Overworks and Sega’s Skies of Arcadia, originally released for Dreamcast and subsequently ported to GameCube, is one of the most beloved RPGs of all time, but we’re yet to see a modern remaster. Sky Oceans: Wings for Hire, a newly announced RPG from developer Octeto Studios and publisher PQube, looks like it might scratch that sky pirate itch in the meantime, however.
In Sky Oceans: Wings for Hire, we join a world that was shattered into pieces during a cataclysm known as The Great Scattering. Much of human civilisation was wiped out, and the surviving landmasses were thrown into the skies. Several centuries later, the surviving remnants of humanity have formed new tribes and learned to adapt to a life in the skies.
You’ll take on the role of Glenn Windwalker, a young captain who is keen to explore this strange, shattered world, and whose dress sense is most certainly inspired by Vyse. Like the classic Skies of Arcadia, Sky Oceans: Wings for Hire will see you, as Glenn, adventuring both on foot and in your airship — and, of course, that latter part means that there will be spectacular turn-based dogfights to engage in.
Not many details about the overarching plot of Sky Oceans: Wings for Hire have been revealed as yet, but a significant portion of the game sounds like it will involve Glenn travelling around, recruiting new members to his crew and developing his relationships with them. It’s the life of a captain for you!
Octeto Studios and PQube are keen to emphasise the varied backgrounds of the various potential crew members, and an important part of gameplay will involve keeping your crew members happy in order to ensure that they will perform well in battle. Conversations will feature dialogue options, and various choices will affect how your crew members feel about you, so you’ll need to take care not to upset anyone if you want them to perform at their best!
As you progress, you’ll be able to upgrade the abilities of both your crew and your airships with new equipment. Gathering resources will be an important part of gameplay, as will gaining the loyalty of various settlements by helping solve their problems.
The game draws specific inspiration from Studio Ghibli anime, with distinctive character designs and varied environments, and the game is complemented by an orchestrated original soundtrack to keep things suitably cinematic and exciting.
With Skies of Arcadia being one of the most beloved RPGs of all time — particularly to those who played it back when it was “current” — Sky Oceans: Wings for Hire most definitely has some big boots to fill, because the comparisons to its spiritual precursor will be inevitable. What we’ve seen so far looks promising, though; the distinctive, colourful visuals give the game a pleasantly energetic look, and the enormously varied character designs suggest that we’ll be in for an interesting time building our crew and developing our relationships with them.
There’s no confirmed release date for Sky Oceans: Wings for Hire as yet, but it should be with us sometime in 2024. It’s set for release on Windows PC via Steam, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series shenanigans and Nintendo Switch. Interestingly, in contrast to a lot of other modern releases like this, it’s seemingly skipping PS4 and Xbox One despite also coming out on the less powerful Nintendo Switch hardware, and the PS4 in particular still having a strong market for this type of game.
We’ll doubtless hear more on Sky Oceans: Wings for Hire in the coming months. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to PQube and Octeto Studios’ social media channels for more information and the latest news as it’s revealed.
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