The Pathless’ Open-World Abandons Conventional Features for a Unique Experience

Abzû developer Giant Squid unveiled its open-world title The Pathless at The Game Awards in 2018. Though it was set for a 2019 release, the project clearly missed the mark. But it’s finally returned to the spotlight, looking and sounding even more impressive than before. Especially appealing is its abandonment of traditional open-world conceits. For example, The Pathless will not feature a map, fast travel, or game over settings.

Giant Squid showcased six minutes of fresh gameplay footage during Sony’s recent State of Play stream. Traversal, puzzles, and the open-world all sit center-stage in the following demo for The Pathless:

In The Pathless, players are to assume the role of The Hunter, a master archer who aims to rid her world of a “curse of darkness.” She’ll be joined by her eagle companion on this journey, who assists her in navigating and exploring the mythic landscape.

Talismans planted throughout the world are what The Hunter must shoot to gain momentum and move at a quicker pace. From the player’s point of view, however, this mechanic won’t revolve around precision. Instead, striking the talismans, and any other object with the bow, will be all about timing. Such maneuvers are also designed to factor into the eagle’s flight mechanics that The Hunter uses to soar over the land.

In a game about traversal and exploring, one would think the map is of the utmost importance. Yet, a traditional open-world map doesn’t factor into this particular experience at all. Enter the significance of The Hunter’s mask. It allows her to “peer into the spirit world and discover distant landmarks.” The helpful tools attached to this feature even show players where they’ve been previously. Naturally, using the mask at higher vantage points will prove especially beneficial when trying to discover a new path forward.

Beyond the exploring and puzzle-solving adventures, The Hunter will face “giant cursed spirits,” all of whom want to separate her from the eagle companion. Interestingly, failing to beat the cursed creatures won’t result in a typical game over screen. Rather, being defeated results in The Hunter’s having the crystals that she’s collected knocked out of her. Instead of losing time, the player loses their progression towards gaining new upgrades. 

The Pathless doesn’t have a release date, but is “coming soon” to the PS5.

[Source: PlayStation Blog]