine first and foremost, obviously still trying to clear away the smears left by Don Mattrick's failed vision. 

Together with AMD, his team has created a custom processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X. Many of the project leaders are seen in the above trailer mentioning things like 8K resolution and near-total removal of loading screens.

The console will launch at the end of 2020. They chose to not yet confirm if there will really be two versions of the console as other rumors have stated, but we image a reveal event next spring may eventually tell us what's true or false in that regard.

Halo Infinite 

Though it's almost a year and a half away from launch, Project Scarlett has already been given its first launch title reveal, and what else would it be? 

Halo Infinite closed out the Microsoft E3 2019 press conference with an extended cinematic trailer featuring our hero, Master Chief, who awakens from near-death and immediately straps in for the fight. He doesn't waste any time, does he? 

That's everything from Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference. What was your favorite announcement?  

Be sure to check out our other E3 2019 coverage below: 

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E3 2019 Microsoft Press Conference Recap: Team Xbox Unveils Project Scarlett and a Whole Lot of Game Pass https://www.gameskinny.com/9eg1g/e3-2019-microsoft-press-conference-recap-team-xbox-unveils-project-scarlett-and-a-whole-lot-of-game-pass https://www.gameskinny.com/9eg1g/e3-2019-microsoft-press-conference-recap-team-xbox-unveils-project-scarlett-and-a-whole-lot-of-game-pass Sun, 09 Jun 2019 20:47:53 -0400 Mark Delaney

Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference just wrapped after nearly two hours of new trailers for games like Gears 5 and Halo Infinite, world premieres for games like Miyazaki and Martin's collaborative Elden Ring, and more than a little bit of info on the next Xbox, which is now officially being referred to as "Project Scarlett," after rumors have long suggested so.

If you missed the whole show or maybe just bits and pieces of it in your excitement we've recapped every moment, every reveal, and every trailer into this handy round-up. Of course, if you'd rather watch it all from start to finish yourself, that's fine too. Check that out below!

If you want to take it bit by bit with us, here's literally everything Microsoft announced at E3 2019.

The Outer Worlds

The Xbox presser kicked off with the next game from one of their new first-party studios, Obsidian Entertainment. While the space RPG The Outer Worlds isn't being published by Microsoft — it was already in development from 2K's Private Division label before the 2018 acquisition it will still be premiering in Xbox Game Pass at launch, the same as so many more games to come in this roundup, as you'll see.

The trailer avoids the game's cynical humor for the most part and depicts a more serious version of the capitalist hellhole the game was made famous for when it debuted last December. You can look forward to playing the game on October 25.

Bleeding Edge

Following quickly from The Outer Worlds, two of Ninja Theory's developers came to the stage to introduce their next game, Bleeding Edge. If you think of a melee-focused Overwatch, you're not far off. The game was in development before Microsoft came calling with big wads of cash, so the June 27 technical alpha may seem like a quick turnaround, but really this has been their project for a few years already.

Bleeding Edge pits two teams of four into maps that seem conducive to many playstyles, which should benefit players no matter which of the many teased heroes from the new trailer above. Like The Outer Worlds, it'll launch directly into Game Pass at an unannounced date.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Before we had even seen Phil Spencer hit the stage, a third Xbox Game Studios project came to the stage. The Ori sequel delivered a new trailer that showed off a ton of new environments and several enemy types that are hopefully bosses otherwise, Ori may be vastly unprepared if these behemoths are to be commonplace.

It launches on February 11, 2020 -- and yes, directly into Game Pass too.

Minecraft Dungeons

One of two new games in the Minecraft universe coming soon (though the only one shown on stage at the presser), Minecraft Dungeons' trailer highlighted brand new gameplay moments, including character loadouts, combat, and four-player co-op, which can be played either locally or online. It didn't get a firm release date but it did get a window of spring 2020.

I bet you can guess whether it's coming to Game Pass day and date with retail. If you're really stuck, here's a spoiler: it is.

