Sky of Tides Thrills at Summer Game Fest

Sky of Tides Thrills at Summer Game Fest

Indie publisher ESDigital Games and Toronto-based film and game production studio Lofty Sky Entertainment, just returned from participating in the Summer Game Fest where the latter’s new game Sky of Tides, was well received by press and creators at the Guerilla Collective + The MIX event and SGF Play Days. The game is slated for release this year on PC via Steam and the Epic Game Store, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One and X/S consoles and the Nintendo Switch.

Sky of Tides is a story-driven sci-fi adventure with RPG elements set in a technologically advanced universe on the brink of war. Set on Numen9, the game explores the aftermath of a great calamity that fractured the planet, floated the oceans into the sky, and split the land into nine separate planetoids. Players follow Rin, who must search for her missing father following his disappearance under mysterious circumstances and heal the broken planet of Numen9. Along her journey, Rin encounters a diverse cast of characters that present choices that will shape both Rin and Numen9’s future.

32 Endings, But Balance Rules the Day

Sky of Tides has been compared to other recent, popular narrative RPG adventures but with a key difference. Although the game has 32 endings, balance (not min-max) leads to the true ending. Outcomes in the game are tied to the player’s ability to reach thresholds in each of the five character stat categories — compassion, intelligence, courage, luck, and humor. 

“This is a broken, divided world that’s totally out of balance,” explained creative director Judith Cheung. “Rather than just using what’s been done before, we felt the mechanic should come naturally from the character’s motivations in the story. Players have agency to pursue any path they desire, but Numen9 is a world in need of balance, and the game rewards that.”

Achieving balance unlocks the game's true ending and leads to a special reward: During the initial release and for a limited time, players who attain the true ending will unlock the entire five-episode exclusive animated series set in the same world, right inside the game. 

A True Transmedia Experience

In what may be an industry first, Sky of Tides will feature an original animated series that will be available exclusively for a limited time and at no extra charge to players who beat the game. The five-episode Sky of Tides: Atla, which explores the Sky of Tides world Numen9 from the perspective of another protagonist, Atla Gildeon, will unlock inside the game for players who are able to complete the title’s stated goal of obtaining balance. The series will also be included in special retail box sets of the game being sold by ESDigital Games. More platforms where the series can be watched will be announced at a later date. 

An Inclusive Game Featuring Female Creatives

Sky of Tides is an accessible game that features core adventure mechanics and RPG elements yet relies on an extremely rich and innovative story. Designed to appeal to a broad audience, the narrative particularly resonates with some of the female development leads who have created a game they would have enjoyed playing in their youth, and a female protagonist to whom they see their young daughters relate. Senior game designer Lan Roed and creative director Judith Cheung both grew up in a time where games were dominated by males. Now, with females accounting for half of the gaming population, they believe the world is becoming more inclusive and that games should reflect that change.

“Lofty Sky as a studio is majority owned by a BIPOC woman. The studio encourages a creative environment that tries things that go beyond the traditional male gaming demographic, even though this game can be enjoyed by all genders. In our playtesting feedback, a lot of guys enjoyed Sky of Tides and its storylines too,” said Cheung. “Making the lead protagonists young females in both the game and TV series was a natural decision, and it was important to me when creating character models to ensure women weren’t sexualized. I feel a great source of pride in making something I can enjoy with my girls knowing they are represented in the IP because I didn’t have that growing up.”

Key Features:

  • A unique and in-depth world design where the oceans are floating in the sky.

  • Player choices help shape Rin’s character and fate.

  • 32 distinct endings based on the player’s character stats.

  • An approach to RPGs that is different from traditional min-maxing. The dev team believes this kind of anti-RPG approach will appeal to players looking for a different type of experience and those who appreciate when developers innovate with mechanics to align with the story..

  • More streamlined than a traditional RPG and more interactive than most visual novels.

  • Transmedia IP, which has both a game and animated TV series in the same world is unique for an indie studio.

  • If players beat the game by maintaining a balance of stats, they’ll unlock the TV series “Atla” for free.

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