Supergiant Games, developers of indie darling hits Transistor and Bastion, revealed their latest venture Pyre last week. it was fitting timing too, given that PAX East took place this weekend and played host to the first playable demo of Pyre – which turns out isn’t at all like any of the games Supergiant has made before. Pyre is still very much an RPG, but you’re going to be role-playing for better stats in its ethereal sports field instead of actual combat.
Pyre revolves around The Rites – a ritual which has your three playable character absolving themselves of their sins and escaping the purgatory they find themselves in. The Rites, as it turns out, are also a sort of sport, falling somewhere between basketball and dodge ball with the souls of your opponents on the line. You can see a little bit of the gameplay below, courtesy of Polygon’s own demo playthough at PAX this weekend.
You frequently swap between your three characters, each of whom have their own attributes. The smaller of the three is far more nimble and fast on the field, but can take less damage and deal out less with their aura blast than the largest, for example. You’ll have to intelligently swap between each of your characters while playing, throwing what looks like a ball between them while dodging enemy attacks. Teams are aiming to essentially dunk the ball into the pyre at the end of each side, slowly notching down its health in the process.
It’s a neat supernatural take on sport, which is a far cry from the more Action RPG focused efforts of Bastion and Transistor. Role-playing still features heavily though, with segments between Rites consisting of caravan travels with your three characters. Here the story takes charge, allowing you to interact in conversations while making important progression decisions at each night time camp fire. Do you choose to advance your characters skills, or use the time to gather resources to survive. It’s a smaller interlocked game that’s just as important to progress as the sports Rites themselves.
And looking even closer at the game, it’s evident that Pyre could end up turning into a more multiplayer focused title for Supergiant – something that isn’t lost on Creative Director Greg Kasavin. Speaking to Polygon, Kasavin notes that the sports centric approach does make multiplayer appealing, but that the team is focusing on a compelling single-player before even considering it.
“We are pretty interested in multiplayer. But our focus is very much on the solo campaign, the experience of it. The multiplayer is something we’re looking into, though.”
“A bad multiplayer experience is worse then none. We’re investigating what it would take to do that properly, but we regard the effort it would take with a great deal of respect.”
Pyre is out on PS4 and PC in 2017.
Last Updated: April 25, 2016