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order

As promised, Jedi: Fallen Order made its second appearance in as many days on a pre-E3 stage. This time, new gameplay segments were shown off in the trailer on Xbox's stage, including more interaction with a familiar character from the film's universe. Remember, the game is officially canon now. Take that, Force Unleashed! 

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order arrives this year on November 15.

Blair Witch

After the power fantasy of Star Wars concluded, it was time to flip game mechanics on their head with a horror game that leaves you almost completely helpless.

What looked a bit like Outlast 3 at first was soon revealed to be Blair Witch, a first-person horror adventure from Bloober Team, the same studio behind recent horror games Observer and Layers of Fear.

Though it's not a first-party title, Blair Witch will be coming directly to Xbox Game Pass on August 30.

Cyberpunk 2077

After last year's exciting stinger, CD Projekt Red returned to the Xbox stage and they brought John Wick with them. Well, sort of. Revealed at the end of the trailer above, Keanu Reeves is portraying a character in the much-anticipated cyberpunk title.

He took to the stage to reveal the game's release date too. Despite what we heard about the game being too powerful for current generation consoles, Cyberpunk 2077 hits next spring, April 16, 2020, on all the platforms you'd expect.

Spiritfarer

Yet another Game Pass-at-launch title is this indie, Spiritfarer, which bills itself as a "cozy management game about dying." Well, okay then. Seems like a strange, almost contradictory setup, but I bet that's the point. get comfy with losing your loved ones, folks. This is going to be cathartic.

No release date was given yet, but the trailer does offer some cool gameplay detailing how you can customize your boathouse together with your everpresent cat companion.

Battletoads

"Do you have Battletoads?" Yes, and so will Game Pass at launch. The revived brawler from yesteryear only got a teaser last year and didn't show us any gameplay, so this cartoony melee combat is our very first look at what the hokey series can be in a contemporary setting. It feels like a game that knows it's absurd and that's exactly how you'd want it to be.

No release date was given just yet, so maybe keep calling your local game retailer for now.

The Legend of Wright

One of the cool things Microsoft has done a lot lately is make time on their massive stage for some tiny games. Hand-drawn indie The Legend of Wright is another example of that. The shifting aesthetics of the game are glorious and confusing at once. What's going on in this one?

We can't be sure yet, but we'll find out when it launches in 2020.

ID@Xbox Sizzle Reel

Speaking of indies, the annual ID@Xbox sizzle reel was up next and showed off over a dozen games, all of which will be you guessed it coming to Xbox Game Pass on their respective launch dates.

One of them, Riverbond, is even out today. I know because my wife and I spent all of our morning before the show playing it. It's fun! Check out the trailer for the rest of the games.

20+ Game Pass Titles Added Today

I don't know if you've heard by now, but Microsoft has this service called Game Pass...

Yeah, even more Xbox Game Pass titles were announced, all of which came to the service today. Big hitters like Batman: Arkham Knight and Metro Exodus were supplemented by indies like Hollow Knight and Old Man's Journey. Here's the full list of what's new to Game Pass today:

  • ASTRONEER
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Battle Chasers: Nightwar
  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
  • Bridge Constructor Portal
  • Everspace
  • Guacamelee! 2
  • Hollow Knight
  • Lightspeed: Double Speer Edition
  • Metal Slug X
  • Metro Exodus
  • Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
  • Moonlighter
  • Neon Chrome
  • Old Man’s Journey
  • Riptide GP: Renegade
  • Riverbond 
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
  • Shenmue 1&2
  • Silence – The Whispered World 2
  • Smoke and Sacrifice
  • SteamWorld Dig 2
  • Supermarket Shriek 
  • Thimbleweed Park
  • The Turing Test
  • Wizard of Legend

Xbox Game Pass Comes to PC Today, Included in Game Pass Ultimate

As the company revealed last week, Game Pass is coming to PC. In fact, you can join the open beta today. The PC version will feature its own list of "over 100 games by August" including all Xbox Game Studios titles on day one just like its console counterpart. 

Subscribers to Game Pass Ultimate (Game Pass and Games with Gold combined) now also get Game Pass PC included with their $14.99/month subscription. You can also sign up for your first month of Game Pass Ultimate right now for $1.

