Ashen

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Rollins

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2013
6,491
5,924
3,280
#1
The trailer looked interesting, but there are a lot really positive impressions coming out of E3, so I figured it deserved a thread.

No solid release date as far as I know.


The game

Ashen is an action RPG about a wanderer in search of a place to call home. There is no sun and the natural light that exists comes from eruptions that cover the land in ash. This is a world where nothing lasts, no matter how tightly you cling to it.

At its core, Ashen is about forging relationships.
Players can choose to guide those they trust to their camp, encouraging them to rest at the fire and perhaps remain. People you meet out in the world will have unique skills and crafting abilities to bolster your chances of survival.

Together, you might just stand a chance.

features

Passive Multiplayer

People you meet out in the world are players with their own agendas. It will be up to you to decide how to deal with them.

Non-linear progression
No two games will ever be the same. This is a world that moves on without you. Simply being in a different place at a certain time will alter the story in dramatic ways.

Open World Exploration
Your settlement is nestled in the mountains, surrounded by hand crafted environments as far as the eye can see.

High Risk Combat
Each encounter, no matter how trivial seeming, has the potential to end in disaster. Knowing the land and being patient are some of the most valuable weapons available to a lone wanderer in Ashen. Sometimes it is best to turn and run.

Creatures
The creatures of Ashen include rare, lonely giants and hungry, twisted inhabitants of the night. Despite the perils of the darkness, life always finds a way. This is a land teaming with a diverse array of flora and fauna.

The Town
The town will be cobbled together from survivors you choose to bring to your settlement. They might provide you with help ranging from blacksmithing to foraging expertise.

Platforms
XBOX ONE & PC
 

Bellybama

#PoshSpiceOnlySpice
Sep 18, 2013
4,989
659
2,230
#2
A bunch of people have mentioned Dark Souls when talking about this, which is a total boner killer for me.

I love the art style of this, but the words I associate with Souls games aren't possitive.
 

dbled34

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2013
1,834
471
1,050
#3
I love the art style
 

Zcythe

I'd rather be playing Killer Instinct.
Sep 11, 2013
3,726
1,540
2,280
#4
Looks cool. I have my eye on this.
 

pravus

Well-Known Member
Cornerstone Member
Sep 11, 2013
5,897
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#5
E3 2017: Ashen Lets You and a Friend Rage Against the Dying of the Light




The first time one of Ashen’s giant, freakishly long-limbed spiders dropped down on me, I squealed. Loudly. It was not the last time that happened during the 30 minutes I spent with the upcoming action RPG/roguelike from Aurora 44 but, as the old saying goes, you never forget your first time.

As it turns out, unequipping my lantern and sword combo in favor of a two-handed spear was a remarkably poor decision, especially since the dungeon I was exploring was shrouded in oppressive darkness. Lesson learned!

With that fatal experience tucked away for the next run, I began the demo over again, this time with an ace in the hole: a buddy who could help me. You see, while Ashen will let you play solo, this is clearly a game that is better with friends (and might even help you make some new ones). That’s because, like the Dark Souls series that it pays homage to,Ashen supports and actively encourages co-op play.

Unlike From Software’s beloved series, though, Ashen features a co-op system that doesn’t require you to work to find a co-op partner. That’s because the game employs a method that simply drops another player into the game, playing as one of the secondary characters that you’ll come across. When I looked over at my partner’s screen, he was the primary character and I was the secondary, roles that were flipped on my screen.

Getting our bearings, we made our way back to the entrance of the dungeon. Many of Ashen’s dungeons will require two players to open, and that was the case here, as we both had to put our hands into holes on either side of the door. This time, I was sure to keep a lantern equipped at all times, sporting a hefty club in the other hand. It might not have done as much damage at the spear I was rocking, but it was worth the trade-off to have a better sense of my surroundings.

This light/dark mechanic looks to play a central role in Ashen’s gameplay, and I could see how it offered some unique ways to tackle encounters. For instance, if the two players are willing to stay close together, one could carry a lantern and weaker weapon while the other carries a strong weapon, a plan that would fall apart quickly if you get separated. And make no mistake, the darkness in Ashen’s labyrinthine, claustrophobic dungeons is an inky void that almost feels like it envelops your character.

Taking our sweet time, we made our way further and further down into the dungeon, luring out enemies and carefully taking them down. The game’s combat rewards careful play, and I found the key to success is often waiting for your enemy to attack before following up rather than charging in swinging. Ashen definitely feels like a proper roguelike in many ways, including its views on careful combat and the fact dying will reset your progress with permadeath.

