Let’s be honest — 2020 has been the kind of year where you find yourself staring jealously out the window at the birds. They look so free and happy. Unburdened by the pandemic, or the cruel force of gravity. Thinking only about where their next chip is coming from (seagulls), or how they could best traumatise a small child (magpies).
In that way, Feather is the perfect game for this time. It’s a quiet, meditative experience where you explore islands as a bird, all while listening to relaxing music.
Feather is a four-year labour of love from Melbourne studio Samurai Punk. According to Nicholas McDonnell, director/artist at Samurai Punk, Feather originally started as a small way to relax after working on heavier titles.
“At the time we were deep in production on The American Dream and I was looking for something less… intense to just tool around with. It eventually grew into something very special for the team as it was both relaxing to make and play,” he said in an email interview. “I had been studying games that focused on intrinsic vs extrinsic reward schemes and wanted to make Feather have worth to the player despite not having goals or an explicit story.”
This isn’t a game for players who crave direction, but rather one for those who crave aimless freedom. There aren’t any quests to fetch, skulls to uncover, or mercenaries to murder. There is only the open sky and, should your aim be off, the unforgiving ground. Feather is a world where there is no death, only exploration, like when you were a kid in the woods. Or, if that’s not your jam, boredom (but hopefully the former).
For McDonnell it was that unstructured play that was the heart of the game. “With more and more games being pushed towards GAS (Games As Service) and violent/combat focused content not going anywhere, it’s just important to give people something fresh. Especially if that means taking away a lot of the trappings of capital G games.”
Feather launched on consoles today, updated with a new island and cross play, so you can fly the skies with your friends no matter which console they have. Other additions to the original PC version include six new songs, four new birds, more wind, and a hidden depth beneath the islands (which is less sinister than it sounds). If trophies and achievements are your jam, this is a pretty easy way to get them, too.