MS Flight Sim

Coming directly to Game Pass PC, and seemingly consoles for the first time, is the latest edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The ever-popular sim has been a PC staple for years, and the trailer implied it'll be coming to Xbox One as well.

In the time since the trailer was shown, some are saying that's inaccurate, though Microsoft has said no such thing themselves yet.

Age of Empires II Definitive Edition

More surely coming just to PC is Age of Empires II Definitive Edition. You can see the remastered classic in action in this brand new trailer.

I probably don't need to say it again, but lest we forget, it's coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one next year. Who would've guessed it?

Wasteland 3

Another title from a newly acquired studio, Wasteland 3 continues Inxile's tradition of keeping CRPGs alive. This time it's to the cold Rocky Mountains of Colorado, giving an aesthetic makeover to the series.

Tonally, it's probably right where fans want it to be, with a similar humorous cynicism as The Outer Worlds from Obsidian and the previous Wasteland games.

Microsoft Acquires Double Fine Productions

Matt Booty twerked to the stage to reveal yet another Microsoft studio buyout. This time it was Tim Schafer's Double Fine Productions.

The studio famous for games such as Psychonauts and Brutal Legend got to celebrate their new parent company with the first-ever gameplay trailer for the long-awaited Psychonauts 2.

LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga

It was a bit weird when The Force Awakens got a LEGO game but The Last Jedi didn't. Well, now it has, along with every other mainline story in the Star Wars universe. 

The Skywalker Saga depicts all nine films, including the yet to be released Rise of Skywalker in brick and minifig form. It arrives next year, after the final movie in the Abrams run has made a billion dollars.

Dragon Ball Z Kakarot

Once known as Dragon Ball Project Z, the action RPG based on the hugely popular anime series is now Dragon Ball Z Kakarot. 

The combat of Kakarot resembled something closer to the past games in the series rather than last year's 2D fighter, though the label of "action RPG" should mean it's ultimately quite different from anything else in the franchise. It arrives in 2020.

12 Minutes

If I'm allowed to editorialize here (if you're reading this, I am!) 12 Minutes was one of the coolest reveals on stage during the Xbox show. Presented in top-down format, the entire game seems to take place in a small apartment where players control a man stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time loop, only it's one that tends to end much more tragically. 

I won't say anything else on it, as it's so stylish and well done, you should really see it for yourself.

Way to the Woods

Up next was Way to the Woods, an indie about a pair of deer, father and fawn, exploring a world, presumably to return to the woods. It has the air of a game that will be at different times uplifting and tragic, and it has me wondering which note it will end on.

*Gulp*

Stay safe, little deer!

Gears 5

The stage presence for Gears 5 was rumored to be heavy before the show, and it turns out that was correct. It got the longest time on screen of any game, featuring multiple trailers. The first, above, depicts the psychological tormet of new protagonist Kait Diaz. 

The game will be coming to Game Pass at launch on September 10, but you can access it four days early with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription or if you buy the game's Ultimate Edition.

The versus technical test will go live on July 19 during which time players can take part in a new arcade mode. Later this summer, beginning in August, players can regroup for an early look at the game's Horde mode. 

Rod Fergusson also hit the stage to unveil a brand new mode called Escape, which has players infiltrate an enemy encampment, plant a bomb, and escape amid the chaos.

Anyone who pre-orders the game or plays within the first week via purchase or Game Pass will also gain access to a character pack featuring a T-2000 robot from Terminator Dark Fate.

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Rumors of a new controller were loud for weeks and they were proven right on stage. Microsoft unveiled the Elite Series 2 controller, featuring "over 30" new ways to customize your experience, including new trigger sensitivity settings, new wraparound rubberized grip, and game profile settings that you can set for up to three games so each plays how you like it.

You can see all that and more in the tech-heavy trailer above.

Dying Light 2

Following the news that it's going to be published by Square Enix, Dying Light 2 got a new trailer during Microsoft's show which included a release date and some more pondering on how player choice affects the world.

