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Wander is finally drifting onto the PlayStation Network next week, giving gamers a chance to explore a large and mysterious island without the distraction of combat or destruction. Did we mention you can become a walking tree?

We were first exposed to Wander about a year ago, setting itself apart from the pack by promising a game that boasting loads of exploration, but no guns, explosions or any of that nonsense. There’s also the fact that the game lets you shape-shift into a number of other creatures, including those ents we were just talking about, as well as griffins and a lizard-like species that can swim underwater.

The game has come a long way since those initial showings, now set to launch for the PlayStation 4 on June 4. Check out the latest trailer, showing off one of the freshly revealed abilities, riding griffins.

So while you can become several creatures, it looks like Wander will allow you to befriend them, too. According to writer/character designer Crystal Flinn over on the PlayStation Blog, that’s just one of the many new additions that have been added to the game since it was first revealed.

“…We’ve been working hard to develop tons of awesome new features, such as polishing the griffin flying experience to a high-gloss sheen,” Flinn said. “Anyone who thinks flying will simply be a matter of just pressing a button to get from point A to point B is in for a pleasant surprise, as it will require a little bit of skill and practice to master.”

Flinn also teased the game’s non-menu system, saying that the team has come up with a “cool idea” for getting the player all of the information they need without forcing you to leave play and sort through a bunch of screens.

Another cool feature is the Glyph system, which sounds reminiscent of the communication tones from Journey. Wander is actually playable online, like a non-violent MMO, which means you’ll occasionally run into new faces, some of whom will be from regions that speak a different language than you. Glyphs are a sort of universal communication method that allow you to converse with other players using easy to understand pictures. A nifty feature is that you’ll actually use the Dualshock 4’s touchpad to draw the Glyphs yourself.

As if all of that wasn’t intriguing enough, Flinn concludes by teasing skydiving within the game. You can leap from the back of a griffin companion, or just hurl yourself off of, say, a floating island, and enjoy the trip to earth. If you’re feeling particularly skillful, you can even guide yourself onto the back of another griffin on the way down.

Playing games like Far Cry 3, Destiny and Uncharted, I sometimes think to myself, “This is great and all, but it would also be cool to explore without being shot at every 15 feet.” All signs point to Wander being able to scratch that very itch. I suppose we’ll just have to wait until next week to find out.
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