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News Game Dev Kena: Bridge of Spirits is fusing AAA production value with endless indie charm for a jaw-dropping PlayStation adventure. (GAMESRADAR+)

May 8, 2020
Source: https://www.gamesradar.com/uk/kena-...arm-for-a-jaw-dropping-playstation-adventure/

On Graphics and animation:
Speaking to our sister publication Official PlayStation Magazine, Ember Lab founders Mike and Josh Grier explain that, for them, the industry's growing obsession with motion capture and photorealism simply wasn't the right fit for their vision of a truly handcrafted experience.

"Using keyframe animation gives us the flexibility to add extra personality to the stylised character we've developed," says Josh. "We invest extra time into the character face rigs so we can add the subtleties of emotion and expression to their performances." Mike concurs, adding that the style "also gives us the opportunity to develop dynamic gameplay animations. Even though Kena's movement is fantastical, we try to give all of her actions and attacks weight and keep the character controller feeling really tight and responsive."
Cultural influence/source of inspiration:
But while Kena: Bridge of Spirits is undoubtedly another piece of interactive eye candy for players to put their new PS5 through its paces, it's the influences behind that visual style which are arguably even more inspired. Chronicling the adventures of a young spirit guide who leads souls from one realm to the next, Ember Lab's timed console exclusive draws heavily from Balinese cultures to define its world, characters, and even its music.

"The influence of south-east Asian cultures on Kena can not be overstated," Josh continues. "However, our understanding and exposure to Balinese culture came only after we began collaborating with the Çudamani group. Our composer, Jason [Gallaty], reached out to Gamelan Çudamani with the hope of incorporating their musical style and traditional instruments into the soundtrack. Jason spent a lot of time working with the Çudamani team to build a collaboration that would bring their sound into the game in a respectful way. Through that collaboration we discovered the incredible Balinese culture included similarities with the game's core concept: helping trapped and struggling spirits move on. Music is an important part of this process in Balinese culture and the collaboration with Çudamani helped us build that out in an authentic way."
On character struggle:
Despite its immediate aesthetic charm, however, don't expect Kena to be a breezy walk in the woods.....

"Kena needs help herself a little bit too," says Mike. "We expose that weakness in her and she goes through a change. The idea of being a spirit is that you have to help these spirits one hundred percent, you have to be fully selfless. But if you're holding onto something yourself then it can hold you back, and that's what comes to the head when you confront some of the more challenging spirits."
Weapons and Dualsense support:
Equally, Kena's core gameplay will be as much a test of mystical might as it is a whistle stop tour of Ember Lab's wonderfully realised universe. In order to help spirits let go of unfinished business with the past, Kena will have to tackle manifestations of their corruption, using a staff-bow hybrid to deploy devastating combo attacks against a number of animalistic bosses throughout the campaign. Mike reveals that Ember has been experimenting with the DualSense's haptic feedback technology to make Kena's combat feel even snappier on PS5, utilising the adaptive triggers to "incentivise tactical, thought-out, fully drawn arrow shots" in ranged combat.

"You have a little bit of resistance on the right trigger that tightens as you fully draw," continues Mike. "When you do have the string fully drawn the bow has more power and more accuracy, and you'll feel that tension in the trigger as you pull back."
On Puzzles and the nature of the game lending itself to episodic expansions... (seems the structure is based on spirits faced within the world aka bosses).
Those aforementioned Rot sprites will also be on hand to help Kena out across Bridge of Spirit's range of puzzles and combat encounters, with hundreds of individually rendered Rots capable of appearing on screen at once, including those you may have customised with special items or outfits. Frankly, we think they're endearing enough to warrant their own spin-off trilogy, but Ember Lab is instead thinking about where it can take Kena's story next. "The loop we've established where you're helping these spirits and each one has a story loop – that works really well as an episodic structure," teases Josh. "There're definitely opportunities for additional spirits that we couldn't get into this game that would have additional loops you could go on to open up in the game."

More to be found in the latest official PlayStation UK Magazine release. Apparently they played a demo slice.
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Nov 9, 2020
This game gives me strong Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes. Fuck, they need to make a game based on that IP. It's a shame that this is a shorter game, personally.


The nicest person on this forum
Mar 22, 2017
Kena, Monster Hunter Rise and Balan Wonderworld are my most look forward game this March. Now hoping Kena also gets a demo like Rise and Balan got.


reposts tweets from kids about console wars
Mar 16, 2020
has this game even had a real raw gameplay demo shown?
May 8, 2020
has this game even had a real raw gameplay demo shown?
Only to journalists I believe.

Recalling the heyday of PS1 mixed with classic Rare influences and PS5 tech, Kena: Bridge Of Spirits impresses. In our gameplay demo we get to see new levels, boss fights, and a tease of what the Rot really is as we see new power The Clump in action.
EmberLab's co-founder Josh Grier tells us this issue: "The Clump hints at their previous form. Its body will evolve and retake the shape of the actual Rot when they come together," explains Grier in issue 184 of Official PlayStation Magazine.
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Jan 9, 2021
I can’t wait for this game I wonder how long it’s going to be. I’m looking for a short game after recently finishing ac Valhalla and cyberpunk 2077


We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space
May 31, 2018
Leeds, UK
Can't be overstated how impressive those visuals are. Hyperrealism isn't everything. Just hope the gameplay is good enough to back it up, but it's still a day one for me.
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Apr 20, 2019
There are a bits of gameplay in the reveal vid, mainly the combat.
Only a little bit of dodge and counter, mostly walking simulator moments.

It's been clear at this point what their priorities are.


Oct 18, 2018
It's surely charming.
But we still need to see the final product, before the last word.


Aug 29, 2014
This game received too much hype. We barely have seen any gameplay. I honestly feel like this game is going to get drowned with a whole bunch of negativity when it releases that the visuals will be pretty much overlooked because of it.


We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space
May 31, 2018
Leeds, UK
It looks really good but until I see raw gameplay I won't be picking this up.

Combat looks serviceable - nothing outstanding, your usual hack and slash, dive roll, parry, shoot bow, a few spells. Doesn't feel like a game that you play for that reason though, in the same way that you don't play BotW for the combat. But yeah, would be nice to see some more before release.