You can play nice, be the bad guy, or (a gaming favorite) exist somewhere in the gray area when it hits stores next spring.

Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions

Another one that was heavily rumored was the Forza DLC featuring LEGO. Right again! An all-brick McLaren Senna was this year's token on-stage vehicle and helped introduce players to Forza Horizon 4's second expansion: LEGO Speed Champions.

If you're a fan of both the game and the toys, it seems likely this partnership will extend to physical playsets in the near future just as it has when Forza teamed up with Hot Wheels.

Gears POP!

Returning to the stage after last year's reveal was Gears POP!, a mobile strategy game which brings together an unlikely pair of properties.

Pre-orders go live "soon" and players can pre-register (pre-pre-order?) the game starting today. 

State of Decay 2

We already knew State of Decay 2 was getting a Return to Trumbull Valley DLC. What we didn't know was it had been reworked or just expanded into the Heartland story DLC, which is out today for $9.99 and a 10% discount if you have Game Pass.

The DLC offers two parallel storylines featuring new characters in both cases. It seems likely their stories will converge, but thankfully we haven't been spoiled yet.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Japan's premiere online MMORPG is coming to Xbox as a free to play title next year. A new trailer highlighted a lot of the tropes we've come to expect from the genre like big hair and bigger swords, so even if you're new to the series, it may feel familiar.

Crossfire X

If you're going to go and get Japan's premiere MMO, why not snag China's premiere shooter too? That's what Team Xbox did with Crossfire X, a rebranding of China's most popular FPS. It's coming to Xbox next year and will launch directly into Game Pass.

They didn't reference it in the show, but this is also the game for which Remedy wrote the story content, so fans of their games may want to take a closer look when it arrives in 2020.

Tales of Arise

A new Tales game is coming, and that would've been a huge reveal if it wasn't for the fact that Bandai's site was scraped earlier this weekend and all their news were leaked.

Still, fans got the full trailer on all its glory. Watch it above if you're ready for another adventure.

Borderlands 3

A new stylish as ever trailer was shown for Gearbox's Borderlands 3 and it introduces the four primary character classes on offer in the third go-around.

What's even better is Gearbox confirmed the leaked Fight for Sanctuary DLC is real, out today, and free in Borderlands 2. The DLC is meant to bridge the gap between the last game and this September's so if you're one of the few in it for the story, this one is for you.

Elden Ring

Perhaps no game would've received bigger applause than this one if it weren't for the aforementioned Bandai Namco leak. The Miyazaki-George RR Martin collaboration, Elden Ring, is real.

No release date was mentioned, but the trailer definitely feels like something spun up from precisely these two creators, which makes for an extremely exciting prospect for fans of either and perhaps a literal dream come true for many who admire both men's work.

Project Scarlett Revealed

Phil Spencer then returned to the stage to discuss the future of Xbox. In the near term, your Xbox One will be updated this October to allow you to stream games completely for the first time ever. 

Speaking farther down the line, Spencer also introduced Project Scarlett, the next-gen Xbox project being built by the same team that created fan favorites such as the Xbox One X, the Elite controller, and more. He stressed it will be a games machine first and foremost, obviously still trying to clear away the smears left by Don Mattrick's failed vision. 

Together with AMD, his team has created a custom processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X. Many of the project leaders are seen in the above trailer mentioning things like 8K resolution and near-total removal of loading screens.

The console will launch at the end of 2020. They chose to not yet confirm if there will really be two versions of the console as other rumors have stated, but we image a reveal event next spring may eventually tell us what's true or false in that regard.

Halo Infinite 

Though it's almost a year and a half away from launch, Project Scarlett has already been given its first launch title reveal, and what else would it be? 

Halo Infinite closed out the Microsoft E3 2019 press conference with an extended cinematic trailer featuring our hero, Master Chief, who awakens from near-death and immediately straps in for the fight. He doesn't waste any time, does he? 

That's everything from Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference. What was your favorite announcement?  

Be sure to check out our other E3 2019 coverage below: 

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