We found this out the hard way after we dropped down into a large central area, where we were confronted by a scary boss named The Elder Dark. Taking on this fast-moving creature that hid in the darkness required both coordination and quick reflexes, and we found that the best strategy was for one of us to lure him out and pray that the other could spot where he popped out of the holes in the walls around the chamber.

Alas, while we nearly got the Elder Dark’s health down to zero, everything went off the rails once my partner ran out of health-giving mushrooms. He quickly fell victim to a devastating fast attack from out of the shadows, leaving me alone to fend for myself against a powerful enemy. Unfortunately, I was out of mushrooms too, so it wasn’t long before I was frantically swinging my club with the hopes that the Elder Dark would accidentally jump right into it.

Naturally, that didn’t happen, and I let out one final, terrified squeal as the Elder Dark suddenly appeared behind me, slashing my back and killing my character for good. It may have made my heart race and my palms sweat, but I already can’t wait to go back and do it again. And again. And again.

You can be sure we’ll be bringing you more on Ashen as we get closer to the game’s release later this year.


Read more at https://news.xbox.com/2017/06/16/e3-2017-ashen-hands-on-preview/#7O0FUAKOmTRL0DTw.99
 
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OneBadMutha

Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2013
2,105
663
1,760
#6
A bunch of people have mentioned Dark Souls when talking about this, which is a total boner killer for me.

I love the art style of this, but the words I associate with Souls games aren't possitive.
I think combat is Souls-like. Rest of the game describes quite different.

That said, I'm opposite. Dark Souls is male enhancement pills for me.
 

Bellybama

#PoshSpiceOnlySpice
Sep 18, 2013
4,989
659
2,230
#7
I think combat is Souls-like. Rest of the game describes quite different.

That said, I'm opposite. Dark Souls is male enhancement pills for me.
I can't unroll my enough when I hear smart blah blah blah in regards to anything souls related.

You aren't making a movie. You're already offering options in regards to gameplay. You choose to deliberately alienate a large portion of gamers, by not offering easier difficulty levels/introductions? f*** you.

It's not intelligent design. It's arrogant ignorance. And the best bit is, that SUPREME arrogance is infectious to wankers that keep harping on about you not being good enough to enjoy the game. How dare you not have played the last 3 games religiously!!! If you don't agree with them, you're a s*** gamer, a noob, and 'uninformed' literally the words of a certain forums.

Any who, different topic for a different thread.
 

Z A C K

Stayin' Fresh
Cornerstone Member
Sep 11, 2013
13,208
1,826
13,730
#8
Looks really cool to me. Up high on the list of games I want to play.
 

lowdru2k

TXB member 2002-2013
Sep 13, 2013
3,627
667
2,220
#9
This looks great. Will keep an eye on it.
 

D-V-ANT

A mentally stable genius
Cornerstone Member
Sep 11, 2013
7,983
1,318
12,830
#10
I can't unroll my enough when I hear smart blah blah blah in regards to anything souls related.

You aren't making a movie. You're already offering options in regards to gameplay. You choose to deliberately alienate a large portion of gamers, by not offering easier difficulty levels/introductions? f*** you.

It's not intelligent design. It's arrogant ignorance. And the best bit is, that SUPREME arrogance is infectious to wankers that keep harping on about you not being good enough to enjoy the game. How dare you not have played the last 3 games religiously!!! If you don't agree with them, you're a s*** gamer, a noob, and 'uninformed' literally the words of a certain forums.

Any who, different topic for a different thread.
You don't like Souls games? What are you? And uninformed s*** noob gamer?

Anyhoo... this looks great. I somehow missed it during the presser.
 

Kuu2

Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2013
558
116
1,380
#11
Love the art style.
We will see if it's a good game.
 

griff_dai

XBOX and member of the PC Master Race
Sep 11, 2013
1,159
385
1,060
#12
Potentially huge console exclusive....didn't realise that it was actually announced at the last E3!!!!!!
 

TDbank24

PS4 is #1
Cornerstone Member
Sep 12, 2013
9,208
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#13
No doubt. Ashen looks good.
 

Rollins

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2013
6,491
5,924
3,280
#14
https://m.windowscentral.com/ashen-preview

Ashen for Xbox One was the best game we saw at E3 — here's why

Let it be known that Ashen is our game of the show for E3 2017.



