Earthblade — that's the name of our next game! We‘re also showing off this teaser poster, and a snippet from the game's soundtrack. The poster and logo are by Pedro Medeiros, and the music by Lena Raine.
Think of this as a vibe reveal. We didn't want to reveal much about the game or its story yet, but we think that this well establishes the world and the feeling of being in it. We also just wanted to let everyone know the name of the game now that we've settled on one, so that we can all stop calling it EXOK4.
We've debated back and forth how to talk about this game during development. While making Celeste, we basically tweeted out whatever interesting-looking thing we were working on day-to-day, when we were in the mood for sharing. But an air of mystery lends itself particularly well to this project, so we've opted to save it all up for a big reveal that will hopefully blow your socks off.
It'll probably be a while before you get more information about Earthblade. When we finally do show it off, be sure to point your feet away from animals and small children, and prepare for your footwear to be blasted clean off your feet. In the meantime, now you know the general vibe. Vibe reveal!
It took us 4 prototypes to find Earthblade, and it's now been over 3 years since Celeste's initial release. I think a lot about an exchange I read on a gaming forum (or maybe it was on Reddit), soon after Celeste's release, where a player expressed how excited they were to see what our team would make next. I was happy to read that, but then I saw the only reply, which was from someone who had evidently followed us since TowerFall because they responded with something like, "Get ready to wait 5 years :/"
At the time I thought to myself, "No. This time we'll be faster." Now it sounds optimistic to say out loud that Earthblade could be released within 5 short years of Celeste. The truth is that we don't know how long it will take, just that it will take as long as it takes (and that it will take a long time).
Finding the right project is hard! It has to hit that tiny sweet spot between the unknown and the comfort zone. The unknown is exciting, but scary and difficult. The comfort zone is safe and easy, but boring. It's tempting as an artist to push yourself too far into the unknown, into a project that's not going to get finished given the constraints of your circumstances (budget, time, motivation, appetite for failure). It can also be easy to get stuck in your comfort zone producing lifeless work, particularly when there's a lot of financial pressure. I've fallen into both traps before, but this time the success of Celeste gave us a lot of runway and we tended to swing too wide. Prototypes EXOK1–3 taught us a lot, but ultimately we ventured way too far from our comfort zone for them to realistically ever get finished. It took a while, but we feel like we've settled on the right compromise between the two with Earthblade.
(Also the global pandemic might've slowed us down a bit as well.)
I am so excited about this project. I can see the whole thing in my head. Not perfectly, mind you — most of the details are still pretty blurry in my mental image, and I'm sure a lot will change along the way. But I can see the general shape of it, and I feel really good about where it's going. Now it's our job to turn this ephemeral, pristine mind-object into a real, imperfect & human actual-object. We'll be here, slowly grinding away at that task every day. We really hope that at the end of this, some of you will enjoy what we make :)
Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there.