There is a certain magic in Fading Skies that we still can’t fully grasp or explain, something that transcends our understanding…

Fading Skies

In our experience, we’ve encountered extraordinary video games that have left a lasting mark on our souls. Some took time to grow on us, while others, despite having all the right elements, ultimately failed to make the impact we desired. And then there’s Fading Skies—for us, it was love at first sight.

Don’t ask us why; it’s one of those irrational and probably inexplicable feelings tied solely to the personal experience one has with a creative project, shaped by our tastes and the nuances of our inner selves—an unwritten rule. For us, it’s likely connected to our childhood years when we were just kids—silly, somewhat unaware, but ultimately happy. Discovering a game that evokes those vibes, reminiscent of the times we spent playing Jak and Daxter or Spyro, was like a jolt to the heart, in the best possible way.

So, let’s set aside our emotions for a moment and try to discuss it rationally, while still allowing you to be swept away by the magical aura that defines this project.

Ah, the good old days

Developed by Distant Blue, a small independent German studio founded by Marc and Ronja Fleps, Fading Skies is a charming, story-rich fantasy action-adventure that combines elements of classic 3D platformers and modern action RPGs.

In their debut venture into the gaming world, Distant Blue is a young indie game developer couple passionate about creating vibrant worlds to explore, captivating stories to immerse players in, and memorable characters to bond with. Their goals is to deliver experiences that resonate deeply with players, leaving an enduring imprint on their hearts and minds.

Did you grow up on a steady diet of 3D platformers and are now searching for a game that recaptures the carefree joy of those times? Well, Fading Skies is exactly what you need. It’s an homage to the great classics that defined the PS2 era, featuring an emotional story, a fantastic and fun cast of characters, and a vibrant, beautiful open world filled with wonderful places to discover and ancient threats to overcome.

Can you feel that irresistible wave of nostalgia capturing every corner of your mind? If the answer is yes, then you’ve caught the right vibes. So, hop in the time machine and journey back with us to the early 2000s!

Once upon a time, there was a young girl and her dragon companion

The storyline of Fading Skies, though simple and straightforward in its premise, is intriguing and no less captivating. After all, who says a video game needs a complex and convoluted plot to be appreciated?

From the very first moments, the narrative immerses us in a fantasy world full of mystery, threatened by a dark force that is pushing its stability to the brink. Players will step into the shoes of Ryn (voiced by Madeline Dorroh), a young girl haunted by the shadows of her forgotten past, accompanied by her steadfast travel companion, a cat-sized dragon. Yet, we soon learn that this seemingly innocuous creature is far more than a mere companion to the protagonist. It harbors immense power, capable of endowing Ryn with extraordinary abilities and skills.

Their mission? To rescue the planet from seemingly endless corruption, which has reduced its natural wonders to rubble, haunted by wrathful spirits that have transformed what people once knew as civilization into a distant memory. All that remains is nature, the sole force resisting the unalterable course of events, but even it is on the verge of succumbing to the inevitable.

Ryn’s task is to vanquish the echoes of the past that lurk insidiously in her fragile mind and become what she is destined to be: the savior, the one who will break the chains afflicting the planet. This adventure will take her to the farthest corners of the world, with the aim of saving a land closely connected to her history and identity.

Between Tradition and Innovation

It is often said that without tradition, there is no innovation, and conversely, without innovation, tradition has no future. This balance is a fine line that must be skillfully maintained in the creative arts, without leaning too heavily to one side or the other. Fading Skies embodies the essence of this perfect balance, seamlessly blending tradition and innovation.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, platformers experienced their golden age, producing true gems that rewrote the rules of game and level design. These iconic titles remain benchmarks for both small and large studios.

However, today, that alone is not enough. While many players still appreciate the distinctive traits of classic action platformers, for others, these features have lost their appeal. Thus, many software houses, studios, and even the smallest indie developers are compelled to reinvent themselves, updating their platformer formulas to avoid being perceived as outdated or obsolete, and to stay relevant with modern trends. Take, for example, the latest installment in the Ratchet & Clank series, Rift Apart, a project that skillfully updated the gameplay formula to keep up with the times—an evolution that has been highly praised by fans of the series.