Ashen was announced a couple of years ago as an ID@Xbox exclusive, complete with a unique art style and haunting atmospherics. The project basically went dark since then, and fans of that early trailer have been wondering what form it would eventually take.

We knew it would be an action RPG. And we knew it would feature asynchronous, passive multiplayer. But what do those things actually mean for Ashen? At E3 2017, I met Aurora 44 Games, the developer, to get answers to these burning questions.

Getting started with Ashen
Ashen takes place in a large open world without sunlight, and light is an important device both in terms of gameplay and passive story telling. Volcanic activity, coupled with luminosity from the constant eruptions reflected by the ash in the sky, gives Ashen both its unique personality, and its namesake.

Ashen's gameplay demo gave me a glimpse of its central features. Make no mistake, Ashen is an action RPG in the truest sense. It's challenging, unforgiving, and crammed with secrets, loot, and open-world exploration. Aurora 44 describes Ashen's gameplay as harsh and skill-based.

After just twenty minutes with the game's conservative demo, it was readily apparent that Ashen has evolved far beyond its humble "indie" roots. Ashen's polish, scope, and unique features scream of AAA quality making it something I'd expect to see from the industry's biggest and most prolific players. Ashen is one game RPG fans everywhere should be following with unwavering focus.

Hello darkness my old friend
I embarked into the wilderness without any inkling of what to truly expect. I found myself in a gorgeously cel-shaded forest, submerged in dense mist, dotted with hints of civilization and roaming critters. I discovered a familiar inventory system, complete with the ability to consume food to regain health in lieu of passive health regeneration. I discovered both heavy and light attacks, and the ability to combine swings into combos. I also discovered the ability to climb ledges, sprint, and dodge - all standard action RPG fare. It was only when I discovered that a random player had appeared in my game that I began to appreciate how special Ashen could turn out to be.

When a random player appeared in my game I began to appreciate how special Ashen could turn out to be.

Ashen's game world was described to me as huge and open, including opportunities for dungeon crawls and secret hunting. There were invisible walls to block my progression in the demo, but across the river, I could see shanty towns, makeshift structures, and deep forests, which looked as inviting as they were threatening.

I got the impression immediately that Ashen could be an explorers' paradise, for those willing to brave its dangers.

The chap who spawned into my game was wielding a large, two-handed club and didn't seem at all hostile, thankfully. Aurora 44 says that's by design. Ashen is supposed to be a solitary experience, albeit with connected "encounters" delivering passive emergent play that AI simply isn't capable of.



During these encounters, you'll only be able to communicate with physical emotes, waving, pointing and that sort of thing. You won't be able to find any co-op partner's gamertag or communicate with voice. There are no lobbies either. These encounters are designed to be fleeting, and perhaps at times, poignant moments because you'll both live and die together as you tackle some of the game's hardest content.

Ashen doesn't seem like a game that's out specifically to punish.

Indeed, some of Ashen's dungeons require two players to unlock and enter. Aurora 44 was careful to ensure that it would be effectively impossible to troll other players in these situations. There is no team damage, nor character collision, meaning that connected players can't interfere with your game at all – save for helping you tackle the horrors that lie within. If there are no players available, Aurora 44 says an AI non-player character (NPC) will eventually spawn instead.

The dungeon we dived into was among Ashen's earliest and designed to get players acquainted with the game's systems and features. It was here that I got a true taste of what Ashen is all about.

Secrets within secrets
Giant spider-like monstrosities emerged from the darkness, attacking with unforgiving voracity. Each attack was preceded by a cue to dodge, similar in design to games like The Surge and Dark Souls. I'm hesitant to describe Ashen as a "soulslike," but it's certainly not far off. A better comparison might be The Witcher 3 on hard or higher. It's supremely easy to die if you're not careful, and Ashen's tight and responsive controls make combat all the more rewarding. But, at least early on, I wouldn't say Ashen seems like a game that's out specifically to punish.

Heavy attacks are slower, and are thus, high-risk, but they come with the added benefit of stunning enemies. Depending on your weapon type, you could also stun several enemies at once, swinging a larger weapon in a wide arc. Light attacks are much faster and are great to follow up and quickly dispatch a stunned foe. Ashen is still in active development, but it already feels incredibly polished and exciting to play – as I type this, it aches that it'll be several months before I get the opportunity to dive back in.



