As you may remember, back in October of last year, Twirlbound’s 3D Action Adventure game, Pine, went live on Square Enix Collective. At the time what was shown was a wildly unique, interesting game that had quite a few intricate systems in play. Then, at the end of February the game launched on Steam Greenlight and received a new beautiful, and equally promising trailer. At the time, Twirlbound also mentioned that the game would be launching on Kickstarter in the near future. Fast-forward to today and bam: the game’s Kickstarter has launched.
According to Twirlbound, Pine is said to be inspired by the adventures of Link in the Zelda series, the nemesis system of Shadow of Mordor, Fable‘s choice-dependent progression, and the dance-like combat of Bloodborne.
In Pine, every action and even inaction has an effect. The direction in which you explore the island of Albamare, which is where the story takes place, and the way in which come in contact with its many inhabitants (and how you act with them), defines how the world will change, evolve and adapt.
Per the Kickstarter, here are the game’s core features:
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, EVEN WHEN YOU’RE NOT INVOLVED
Pine is world-centric, meaning things will happen across the island even without your involvement. Based on principles borrowed from evolution and ecology theory, every single species will try what it can to survive – from small power shifts to the utter extinction of a group, Albamare’s living, breathing and constantly evolving world can and will make it happen.
THE VAST ISLAND OF ALBAMARE IS WAITING TO BE EXPLORED, ONE MYSTERY AT A TIME
As you embark upon the quest to save your tribe and find a new home, you uncover intriguing details about the history of the island and how the current evolutionary course came to pass.
USE A RANGE OF TOOLS TO MAKE YOUR WAY ACROSS THE ISLAND
The island will provide you with everything you need, and as you progress, you will even discover many mysterious and helpful contraptions that will change the way you traverse, interact and fight. Scare away creatures with the Igniter, make your way across large gaps with the amazing Airglider or scale the highest cliffs using strong Climbing Axes!
ALBAMARE IS A DANGEROUS PLACE THAT LEARNS FROM YOUR EVERY MOVE
The island has its share of predators and territorial species. To defend yourself against their attacks or influence the course of action, Pine features a solid and varied combat system feels engaging with every encounter.
But be wary, as your enemies will learn how you fight: They will observe you, try out different combos against you and evolve to specifically oppose your style. It will force you to adapt to them in turn, so choose your enemies wisely!
DYNAMIC WEATHER AND A NATURAL DAY/NIGHT CYCLE FORCE ALBAMARE’S INHABITANTS TO MOVE AND ACT
Based on their specific needs, some species will try to find shelter during storms or on cold nights, or even move to a new territory in large migrations. The weather can be your ally or your worst enemy, so keep an eye out for what’s coming your way.
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK FEATURING LIVE RECORDINGS
Inspired by both classical symphonies as well as contemporary game and film music, Pine’s soundtrack by Ratchet Audio seamlessly flows through the experience as if it were coming from the island itself.
Core features aside, it’s important to note that in the world of Pine, humans never reached the top of the food chain, meaning other species got the chance to develop language, cultivate, and become smarter than they otherwise would be.
In the game, you play as Hue, a “smart but shy young adult” who is growing up in an isolated group of Humans, deep in the pine woods of Albamare. Traditionally, the tribe never ventures into “the Out,” as it is afraid of the creatures wandering around the island, and of losing the safety it has right now.
But when the Humans’ territory suddenly becomes threatened, Hue is forced into the Out to find a way to help keep his people alive. As you explore the island, you will discover more and more about it, uncovering mysteries about the Humans, the history of Albamare and the creatures that live on it.
According to Twirlbound, while there is a clear goal to the game, it also lets you decide in what order you want to reach. In this way, the story is linear, but everything around the mainline story will change based on what you do, making no two experiences alike.
As for the game’s setting, Albamare, it is full of a wide variety of locations, and includes mountain ranges, plains, forest, beaches, and swamp, all which you can explore via an open-world.
As mentioned above in the core features, the weather on the island is also a very important component to the game. According to Twirlbound, the weather is always active, meaning a species on the other side of Albamare might be fleeing from the storm that’s raging there, while it’s sunny where you are at. Taking advantage of weather conditions and always being wary of them is important to thriving in the game.
Further, Twirlbound wanted to create an essence of “living off the land,” so things like tools, resources, and survival techniques come from the island and species. For example, some species are quite advanced, so you can learn from them by talking to them or by finding their weapons and resources.
Speaking of species, throughout the game you will meet a large cast of them, some more, some less evolved. Through encounters and interactions you will learn more about the species you share the island with, and your decisions will alter the source of what will come of Albamare.
The Kickstarter provides the following ecological hierarchy visualization:
As suggested above, you can befriend a species, fight alongside them, help them to gain territory or even bring them food and resources. You can also choose to attack them, steal their food or force them to abandon their current habitat. All of this means you can play a big role in which species thrive, maintain survival, or experience extinction.
One way you can earn the trust of species is by trading equipment with them, or by using armor sets that resemble their cultures.
Additionally, Twirlbound has said that each organism within a species looks different. This is done by genetic algorithms, which give each organism a personality and specialty. Further, thanks to a survival of the fittest like system, entire species will change in order to survive. For example, a species you fight with often will change in order to better adapt to counter you.
So far there are four fully-fledged species, with a plan to develop four more, as well as regional variants.
In addition to species, there are also critters, who are at the bottom of the ecological hierarchy. Critters are unable to evolve, but serve as a source of food and balance in the ecology. There will be a total of 20 unique critters.
The Kickstarter, if successful, will cover a “big part of the game’s full budget.” According to Twirlbound, the money won’t be enough to finsih the game, which is why it plans to find a publisher to finish it up. Currently, it is talking with many publishers, one which is likely Square Enix Collective, where the game previously appeared.
Pine is being developed in Unity 5, and is scheduled to release for PC, Mac, and Linux sometime during Q4 2018. PS4, Xbox One, and Switch releases are “on the radar” of the developer.
For more details on the Kickstarter, click here.