“You're on your own. No one to come for you. No one to help you. No one to hear you scream. Slender: The Arrival is the official video game adaptation of Slender Man, re-created from Mark Hadley's original nerve-shattering sensation. Developed by Blue Isle Studios, The Arrival features a brand new storyline, improved visuals, great replay value, and most importantly, survival horror at its best.”
Continuing the trend of Canadian games being ported to Switch, Blue Isle Studios have announced their first person adventure game Valley is hitting the Nintendo Switch next month on March 7th. Valley was originally released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2016, and we did a small interview with the games composer which you can check out here.
Valley is a First-Person adventure unlike any other. Hidden deep within a remote region of the Rocky Mountains, you find yourself bewildered within a secluded valley. With the power of a recently discovered L.E.A.F. suit (Leap Effortlessly though Air Functionality), run and jump your way through beautiful forests, dangerous ruins and vast environments; all the while utilizing the power to control life and death to uncover the startling secrets of the mysterious valley.
Teased earlier in the week, Blue Isle Studios formally announced their next game - Citadel: Forged with Fire. The game looks like a combination of Skyrim with some Harry Potter wand magic you'll play as a "newly minted apprentice of the magic arts" and will have complete freedom to shape their own destiny.
You can check out the trailer below, and head over to the Steam page to check it out. The game will hit Early Access on July 26th with a full release planned for early 2018.
It hasn't been a year since Valley came out, but Blue Isle Studios will be revealing their next game this Wednesday live on Facebook. The link takes us to a Facebook page for Citadel: Forged with Fire - what all of this means we'll have to wait until Wednesday. We'll have it here on TorontoGameDevs.com as well.
A few months ago, I was reached out by Aakaash Rao, the composer for Valley from Blue Isle Studios, asking about an interview. I really dug the soundtrack in Valley so I of course said yes! You can check out the interview below, and a lot of Aakaash's work can be found right here.
TorontoGameDevs.com: Thanks for doing the interview! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What your role was in creating Valley?
Aakaash: Thanks for reaching out! I’m a game composer based jointly in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Chicago, and I had the privilege to compose the soundtrack for Blue Isle Studios’ Valley.
TorontoGameDevs.com: How long have you been creating music? What other games or projects have you worked on?
Aakaash: I’ve been composing ever since I learned to play piano as a child, but I only got into games a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve worked on several PC, console, and mobile titles — I particularly enjoy writing story-driven soundtracks for RPGs. One of my larger project, a voxel-based sandbox called Planet Explorers, came out late last year.
TorontoGameDevs.com: What was the design process like for Valley? Did you have free range to create the music you thought would fit the mood, or was there specific notes from different members of the team?
In general, I had a lot of creative freedom. One thing I really appreciated about working with Blue Isle is that I had a working build of the game almost from day one — which happens a lot less often than you might think. The game itself was a fantastic source of inspiration, and I’d often hit upon ideas while exploring the landscape or leaping around in the L.E.A.F. suit.
That said, the other two members of the audio team (Brenden, the audio and technical director and Selcuk, the SFX designer) definitely gave me plenty of input through the process. I’ve worked with a lot of big audio teams in the past, and I think there’s definitely a “too many cooks spoil the stew” effect when too many people get involved in the music, but Selcuk and Brenden did a great job of balancing their own visions for the game’s soundtrack with my ideas. The live musicians with whom I worked also gave me some very helpful input, particularly in regards to using world instruments with which I was not familiar.
TorontoGameDevs.com: There's a lot going on in Valley. There are open world elements within forested areas, buildings, underground mines, etc. You get to move really fast, and jump extremely far as you traverse this world, but there is a lot of historical pieces from the 40s told to the player while they are playing. How did this contribute to the overall soundtrack for the game?
One of the biggest challenges in tackling projects of this scope is balancing variety with cohesiveness. You don’t want to bore the player by repeating the same motifs over and over, but you also don't want a complete musical disconnect between the themes associated with different areas. For example, I made a conscious choice to write sweeping orchestral music for the outdoor areas and more distorted, electronic music for the darker indoor environments, but I approached the indoor areas with a mindset of muting and warping the outdoor style rather than selecting a whole different musical palette. Amrita, the theme for the final level and one of my favorite pieces from the soundtrack, blends pads and electronic sounds with some warped live flute.
There’s a lot of subtle melodic and textural motifs weaved into the soundtrack, so the idea is that they help weave the disparate elements together. This is probably more of a subconscious phenomenon — I doubt that most people are listening intently to recognize the musical motifs as the play the game — but I think it does contribute to the player’s immersion. This is most important at the end of the game, where the final track states outright a lot of the themes that previous pieces have been hinting at. As I’m sure your readers who have finished the game can attest, the ending of the game is definitely a cathartic experience, so I hope that the final piece reflects and amplifies the feeling of cleaning and completion.
TorontoGameDevs.com: In your mind, what game excels with its soundtrack?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Nobuo Uematsu’s work on the early Final Fantasy. These were some of the first games I played, so there’s an element of nostalgia, but I still think it’s absolutely incredible how much emotion he was able to convey under the console’s technical constraints. Arnie Roth’s Distant Worlds albums include some fantastic orchestrations of Uematsu’s work. More recently, I’ve also really enjoyed Austin Wintory’s Journey and Gareth Coker’s Ori and the Blind Forest.
TorontoGameDevs.com: Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers? What can we look forward to next?
As I mentioned, Planet Explorers came out last year. I’m also currently working on a strategy RPG called Liege, which is a dark, strategy-driven RPG somewhere between Fire Emblem and A Song of Ice and Fire. Now that I’m done with Valley and Planet Explorers, though, I’m keeping my eye out for interesting new projects — I’d love to do a more intimate soundtrack for an RPG or puzzle game.
Blue Isle Studio has released a new extended trailer for Valley, which is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Originally announced for summer - we now know the first person shooter will be coming out August 24th.
"Valley is a First-Person adventure unlike any other. Hidden deep within a remote region of the Rocky Mountains, you find yourself bewildered within a secluded valley. With the power of a recently discovered L.E.A.F. suit (Leap Effortlessly though Air Functionality), run and jump your way through beautiful forests, dangerous ruins and vast environments; all the while utilizing the power to control life and death to uncover the startling secrets of the mysterious valley"
Valley, the first person adventure game from Blue Isle Entertainment was announced last April, and some new footage has surfaced. Garrett Marks took the PlayStation Blog to talk about the game, which is coming this Summer to PlayStation 4, and PC.
"As you’ll see in the video, intrepid players can do some truly incredible things as they seek to further uncover the mysteries of the valley: give life to dying trees and animals; leap the distance of an entire football field; swing through a Pathfinder training forest of ginormous trees; and even defend oneself against some mysterious enemies. These are just some of the many awesome things you’ll be able to do as you explore the ancient depths of the valley, all the while keeping both it and yourself alive."
Hopefully we'll see more of the game at E3, but until then make sure to follow the studio on Twitter.