Bossa Games, the developer of I Am Bread, I Am Fish and Surgeon Simulator, has announced its next game. It’s called Lost Skies, and in many ways it’s a significant departure from Bossa’s previous sandbox efforts.
Lost Skies is an upcoming open-world co-op adventure where up to six players work together to explore a world made up of floating islands, build flying ships, and take on gigantic monsters. It’s planned for a PC release in 2024, but will enter what Bossa calls “open development” later this year, allowing the community to access and test vertical slices and provide feedback to shape Lost Skies development.
Expect the unexpected
According to Bossa Games CEO Henrique Olifiers, Lost Skies can play single-player as well as co-op, and solo play is sometimes incentivized to aid the group’s overall cooperative efforts. It tells us that combat includes two components. One is “ground” combat, where “ground” is used a bit loosely because, according to Olifiers, everyone chatting about “Spider-Man-style” will be in very vertical spaces. The other is ship combat, with customizable flying ships designed to deal with much larger creatures that act as enemies and puzzles.
While not willing to share too many in-depth details about the gameplay just yet, Olifiers described the two “drivers” of the gameplay as surviving in the world, and fighting these massive “protector” creatures with friends, one in each area of the game. Lost Skies. With these two motivations, Oliviers adds that he wants players to feel free — similar to that of Bossa’s earlier smaller sandboxes — that they’re “always looking for something on the horizon” that sparks curiosity and strategy. He wants players to feel they can do anything they can imagine.
“I have this saying that ‘a good game is when something happens that you didn’t expect,’” he says. “My fondest memory of multiplayer games was when I was standing there in Ultima when someone took advantage of [fire field] To kill a British lord in the game, or when I’m going on raids in World of Warcraft, and my friends ask me, “Who’s got the potions?” And we look at each other: “What doses?” That’s what we go to the tavern later to talk about. So we want to create the ones in Lost Skies. every hour one of those [experiences] It happens, and the only way for us to craft is to give players the means to play the way they want.”
When we spoke with Olifiers before Lost Skies was announced, we asked why the studio was going in such a grander, adventurous direction after years of games where you play as a piece of bread trying to make its way to a toaster through a room. full of dangers. Olifiers acknowledged that Lost Skies was a shift in “look and theme” from previous Bossa games, and said that the studio’s logic came from the long-running development process of constantly doing an in-game jam.
According to the Olifiers, every Bossa game is made from game jam, and the studio has dozens of in-house prototypes that never see the light of day. But, he continues, this means that historically all Bossa games have been started from scratch: since they don’t build on the foundation of something else, development takes a lot of time.
So Bossa Games wants to focus, and through the discussion, the team found that many of its members were enthusiastic about survival and co-op games such as Valheim, Project Zomboid, and 7 Days to Die. By focusing on and obsessing over that space very privately for a while, Bossa created Lost Skies.
Return to Adrift Worlds
Notably, Lost Skies is supposed to take place in the same universe as the previously closed MMO, Worlds Adrift. Worlds Adrift entered Early Access in 2017, but was discontinued two years later due to the game being no longer commercially viable. We asked Oliviers why Bossa revisited this universe despite the difficulties of his first endeavor.
“We really tried to take advantage of all the hindsight we had with Worlds Adrift,” he says. “What worked, what didn’t, and to create a completely new game in this universe that so many people fell in love with that we never fully understood… Hindsight is very helpful. You have the advantage of going back and doing something again, but with that experience, It’s like riding a bike. You can’t ride a bike very well the first time you do it.”
One of the ways Bossa is working to ensure the success of Lost Skies is by releasing them early in Open Development. Olifiers says Bossa currently has a group of a few hundred community members with full access to game builds who provide feedback and actively discuss with Bossa devs what they want to see from Lost Skies. The plan is to slowly grow this community over time.
While this may sound like a risky strategy, Olifiers says it’s one Bossa has a lot of experience with in her previous games. He has a website, Bossa Presents, where he features “weird and wonderful prototypes” for community feedback, and Olifiers says I Am Fish specifically was the result of a game jam prototype that community members fell in love with.
“I remember watching videos of people doing things in Surgeon Simulator that we didn’t think were possible, and then going back into the game and updating it and putting in achievements if someone else did it,” he says. “So, that kind of positive feedback loop is what we’ve been trying to do at Lost Skies from day one.”
Lost Skies is currently in development for a full PC release sometime in 2024, and Oliviers says Bossa is still considering a possible console release. And there are big long-term plans, too. Bossa has a “massive post-launch roadmap” in mind to support Lost Skies in the long term, hoping to keep the game going for years to come.
“You’re supposed to be our bread and butter, from now on, right?” Olifiers says. “Our life.”
Rebecca Valentine is a senior reporter at IGN. You can find her on Twitter @tweet.
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