As mentioned, the developers of Fading Skies are adopting a hybrid formula, featuring extensive platforming sections and a wide variety of puzzles that pay homage to the great classics of the past. There is also a modern twist that allows players to shape their own gaming experience, with a comprehensive upgrade system that significantly impacts Ryn’s combat abilities, exploration, and traversal, perfectly aligning with modern action RPGs. All of this takes place in a vast and diverse open world, teeming with points of interest, activities, hidden areas, dungeons, and mysterious remnants of an ancient civilization.

Fading Skies

Regarding the game world, the developers have yet to reveal detailed information about the density of their open world or the number of biomes it will include. However, the game description offers a few small hints, mentioning vibrant meadows, treacherous mountains, serene forests, and thundering canyons. It appears that biodiversity will not be lacking in the world of Fading Skies. As we often say, given that it is an open world, we hope the team at Distant Blue will skillfully balance the main quest and side quests, prioritizing the quality of the content over the quantity.

The game, powered by Unreal Engine 5, boasts outstanding art design—one of its most remarkable features to date. It showcases impressive attention to detail in both the environmental design and the artistic rendering of characters and their animations.

Additionally, as previously mentioned, the game will feature a robust RPG component, offering players extensive customization options that significantly impact the core gameplay mechanics.

The combat system, which includes both melee and ranged attacks, will be a central mechanic that players must master quickly. Proficiency in combat is crucial as it is the only way to defeat corrupt beasts, calm their souls, and restore balance. Furthermore, defeating these beasts grants players essential abilities, such as the capacity to wield magic, enabling them to dash further, fly higher, and access new areas in the world that would otherwise be unreachable.

Enhancing your abilities will be crucial to your success. To achieve this, you’ll need to thoroughly explore the game world and uncover the secrets hidden within the lush forests. In Fading Skies, there are several ways to learn new skills and expand your skill tree. Some methods are straightforward, while others are more complex, requiring you to learn by familiarizing yourself with the vast world and connecting with nature. If you encounter playful spirits, appeasing them will grant you access to temples, which house the ancient knowledge of the predecessors. Here, you can learn exclusive magical abilities that will be invaluable throughout your adventure.

Fading Skies

A video game worth keeping a close eye on

There are numerous aspects of Fading Skies that have truly captivated us. However, if we’re being honest, it’s the enchanting aura surrounding it that stands out the most, making it utterly irresistible. The fact that it harkens back to iconic titles in the platform video game genre is undeniably positive. Could it be that we have the spiritual successor to Jak & Daxter right before our eyes, and we simply hadn’t realized it until now?

Another aspect we’re eagerly anticipating is the OST, which will be crafted by Andreas Scheffer with the special collaboration of Emi Evans. A brief snippet of this can be heard in the re-reveal trailer, and it perfectly complements the visuals shown by the developers, creating a perfect harmony between audio and video.

Fading Skies: Re-Reveal Trailer

Fading Skies currently does not have a set release date. The game is expected to be released soon on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S. At this time, there are no plans to extend the release to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One.

Towards the end of summer, specifically on September 3, 2024, as noted on the project’s BackerKit page, Distant Blue will launch a crowdfunding campaign for Fading Skies. This campaign is a crucial step for the project’s future, as the feedback received will significantly influence the game’s development roadmap and the developers’ plans. For more information about the campaign, visit the project’s pages on BackerKit and Kickstarter.

If you’re eager to experience the game and join Ryn in the magical world of Fading Skies, you can do so during the Steam Next Fest in June 2024. The team will release the first public demo, lasting 2-3 hours, on June 10. For more details, visit Distant Blue’s X account and the game’s Steam page.

Stay tuned for updates on the project. Until next time!

Grown up with MediEvil and DOOM and fascinated by the video game world since 1998. This passion stems from a desire to discover and research the videogame at 360 degrees, with particular attention to the Indie scene.