ATONE is a story-driven puzzle game inspired by Norse Mythology and set in a 2D world comprised entirely of hand-drawn vector art. Players inherit the journey of a young warrior named Estra, solving complex puzzles and surviving rhythm game battle sequences as she ventures to unveil the truth behind her father’s death. The game is scheduled for release in 2019 on PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Xbox One.
The Gods have abandoned Midgard. Once a prosperous land teeming with mythical beasts and beings, it now rots from the inside, tainted by unknown forces. Odin’s chosen guardians of the realm are gone. In their absence, the sacred Elder Tree they swore to protect is exposed to abuse and manipulation. Now, the only remnants of hope reside in Estra, the daughter of mankind’s last great leader.
Twelve years after escaping the vicious ambush that claimed the life of her father, Estra is troubled by heady dreams of events both past and present; visions that settle like cold stones in her stomach. She awakes to discover that the sacred gemstone her father gave her has started to glow.
ATONE’s story was inspired by Nordic myth, and written by Wildboy Studios & Rebecca Haigh; a UK-based writer who recently wrote for Salix Games’ Du Lac & Fey: Dance of Death.
Words, wit, and weapons all play vital roles in ATONE.
With a heavy emphasis on story, Estra’s journey through Midgard is filled with Nordic lore, mysterious twists, and consequential decisions. Players will converse with a variety of characters and share in Estra’s discoveries as she learns more about her family’s past and the looming darkness spreading across the realm.
Along the way, players must solve incrementally challenging puzzles that reveal insightful secrets, fantastical abilities, and hidden passageways. Outside of conversations, puzzles are the dominant obstructions that Estra must overcome. Trial and error is important, but patience is necessary. Not every problem allows for multiple mistakes and failure is most certainly an option. The answers you seek may be lost if you make the wrong decision. Knowledge is a reward, not a gift.
Violence isn’t always necessary, but, when push comes to shove, ATONE’s combat is a delicate dance of sword and axe. Fight sequences are grounded in the rhythm game genre, in the spirit of titles like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution. Characters charge into an epic slow-motion hack-n-slash, where the player’s ability to sync button combinations with the beat of battle-specific songs will dictate who lives and who dies. Music is a crucial component, with each fight receiving it’s very own score, courtesy of composer, Luminist (a.k.a. James Shuar).
Everything in ATONE is individually crafted. Every moss-covered statue, every rune-laden tomb, every billowing patch of grass; nothing is reused or repeated for the sake of convenience. Using only the trackpad on a Macbook, Wildboy Studios has meticulously realized the realm of Midgard.
The game’s art direction is influenced by a wide variety of material, ranging from the visual stylings of animation master, Genndy Tartakovsky, (Samurai Jack, Clone Wars) to the iconic, angular landscapes of Monument Valley in North America.
ATONE is the first game created by Wildboy Studios; a New Zealand-based company comprised of Ben Costeloe, Patric Corletto, and Sid Bardiya. The game’s story is written by Wildboy Studios and UK-based writer, Rebecca Haigh. The musical score is composed by AU-based artist, Luminist (a.k.a. James Shuar). ATONE’s publicity and marketing are coordinated by US-based publicist, Jim DeLuca at Get A Life PR.
ATONE’s music and sound design are composed by Australian artist, Luminist (a.k.a. James Shuar), who blends a synth-heavy score with the digitally corrupted sounds of period-specific instruments. Exploration and discovery are accompanied by wondrous electronica spliced with tainted flutes, harps, and other Viking-era tools of song. With ATONE’s rhythm game combat system, each fight is set to it’s own distinct musical composition that ebbs and flows with the player’s input; a digitally charged take on the battle hymns of Norse Mythology.
Also tasked with creating the game’s sound design, Shuar’s intangible work covers every frame of ATONE.
Shuar release his first EP, “Simulations,” under the Luminist moniker in 2017. Prior to that, he composed music for the animated short film, Jumpy, by Anthony Falleroni. He’s also releasedMetroid: Resynthesized, and Super Metroid: Resynthesized; analog adaptations of the Metroid and Super Metroid soundtracks.
Wildboy Studios is a New Zealand-based game development company formed in 2016 by New Zealanders Sid Bardiya and Ben Costeloe, and Italian Patric Corletto. The studio began when the trio decided to turn a Massey University art project into a full-fledged game. With a strong desire to focus on narrative-driven design, the trio began to work on a project that would later be named ATONE.