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Atone is inspired in equal parts by TV shows like Samurai Jack and Norse mythology. It’s a story-driven puzzler that explores a colorful fantasy world with mysterious geometries in its landscape and musical battles that borrow mechanics from rhythm games. It’s Wildboy Studios’ debut title, and it is due out in 2019 on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

Players will take the role of Estra, a warrior who’s on a quest to save Midgard after its gods have abandoned it. Her quest is inextricably entwined with the Elder Tree, which is the source of great power, as well as her family’s past. On the way, she’ll also solve puzzles and fight enemies, but the New Zealand indie studio has said that Atone’s story is paramount.

“We wanted room to build our ideas and play with some of these [Norse] stories by adding our own flavour to it,” said Wildboy designer Sid Bardiya in an email to GamesBeat. “Learning about how vast and complex the Norse world is has been an unbelievable task. In doing so, much of our narrative has twists and turns, so there isn’t a right or wrong path. We particularly liked how the animals have such a presence in this mythology and how they co-exist with these incredible gods.”

Estra will encounter plenty of characters and learn things about her lineage as she progresses through Atone, all of which is flavored with Norse lore. The combat system also takes its cue from history — to execute attacks, players will have to press the right buttons on the gamepad at the right time, and the music is inspired by Viking battle hymns. Wildboy software engineer Patric Corletto says that the studio wanted the combat to “enhance our characters, their emotions, and expressions.”

“The battle system was the part of the game that we had the most issues with, until we decided that a visually compelling rhythmic battle system, complete with its own style and dedicated synth-wave soundtrack, would be the perfect way to do so,” said Corletto. “Each battle is different and plays a major role in advancing the plot. It integrates with the storytelling, while offering a challenging experience.”

Atone’s colorful, sharp-edged design takes inspiration from Samurai Jack as well as from classic indie titles like Capybara Games’ Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and Ustwo Games’ Monument Valley.

“In terms of overall game structure and story however, our main inspiration came from the game Undertale, focusing largely on narrative and writing, while incorporating a unique combat system with quirky and memorable characters to bump into along your journey,” said Wildboy artist Ben Costeloe. “It really helped us imagine what was important about our own evolving narrative-focused game.”

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