Falling Squirrel, Canadian indie developer and winner of the 2018 Ubisoft Indie Series Special Prize, has just announced that their action-adventure game, The Vale, is coming to Windows PC via Steam this August. This is exciting news for a number of reasons, chief among them being the accessibility of the game for those with visual impairment, while also being immersive and highly compelling for sighted gamers, as well.
The developers of The Vale heavily consulted with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) during development. The game forgoes traditional visual design and relies heavily upon binaural audio technology, haptic feedback, and triple-A storytelling that will create a compelling and highly engaging experience for sighted and visually impaired gamers alike. The Vale offers a literally eyes-shut, out of the box experience for sighted players.
In The Vale, players are thrown into an emotional story of the second-to-the-throne – blind from birth and newly exiled to the edge of the kingdom as their elder brother is crowned king. The hero, embodied by the player, relishes breaking free from their sheltered existence and finally gets to experience adventure as they travel to the borderlands. The player’s hapless caravan is attacked not far into their journey as hordes of troops invade, ravaging the land and heading towards the capital. With the help of a local shepherd, players must master skills, branching magic, befriend companions and survive the treacherous long and perilous expedition home. Along the way, they will reveal startling truths about their kingdom, the land, and the royal family.
The Vale will offer all of the following features which will help make the game a moving, engaging experience for all gamers:
- Accessible Gaming For All: Haptic controller feedback, binaural audio technology, and cinematic voice acting guides players through battle, quests and cut scenes, making this an experience that is accessible to visually impaired and sighted players alike.
- Diverse Soundscape Environments: The bustle of busy villages, the gentle rustling of leaves through the trees in the forests, the eerie echos of the unknown in dank caves — full 3-dimensional sound surrounds players as they adventure over 20 diverse locations ripe for exploration.
- Immersive Medieval Combat: Players are immersed in the action in a way that is completely refreshing as enemies attack with random and story-based encounters, boss battles, and more. During combat, intuitive battle clamor guides players towards enemies as they attack and defend against their foes.
- Meaningful RPG Elements: Presented with a choice of gender and combat styles, players will guide their fully-voiced hero and build their potential as they unlock branching magic paths, loot enemies, hunt animals for valuable items, and visit shops to purchase weapons and armor — each with unique sounds and stats.
- A Story for the Ages: With branching narratives determined by player choice, over 20 side quests and more than 20 audio cut scenes, players will uncover twists and surprises as they travel the land and speak with the many unique and fully voiced characters they encounter.
The Vale will be coming to Steam for PC in August 2019.