You know an indie game is special when it earns one of the biggest rounds of cheers at a major press conference. That's exactly what happened when the sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest was shown off at the Xbox E3 2017 event, despite the fact that the trailer itself was a bit haunting and depressing.
Ori and the Blind Forest is one of those games I'm quick to point to when someone gets a bit snootie about an "indie" title. These smaller games can pack just as bit a punch as their AAA counterparts, and Blind Forest did exactly that thanks to its gorgeous art style, compelling (if not a bit melancholy) story and tough platforming that rewarded patience and skill.
During the Xbox press event Sunday night, a surprise sequel was announced. It's called Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and it looks just as wonderful, and wonderfully spooky, as its predecessor.
The new trailer opens on a lone purple feather, resting in a peaceful corner of the forest. A breeze kicks up and whisks the feather away, soon swirling past a familiar frog from the original Ori game.
The feather continues its journey a large windmill and a massive, utterly terrifying spider. The mood takes a sharp turn downward as the scene changes to a portion of the forest that is both boiling with a lightning storm and a widespread fire.
The feather finally comes to rest next to a small, purple owl, who is just about the saddest little creature you can imagine. The feather is clearly too big to be one of his, which is further confirmed when we see a pair of large, clearly deceased owls in the background.
Ori wanders onto the scene as the view pans back, the song rises and we see there are many more dead owls in the background. We fade to black before getting the game's name, Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
It speaks volumes for Blind Forest that folks are so excited to see this follow-up get announced on the big stage, even if it's likely to be one of the most depressing games to ever launch on the Xbox One. Speaking of which, much noise was made about the fact that Will of the Wisps will be in 4K on the Xbox One X, and we imagine it's going to look utterly stunning on Microsoft's new piece of hardware. It's also launching for PC, though, in case you are curious.
According to the game's background info, you'll be trying to discover the mystery behind what destroyed the forest of Nibel, why so many of its inhabitants perished, and how Ori's true destiny plays into all of this.
We haven't seen a launch date yet, so stay tuned for more details.