Behind The Frame developer Silver Lining Studios has announced its next game to explore art and human connection, The Star Named EOS.
Where Behind The Frame was all about painting, this new game focuses on photography as the basis of a narrative puzzle game.
It's set for release later this year on PC and "more platforms", with a demo due during the forthcoming Steam Next Fest from 3rd February. Check out the trailer below.
I was fortunate enough to give the demo a go in advance and revel in the game's gentle, wistful atmosphere.
It has the player exploring a bedroom, solving puzzles to collect items and slowly unravel more details on the game's central relationship.
The hand-drawn graphics are beautiful, the lilting guitar music relaxing, and the puzzles wonderfully tactile as you interact with objects to turn pages, rotate cranks, and unlock boxes with strange locks - all to set up the perfect shot.
"Have you ever come across a piece of music or seen a photograph that instantly brings back forgotten memories or emotions from the past? The things that exist beyond the frame, the emotions of the photographer and the subject, as well as the reasons and aftermath of the photograph," Silver Lining Studios producer Weichen Lin told Eurogamer.
"We hope players will be able to experience the unique storytelling technique of solving a mystery through taking and examining photos: the experience of gradually solving the mystery and the sense of satisfaction when pressing the shutter button."
The Star Named EOS will be the studio's second major release and it learned a lot from debut Behind The Frame, including the importance of exposure scheduling, player engagement, and balancing game difficulty with storytelling and pacing.
"However, the most significant lesson we learned was the importance of considering player expectations when making decisions during the development process," said Lin. "With so many potential features to include in a game, it's crucial to prioritise the core elements of the story and strive to make them the best they can be."
It's the visuals and music that are perhaps most striking about the game. The hand drawn style immediately evokes nostalgia and is beautifully realised, while the piano and guitar score is suitably intimate and reflective.
Said Lin: "Our visual style for this game is achieved through a combination of 3D modelling and 2D hand-drawn textures, and the final soundtrack will be composed by the same artist as Behind the Frame. We have put a great deal of effort into creating a balance between the moods of the main characters, the setting, and the player as both a subjective and objective observer."
It's clear that A Star Named EOS is set to be an emotional experience and the demo is just a taste of its story.
"We hope that players will be able to experience the bond between the characters after playing the full game," said Lin. "And furthermore, understand the people around them and what kind of choices and efforts they make to maintain that bond under different situations."
A Star Named EOS will release later this year.