Ashen preview/impression from WindowsCentral

Oct 27, 2017
15,120
#1
Ashen's world is as fantastical as it is mysterious, and light plays a big part in the game's story and mechanics. The Ashen are a race of phoenix-esque Godlike beings, composed of light. It was the death of an Ashen that led to light appearing in the game's world for the first time, allowing new races to evolve and appear, including man. As the Ashen died, light left the game world, plunging it into an age of darkness. Dark creatures that thrive in the gloom emerged and led the grand cities of mankind to ruin
Ashen takes place in a large open world comprised of various types of landscapes and ancient architecture. Much of Ashen's world lies in apocalyptic ruins, where the surviving humans band together in violent tribes to face off scavengers and dangerous predators. Throughout the game, you will traverse dense forests, stalk the ruins of ancient empires, traverse treacherous swamps, and dive through dark caves. Ashen's game world isn't all bleak and horror, though, the game has a surprisingly varied color pallet, which should satisfy all sorts of moods and tastes.
As you travel throughout Ashen's sizeable world, you'll find yourself doing quests and dungeon runs for various NPCs, who make up Ashen's eclectic (now, fully-voiced) cast of characters.
Once you have made them (NPC's) happy, they'll return to your settlement and begin to add to it, bringing their own skills and facilities to your base such as crafting, and fast travel, all while building up their own homes. By the end of the game, you should have a sprawling, and hearty village to call home.
Ashen retains its headline feature, completely anonymous asynchronous co-op, which is required to enter certain areas and dungeons. This co-operative play forms an important part of Ashen's uniqueness, since you won't be able to communicate directly (or even know) who you are playing with. Those players will appear in your game completely dynamically, and anonymously, as you approach an area that requires a second player. If there is nobody available (or you disable multiplayer completely), a smart A.I. companion will spawn instead. And it is indeed smart.
Aurora44 cited this desire for asynchronous co-op as a driving reason for launching the game into Xbox Game Pass, to ensure that it will have a healthy player base to assume these roles, rather than fall back on the game's A.I. systems.
There are no "souls" or gear to lose upon death, but you will have to manage your health manually using a refillable health flask, ensuring your gear is as up to date as possible.
Most of Ashen's most difficult areas can be overcome either by leveling up, or sheer skill, but I wouldn't put Ashen into a truly "hardcore" ARPG category that some had expected it might be.
Ashen also has talismans and relics which can be equipped to bestow the user with mystical powers or passive stats.

One relic we were shown generates shadowy orbs as you fight, which can then be hurled towards an enemy at range. Another relic gives you an opportunity to cheat death, resurrecting as an ash wraith for another shot at life. When you die, you will respawn at a fast travel point known as a ritual stone, which could set you back quite far if you aren't careful.
Some of the monsters we saw in Ashen include hulking humanoids, gigantic rocky, rhino-like monsters, hideous shelled bug creatures, as well as various fantasy staples like wolves. The game also has enemy factions in the lore, which can be drawn into fights with each other,
Ashen isn't a boss-rush game, but it is scattered with several set-piece boss battles that seem to have thoughtful and contextual mechanics, based on the dungeons and lore surrounding them. The one we were shown, without spoiling, was rather terrifying.
Ashen is currently in a polish phase, nearing the end of its development. The studio is hoping to get the game out before the end of 2018, but it already looks ready for prime time.
Some screens. Abit low res tho. But awell.



https://www.windowscentral.com/ashen-xbox-one-preview-2018
 

Kolx

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,775
#4
My interest in this spiked after last year's trailer. MS has been doing an absolutely fantastic work with picking unique indie games this gen.
 
OP
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Theorry
Oct 27, 2017
15,120
#5
My interest in this spiked after they revealed the game last year with new vision. MS has been doing an absolutely fantastic work with picking unique indie games this gen.
Its not MS really. Annapurna picked up the game and invested in it more. Thats why its taking abit longer but they had money to expand the game more.
Its a console launch exclusive with gamepass and play anywhere. But it also comes to Steam.
 

Kolx

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,775
#6
Its not MS really. Annapurna picked up the game and invested in it more. Thats why its taking abit longer but they had money to expand the game more.
Its a console launch exclusive with gamepass and play anywhere. But it also comes to Steam.
But MS was involved with it somehow albeit the launch exclusive deal? I might be confusing it with another game tho.
 

Vire

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,394
#22
I like the way this game looks, but the HUD is so darn ugly and amateurish. Shame the beautiful pictures in the OP isn't what the game "actually" looks like.
 
Oct 28, 2017
3,743
Brazil
#23
Its not MS really. Annapurna picked up the game and invested in it more. Thats why its taking abit longer but they had money to expand the game more.
Its a console launch exclusive with gamepass and play anywhere. But it also comes to Steam.
It was Ms first no? But then the team secured fund from another publisher, and Ms let go of their publishing rights.

At least that's the story I've heard XD
 
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Theorry
Oct 27, 2017
15,120
#24
It was Ms first no? But then the team secured fund from another publisher, and Ms let go of their publishing rights.

At least that's the story I've heard XD
Dont think they ever had publishing rights. It was a [email protected] game. Still is abit.
It was probably gonna be another Cuphead that the console exclusive stuff was there. Now its a console launch exclusive when the other publisher picked the game up.
Yet some "deals" still exist like the console launch, play anywhere and now Gamepass wich probably came later.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,911
#25
I've been anxiously awaiting this since the first trailer, but recent gameplay hasn't looked so hot. Those screens though look far more interesting!
 
Oct 30, 2017
52
#31
Looking great, really loving the art style. Have they confirmed that the co-op is only anonymous asynchronous? Can we invite friends at all? I'd love to adventure with some XBL buddies while party chatting.
 
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Oct 27, 2017
8,259
UK
#36
The fact this is launching day one on Game Pass should put to bed concerns that the service is only for GaaS and multi-player games.

I love the minimalist art style in this game, looks very clean and and gives a 'less is more' vibe. Nice.
 

Deleted member 11995

User requested account closure
Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,386
Scotland
#44
All of this sounds, and looks, fantastic. It's like a less grim and punishing take on the Souls gameplay style. I'm definitely ready to give that a go!

Ashen and Below are both shaping up very nicely, based on what we're hearing and seeing.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,184
#46
Have they explained why the characters don't have actual faces or is that just a art design decision?
Pretty sure I caught an interview with the guy who's being doing all the PR and the answer was something along the lines that it was an artistic choice but that it dovetails nicely as well with the thematic idea of not taking anyone at face value in such a hostile world and also the multiplayer idea of it could be an npc, it could be a real player, you don't always know.
 
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Oct 27, 2017
850
#47
Got to interview the devs a couple times for podcasts on the channel and the stuff they are working on really does make this feel like the big mystery people arent' tracking this year
 
OP
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Theorry
Oct 27, 2017
15,120
#48
Have they explained why the characters don't have actual faces or is that just a art design decision?
They started with the world first instead of the characters. They added them later but didnt have the budget and piority yet to make real faces. At the end the just kept it like this as it fitted the world nicely.