At this time’s pre-Game Awards Healthful Snack presentation closed with a little bit of a banger: Europa, “a peaceable game of journey, exploration, and meditation” that appears firmly in the identical vein as Sable and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild⁠—a stupendous, stylized open world journey with an emphasis on discovery and puzzle fixing.

Writer Future Pals Video games writes “On the moon Europa, a lush terraformed paradise in Jupiter’s shadow, an android named Zee units out looking for solutions.” Future Pals says gamers will “run, glide, and fly throughout the panorama, clear up mysteries within the ruins of a fallen utopia, and uncover the story of the final human alive.”

Europa’s major developer is Helder Pinto, an atmosphere artist who has labored on Overwatch and Overwatch 2. Pinto appears to nonetheless be actively employed at Blizzard, at the very least based on his LinkedIn, and it is mind-boggling to me that somebody may make one thing this dazzling whereas already having a day job making video games, however Pinto’s atmosphere artwork experience is clear in Europa.

I really like how the trailer begins with a shot of Jupiter looming behind lush green hills. It instantly communicates the setting, the terraformed Jovian moon, but in addition? I am simply at all times blissful to see a videogame skybox get nutty with it. Dragon Age and The Elder Scrolls took the Coward’s Gambit and simply subbed in a jpeg of Mars for our personal moon to make their “alien skies”— boring! I wish to see extra just like the GOAT, Majora’s Masks, and its killer moon regularly descending into the Earth, or the looter shooter Future, which has its personal nice Jupiter-dominated skyboxes in its depictions of Io and Europa.

There is a throughline within the architectural model of the ruins in Europa, that are harking back to Studio Ghibli’s Fort within the Sky. In any other case although the trailer showcases a fantastic number of biomes. You have obtained verdant fields, a deep, presumably underground canyon, snowy mountaintops, and a fancy laid out like a French chateau.

One sequence reveals Zee platforming amidst ruins floating within the clouds, and there are a variety of flying islands all through the trailer. I feel that is an thrilling concept for Europa’s world⁠—a few of my favourite sequences in Sable concerned floating islands, and BotW’s sequel, Tears of the Kingdom, appears to be leaning into this form of design as nicely. 

With all our seamless open worlds today, there is a shameful paucity of floating islands in video games, and Europa appears to significantly ship on that entrance. Europa is at present set to launch in 2023, and you may wishlist it now on Steam. I for one cannot wait to vibe in some mournful sci-fi/fantasy flying cities and perhaps get my coronary heart damaged by some tastefully tragic lore.

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ruins in the sky with Jupiter in the background

(Picture credit score: Helder Pinto)
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Ruins and a waterfall in Europa

(Picture credit score: Helder Pinto)
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Snowy field and frozen lake in Europa

(Picture credit score: Helder Pinto)
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wide open ruins in Europa under blue skies

(Picture credit score: Helder Pinto)
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Zee flying through fields in Europa

(Picture credit score: Helder Pinto)