Ahead of its hopefully imminent release on iOS, 30 minutes of Journey developer ThatGameCompany's gorgeous new project, Sky, has appeared online.
Sky, a "mobile social experience" designed to "move audiences emotionally with its theme and story", according to the developer, was originally unveiled at Apple's iPhone X event last year. It will launch first on iOS, but quell your mobile game prejudices - it looks and sounds absolutely wonderful in its opening 30 minutes uploaded by AllGamesDelta.
An in-game message at the start of the video describes the footage as being part of a "special preview" of Sky, and notes that the game is still "work-in-progress". Even with that caveat, it still offers a spellbinding (and obviously spoiler-filled) glimpse at a world bought to life with the same skill and craftsmanship seen in the inimitable Journey.
Everything said and shown of Sky so far, reveals a game that takes Journey's familiar third-person adventure template, and infuses it with a gently collaborative multiplayer spin.
While other players could occasionally be glimpsed (and vigorously whistled at) in Journey, Sky puts far greater prominence and importance on the existence of fellow humans. Up to eight people can appear in the same world at once, and, through co-operation and creativity, must work together in order to explore islands and overcome puzzles.
The hope, says ThatGameCompany, is to create "a new experience that promotes compassion, altruism and teamwork within its audience base". You can see some of those interactions in the video above.
"If you really think about the player-to-player interaction in Journey, it's very minimal," explained ThatGameCompany president and creative director Jenova Chen of Sky's multiplayer focus recently, "It's almost like playing one single tone across the whole melody. But now with many people we have all kinds of parameters.
"Like the number of people in a scene, the type of mechanics [in which] they engage with each other. Are they helping each other? Are they competing with each other? Are they potentially protecting each other? That interpersonal gameplay is now a new element that we could utilise to add a new feeling to the game."
There's currently no release date for Sky, but ThatGameCompany has said that it "would look to publish Sky as a multi-format title" once it's taken its turn on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.