As we proceeded further into the dungeon, Aurora 44 dropped hints about hidden secrets off the main path. Aurora 44 says that many of Ashen's dungeons are interwoven, and may reveal other areas you can reach later in the game. We discovered secrets within secrets, too, rewarding with health-sustaining cave mushrooms and equipment. Loot is per-player in Ashen as well, so you needn't worry about players stealing all the treasure.

I found an ax with special properties that gave me a significant boost to my attacks. Aurora 44 noted that Ashen's loot systems are less about finding hundreds of weapons, however. It's more about finding archetypes that you really enjoy, whether it's a one-handed ax or a two-handed spear, and then upgrading them later using the game's town system. Your weapons in Ashen are supposed to feel like a valuable travel companion, rather than something you'll readily throw away with the first minor stat upgrade.

Ashen's beautiful shapes and angles really pop in the game's rich lighting engine.

The main progression system in Ashen isn't about leveling up or loot crawling either, but more about finding upgrades for your settlement. From the outset, Ashen was all about "finding a home," and it is there where you will be able to craft and upgrade your gear, growing your population by inviting NPCs back to your settlement. Different NPCs have different skills, and for example, a blacksmith might have the ability to upgrade that ax I found in the depths of the game's first dungeon.

Aurora 44 plans to offer more details about the game's town feature at a later date, but even the scant details indicate that Ashen is far more than your average dungeon crawler, and the same goes for its unique story delivery.

Deceptive subtlety
The reasoning behind the state of Ashen's volcano-blasted world is unknown, but even in the small slice afforded to us at E3, there were hints that gave the world both believability and mystery. Murals inside the dungeon reacted to my lantern, showing shadows of previous events. Indeed, Ashen's dungeons can be completely pitch black, forcing the player to bring his own light source. Ashen's beautiful shapes and angles really pop in the game's rich lighting engine, which is certainly central not only to the game's story, but also exploration, and even in combat.



While I failed to get this far in my own playtest, Aurora 44 revealed the first boss behind closed doors, and the fight looked as exhilarating as it was spectacular. The boss will drain the light from your lantern and use it to create areas of effect explosions, which were beautiful while also being deadly.

The boss fight required some learning and careful tactics. The shadowy, humanoid creature did leaping swipe attacks, and also retreated into alcoves in the walls, requiring the player to use their lantern to flush it out. It also had a crazy amount of health and dealt impressive amounts of damage. Again, I'm not sure it's fair to say it will be as hard as Dark Souls, particularly since the dungeon requires a co-op partner, but the fight was difficult enough to be a rewarding challenge, particularly for fans of the genre.

As Aurora 44 exited the dungeon, we were treated to a narrated sequence with a shamanistic figure, standing on a ledge above a vast, cave lake. She relieved us of a strange key item – milk teeth – found along the way. I'm not sure if the key item was necessary to complete the dungeon, or simply part of an optional storytelling moment. Either way, the result was something entirely unexpected that dropped my jaw.



From the depths of the cave emerged a gargantuan, stone woman, adorned with gigantic jewelry and other fineries. She seemed to accept the milk teeth as some form of offering, before swimming back into the lake, submerging into the dark. The sequence was something I'd sooner expect of Shadow of the Colossus and slammed home the fact that Ashen has far more to it than meets the eye.

It was blatantly obvious from Ashen's first trailer that Aurora 44 represents a talented group of people, but the demo left me floored.

Up until that moment, Ashen had deceived me with its subtlety. Its low-key, minimalistic music, its delicate art style and passive narrative make way for epic and impactful set-pieces that are reminiscent of that original trailer we saw all the way back in 2014 with the floating whale. Aurora 44 waited for the perfect moment to reveal the game's true majesty, using the pacing of the dungeon and the passive story elements to give the final set-piece an extra punch. It was blatantly obvious from Ashen's first trailer that Aurora 44 represents a talented group of people, but the demo left me floored.

Seeing the light
The fact Ashen that effectively enlists human players to play the part of an NPC companion for dungeons makes it a truly unique, almost bittersweet experience. You'll triumph together, find treasure together, maybe die together, but you'll never know the person on the other end. The anonymity keeps you immersed in the game in a way that other co-op titles simply don't. There's no voice on the other end reminding you that you're not in the game. Ashen gives you no choice but to roleplay. You're there to be an NPC for your co-op partner, nothing more, nothing less.

