In Solar Ash, "Traversal Absolutely Takes Precedence," Says Creative Director

Though Solar Ash does feature combat, the game is primarily geared towards delivering a fluid and approachable movement-based experience.


A new trailer for Solar Ash debuted during the Annapurna Interactive Showcase, revealing that developer Heart Machine's upcoming game will launch for PS5, PS4, and PC on October 26. The trailer showcases a bit more of what exploration looks like in Solar Ash which, according to creative director Alx Preston, is the first-and-foremost focus for the game.

"We're traversal first," Preston told GameSpot. "That was kind of the vision of the game: Control the traversal, the environments that you're moving through, and the spectacle of it all. Especially the scale on the grandiosity of it just feeling impossibly large and you're feeling really tiny and insignificant in as many ways as possible. The traversal absolutely takes precedence and the combat is kind of intermingled with that traversal."

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Now Playing: Solar Ash - Official Gameplay Trailer

To do that, Heart Machine has designed Solar Ash's movement mechanics to be fairly easy to grasp. You will have to practice to achieve the same level of fluidity seen in trailers. But when I asked Preston, he said that Solar Ash's movement more closely resembles the easy-to-pick-up web-swinging mechanics of Marvel's Spider-Man than the carefully timed button presses and precise turns needed to perform an amazing aerial goal in Rocket League.

"I would say it's pretty approachable," Preston said. "I think we're very aware of how challenging a third person game can be with a freeform camera."

"If you're comfortable with third-person action games, you're not going to find anything super wild here where you have to be pressing both triggers in tandem or anything like that. I would say it'll be pretty straightforward how to manage your character."

With all this focus on traversal, you'll need somewhere to go. According to Preston, Solar Ash delivers with an open environment. "I would say [the world] is kind of--it's open," Preston said. "It's very big and open in a lot of ways, but it's not an open-world game. I'm not going to sit here and be like 'You can go anywhere,' like you can go to Gannon's castle right away or anything like that. There's an order to things."

And yes, if you buy Solar Ash for PlayStation 5, you will experience different sensations and sounds while moving around thanks to the PS5 DualSense controller's 3D audio and haptic feedback. "I won't get too into detail other than the DualSense is super rad and we're going to do some stuff with it," Preston said.

Several other games were shown off during the Annapurna Showcase, such as the memory-driven interactive story A Memoir Blue and card-based, speedrunning-focused Neon White.

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