Inkle announces a new game called Heaven’s Vault. Speaking at GDC 2017, the developer described the game as an “character-driven graphic novel crossed with an open-world adventure game” and confirmed that it has a non-white female protagonist.
Inkle is best known for developing 80 Days, its critically acclaimed interactive fiction game based on Around the World in 80 Days.
Heaven’s Vault Stars a Female Protagonist and an Open-World
Describing the title as its “most ambitious, beautiful and complex game to date,” Heaven’s Vault stars female protagonist Aliya ‘El’ Elasra. Alongside her robot assistant Six, El studies and researches a place called The Nebula which is a “network of rivers, flowing from one moon to the next, carrying air and water between scattered clusters of civilisation.”
As the two companions “piece together a complex past” and “discover a secret that will change the future,” they will “sail rivers of starlight, translate lost languages, and investigate ancient ruins.” Inkle also hints that players will become “a thief, an explorer, a detective, a seeker, a saviour, a rogue” and possibly even more.
Although Inkle has yet to release a Heaven’s Vault trailer that shows off the game in action, its list of inspirations does inspire plenty of confidence. The developer says that its puzzle-solving elements are inspired by The Witness, its open-world is inspired by Shadow of the Colossus, Firewatch and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and its character art takes inspiration from The Banner Saga.
Inkle also cites “Islamic art, architecture and caligraphy” along with Dr Monica Hanna’s work regarding protecting Egyptian antiquities as other, non-gaming inspirations. The Heaven’s Vault press kit even name checks fictional movie archaeologist Indiana Jones as one of its influences suggesting that female character El is as brave and daring as she is smart and inquisitive.
Heaven’s Vault “won’t be ready for some time,” though it will launch on desktop, mobile and consoles. There’s no word on specific platforms just yet but we’ll keep you posted once Inkle makes an official announcement.