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The Myst-inspired visuals of For Each Our Roads of Winter Exclusive

October 8, 2014 | By Mike Rose

October 8, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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More: Console/PC, Indie, Art, Design, Exclusive, Video

Game jam enthusiast Sauhiro Orihaus has been lauded for his visual style in the past. His Ludum Dare game Lumiere won the graphics award, while Hunting Anubis, a dogfighting game prototyped during 7DFPS, once again showed this dev knows how to make with the pretty.

With this is mind, it's perhaps not surprising that the developer has decided to put visuals first with his latest project. For Each Our Roads of Winter is a Myst-inspired adventure game that is being built with the visuals at its center.

The New Zealand-based designer is working alongside Johannes Poell, another graphic designer based in Austria, to bring this combination of heavy procedural modelling and texturing techniques to the Unreal Engine 4. This photorealistic visual style combines elements of modern photography and antiquity works to stunning effect.

Orihaus is very cagey when I ask him how exactly he's achieving these effects, and whether or not other smaller studios can look into achieving a similar effect. "Having worked in a number of different styles, I think I can say that there isn't really any 'easy' style, at least if you want to pull them off without risking seeming derivative or simply uninteresting," he says.

But it's obvious that For Each Our Roads of Winter is being built with visuals at its core -- indeed, the developer isn't entirely fixed on how the game will play yet, although Myst will clearly be a big inspiration.

"What 'gameplay' will make it into the final game will likely be heavily centered around observing and understanding visual, architectural, and audial cues," he notes. "So it's pretty easy to see what comes first here!"

"In Myst and Riven at least, the core lynchpin of what makes them work, in my opinion, is how their narrative works with their world," he adds. "With 'linking books', Myst found a really tight central plot device that allowed them to explore its characters in a really original way, that also worked perfectly with what the player is actually doing in those games: exploring worlds."

The books in Myst, he argues, were essentially works of art that guided the players to discover the world, and helped to reflect the psyche of their writers.

"So from that," Orihaus reasons, "I'd say that a really important element in this genre is finding a good framework for letting the player explore in their own mind as much as in the game itself, the core questions of why these worlds you're exploring are the way they are."

For Each Our Roads of Winter will be released in five episodes, with the first due to be released in mid 2015.

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