Senior producer Daniel Smith talks about making a mark in a genre full of games like Hollow Knight and Dead Cells.
The Metroidvania subgenre of games has enjoyed a veritable resurgence in recent years, the likes of which very few genres have been lucky enough to enjoy. Buoyed by the likes of Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, and, of course, Ori and the Blind Forest, the Metroidvania design philosophy has permeated the mainstream with a vengeance, and become especially prominent in the indie gaming scene.
Creating a game in the space, then, is a daunting enough of a task as it is – how do you stand out in a genre that is so crowded with masterpieces? – but it is even more of a challenge when the game you’re creating is a sequel to one of said masterpieces. But with Ori and the Will of the Wisps, developers Moon Studios seem to be more than up to the task.
Speaking to GamingBolt in an interview, Daniel Smith – senior producer at Xbox Game Studios and executive producer on Will of the Wisps – spoke about how the game stands out in the crowded genre. Smith mentioned games such as Hollow Knight and Dead Cells, and talked about how, thanks to “the unique power and combination of its storytelling, art and design, combat system and technical abilities”, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is more than capable of going up against genre giants like its own predecessor.
“We love the genre and think games such as Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, Bloodstained, and more have done a remarkable job of moving the genre forward in interesting ways,” Smith told us. “In a genre filled to the brim with fantastic games, we wanted Ori and the Will of the Wisps to stand out based on the unique power and combination of its storytelling, art and design, combat system and technical abilities that power the game, which we feel make Ori stand out alongside its contemporaries.”
Building on the strengths of its predecessor in areas like traversal, platforming, map design, art, and storytelling, and improving upon its weaknesses in combat, Will of the Wisps look set to become a benchmark for Metroidvania design. We’ll know the full extent of how successfully it’s been able to do that- it’s out for the Xbox One and PC on March 11.
Until then, you can check out some gameplay footage from the title, including its first 20 minutes, or nearly a dozen more showing a boss fight, combat, platforming, and more.