Summer Game Fest Interview: A Nightingale World Building Fantasy

Building the Fantasy World of Nightingale 

Nightingale is a unique take on the survival crafting genre.

Blending the look of gaslamp fantasy with portals and the gameplay of the survival crafting genre, the game brings a new way to play with your friends in a wild fantastical environment. The PvE open-world survival crafting experience is being worked on by the people at Inflexion Games in Alberta, Canada, and headed by former BioWare boss Aaryn Flynn.

Come explore the mystical world of Nightingale, where you and your friends will have to brave magical creatures like fairies in order to stay alive. With new ways to play in the genre, like portals and procedural generation, Nightingale is sure to inspire anyone who jumps in. So gather your friends and see if you can make it through this enchanting adventure!

While at Summer Game Fest, CGMagazine had the opportunity to speak to Aaryn Flynn about Nightingale and why people should be excited. From the unique setting, to the ways friends can work together to deliver a wholly new experience, Nightingale is looking more exciting the more details slowly emerge. 

Building The Fantasy World Of Nightingale  1

CGMagazine: Let’s start by discussing what makes Nightingale something people should be excited about?

Aaryn Flynn: Nightingale is a shared world survival crafting game set in our own Victorian era gaslamp fantasy universe. You will experience a shared world where you can play with your friends and do all the survival crafting gameplay that makes the genre so fun, including building. Nightingale is set in our Victorian era gaslamp fantasy universe that takes place in an alternate history where magic has been on Earth for hundreds of years.

The way magic manifests itself is the magic of portals. People use these portals and get to these magical realms. It’s one of our own concepts. We built all the IP ourselves, and we get a chance to do some really cool world building in the survival crafting genre.

CGMagazine: What is the gameplay loop of Nightingale for someone that is just jumping into the game and is wanting to experience what the game has to offer?

Aaryn Flynn: It would be very much survival crafting. You’re going to discover things when you’re in a space, collect those resources, bring those back to your state, use them to craft better gear, upgrade your state, etc. And then what we revealed during Summer Games Fast is this idea of realm cards. When you go through a portal, you have a chance to control what’s on the other side of that portal. Because we procedurally generate all the routes. 

By doing that, in the realm part of the portal, you get to play realm cards that set the kind of environment you’re going to see on the other side of that, what creatures, what bonuses you might have, et cetera. You get a lot of control by collecting and crafting those realm cards. What’s going to happen, and that experience is also very social, so if you and I are playing together, you might play a card, I can play a card, and think “Great, this is good, and we’re going to get the other side’s,” and it’s going to reflect that.

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CGMagazine: How did you come up with the designs, and how did you build out the world of Nightingale?

Aaryn Flynn: It’s a great question. We took inspiration from books that we had a lot of fun with, like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. We wanted to do a contemporary fantasy game, meaning it was full of influences and things that you’re going to recognize, like these outfits. But then, just a little bit more fantastical, a little more exaggerated, etc. As opposed to high fantasy or science fiction. And then we just let our developers go loose, and they had a lot of fun with the genre. They are really enjoying it, and trying to come up with fascinating novel new ways to push it and to, and to give some real character.

CGMagazine: You mentioned Nightingale takes place in an alternate history. How did you come up with that setting, and how did you work out all the characters that live within it?

Aaryn Flynn: So, we have actually had that setting for a long time now. I think we took a lot of the contemporary fantasy idea, again, it’s very relatable. We like the idea of portals and giving these realms their own personalities, and we really love the idea of players getting a chance to influence and control those realms they explore. 

So we have been working hard on our technology, to procedurally generate these realms, and do that, and that’s been an enormous investment for our studio. Then letting players unleash their creativity in this realm. Letting them build things and letting them craft things and customize things, and giving them that setting to let all that harmonize together, has been foundational.

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CGMagazine: You mentioned procedural generation, how do you make sure that the worlds don’t feel chaotic? A problem many games that use the tech can suffer from.

Aaryn Flynn: It’s a good question. We have to expose the right variables to players in the form of realm cards, but ultimately, I think our big attempt here is to say, “you know, as much as that can happen in other games, what if we at least put that in the hands of the players and say what’s really inside is going to be because of the cards you play. Now go experiment with that and see what you get.” We just want to flip it around and empower our players to decide who doesn’t want to do it by giving them these realm cards to craft and play and see what comes out.

CGMagazine: What tech did you use to build Nightingale, and how did it fit the project you were trying to build?

Aaryn Flynn: The game is built on unreal, some of our developers do unreal from working on aspects. And so we love the engine. We’ve had a great partnership with Epic since the early days and just put a lot of investment into things and building what we have here.

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CGMagazine: What would you tell gamers that may be on the fence about jumping into Nightingale since they don’t know the genre?

Aaryn Flynn: I would hope that the world building would be intriguing to them. They would see characters, and they would see something mysterious that draws them in and pulls them in. We hope that’s the way in, to make them really curious about it and want to give it a try. And so I think that’s what we’re trying to really make sure is very strong in our game, that sense of mystery and world building, and uniqueness in the genre.

CGMagazine: When is Nightingale coming out?

Aaryn Flynn: [Nightingale] is coming the end of this year for PC, God willing, knock on wood.

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