Publisher Annapurna Interactive has a knack for finding indie games with a focus on interweaving story and gameplay. Last year they brought us What Remains Of Edith Finch, and now they have partnered up with developer Aurora44 on Ashen, an open world action RPG with stamina based combat, expected to release on PC and XBox One later this year. According to the developer, “At its core, Ashen is about forging relationships.” As you meet characters in the world and provide aid (or not), they will take up residence in your town, opening up new crafting options. In this way, each success or failure has a direct impact on further progress in the story.
Ashen is not a solely single-player affair though, as it will have what Aurora44 is calling “passive multiplayer.” Throughout your journey, other players will be able to help you in your quests (the AI will cover this role if there isn’t a multiplayer connection). To further strengthen the immersion in the story, these other players will have the appearance of the quest givers of your world, but they will still have their own needs and desires. Teaming up with these players or ignoring them is your choice to make, but some secrets of the world will require cooperation. All of this will combine to give each player a unique gameplay experience, and could also increase replayability.
To find out more, check out the gameplay trailer above, and don’t forget to check out the official Ashen site.