Heaven’s Vault is releasing on PlayStation 4 next year from indie studio inkle, so I got in touch with the team to talk a bit about the game’s development.
PS4Blog: Hi! Welcome to PS4Blog.net. Could you please help us get started by introducing yourself to our readers?
We’re inkle, a small indie studio from the UK, best known for making massively adaptive narrative games like 80 Days and Sorcery!, where everything you do in the game can affect the storyline.
PS4B: Heaven’s Vault is set to release on PS4 this year. How would you describe the game to someone who’s never heard about it?
Heaven’s Vault is an open world archaeological science-fiction adventure. That’s a lot of things! The player can freely explore a massive Nebula in space, finding lost ruins, uncovering ancient artifacts, and translating an entire ancient symbolic language that we’ve created for the game.
It’s a story-based game, but it’s all about freedom – explore where you like, in whatever order you like, in full a 3D world. It’s an adventure game where you’ll never get stuck, but that doesn’t mean you won’t miss chances if you’re not paying attention.
And the translation puzzle is pretty unique: as you find inscriptions, you’ll have to intuit what they say, but the translation you choose feed back into the narrative directly – and they might not have been correct…
PS4B: When did the team start working on the game? Have there been any changes in particular to the game’s overall theme or setting during development?
Heaven’s Vault started as an idea about three years ago. We wanted to make something really beautiful – something with real 3D worlds to explore – but we also wanted really expressive characters, and a really tight storyline. That led us to our idea of 2D art embedded in a 3D world, because 2D characters can have a lot more personality.
It took a little while to settle on the theme of the game – but once we hit on “space archaeology” we knew it was the right fit. It’s the right blend of discovery and exploration: Heaven’s Vault is a gigantic mystery story, to be unearthed piece by piece.
PS4B: On average, how many hours will it take someone to play the whole game from start to finish?
It’s hard to pin down exactly how long the game is, because the storyline can branch and adapt wildly based on where you go, what you find, and what translations you create.
Still, we reckon it’ll be anywhere between 12 and 20 hours long.
PS4B: And that’s all the time we have today. Would you like to add anything before we go?
If you’ve played 80 Days, you’ll know we’re not kidding when we say our games really do have adaptive storylines that remember everything you do, but if you haven’t played any of our previous stuff – we think you’re going to be surprised by Heaven’s Vault.