The result is subtle but incredible, and I truly feel like Ashen could prove itself hugely influential on the way future RPGs handle co-operative play. Gamers today are obsessed with socializing and connectivity to the point where single player games are becoming difficult for AAA publishers to fund or justify. Ashen's brand of passive, anonymous co-op could be the bridge between compelling and dynamic gameplay only possible with other humans, while retaining the purity and immersion only possible in a single player game.



Ashen is my game of the show for E3 2017. It's unique style, thoughtful mechanics, and haunting mysteries spoke to me more than any other title at this year's event. Aurora 44 has increased the scope of the game massively in partnership with its new publisher, Annapurna, known primarily for movies like Lawless and American Hustle. The company is increasingly pushing into video games, too, supporting both Ashen and the PlayStation 4 (PS4) console exclusive What Remains of Edith Finch, which received widespread acclaim.

I'm rooting for Ashen, and you should too.

Ashen is expected to launch in 2018 on Xbox One, Xbox One X, and the Windows 10 Store as a Microsoft exclusive with Xbox One X enhanced visuals, cross-play, and Xbox Play Anywhere support.
 

Dno69

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2013
8,616
1,250
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#15
Nice. Sounds like the game has way more depth than it first appeared.
 

MCPO

Hail to the Chief, baby
Sep 12, 2013
198
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414
#16
wow, great writeup! Bring on Ashen!
 

Oblong

Day 1 Gamer - 1976
Cornerstone Member
Sep 11, 2013
3,643
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#17
Well foo. I absolutely love the art-style, story, characters, and what they are doing with co-op....but once I saw Souls-like I am going to wipe it off my radar. What a waste! :smash: Happy for the Select Few who are into being brutalized in the name of fun.
 

OneBadMutha

Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2013
2,105
663
1,760
#18
That write-up elevated it to the top of my most anticipated games. Love everything I'm hearing about the game.
 

Frozpot

Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2013
10,211
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#19
I will smugly smile and my head will swell knowing I've been on board with this game since they showed it years ago. This and Below... Oh Where art thou, Below!?
 

TeGu

Black lizard baritone-jazz in the soul bone
Sep 11, 2013
234
65
169
#20
I will smugly smile and my head will swell knowing I've been on board with this game since they showed it years ago. This and Below... Oh Where art thou, Below!?
:sad:
 

pravus

Well-Known Member
Cornerstone Member
Sep 11, 2013
5,897
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#21
I have yet to see or hear anything about this game that doesn't sound awesome.

Below went into bunker mode. From about a month ago:
Hey all,

Quick notes:

• Yes, we're still in full production on the game. We've never stopped. It isn't cancelled.
• When we delayed again, we decided to do what we felt was the right thing, and stop promoting the game until we have a concrete release date that we can share. No more expected dates, just one release date.
• Our game collab with Cartoon Network has no impact on Below. We've always had 2 full teams at Capy. There's 24 people here, split between the two.

Despite all this, we totally understand that people have lost confidence in the game coming out. It's been a long-ass time and a bunch of delays. But from our POV, we gotta do what we gotta do to make sure we're making something we're happy with. And trust me, no one wants to get this game out more than us :)

We hope that when we announce the release date, or when it releases, or at some other point after that, you'll give the game a shot.

If anyone has questions, I'm around.
 
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TeGu

Black lizard baritone-jazz in the soul bone
Sep 11, 2013
234
65
169
#22
I have yet to see or hear anything about this game that doesn't sound awesome.



Below went into bunker mode. From about a month ago:
I'm not bummed because I think the game is irrelevant...I'm bummed because I want to play it.
 

Kuu2

Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2013
558
116
1,380
#23
Man I wish this was coming this year.
 

griff_dai

XBOX and member of the PC Master Race
Sep 11, 2013
1,159
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#24

Did not see this trailer above....Looks bloody brilliant this!
 

Hedon

Hedonism
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Sep 13, 2013
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#25


LOL a the size of those PC towers. They look like guitar amps.
 

Hedon

Hedonism
Cornerstone Member
Sep 13, 2013
15,572
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#26
 

spid

Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2013
514
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#27
Developer interview and gameplay

 

Edge BC

Mistwalker fan
Sep 16, 2013
1,578
595
1,170
#29
Gamers: Where is Ashen and Below!?
Ashen: Surprise motherf***ers!

 

BDaddyK

Generation Crybaby
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2013
8,097
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3,930
#30
Wait, wut?!? It released back in July...


😛