Meghna Jayanth, the award-winning writer and narrative designer of games like 80 Days, Sunless Sea, Horizon: Zero Dawn and Sable, has confirmed she’ll be working on the new game by Falcon Age developer Outer Loop.
She told me this during Episode 2 of The New Eurogamer podcast, which was made available to everyone today.
“I have been working on the next Outer Loop game,” she said during our talk. “I can’t really say a lot about it. I can’t even tell you the title, unfortunately. But I think if you caught the Annapurna showcase recently, they teased a little bit of Outer Loop’s new game, so I think I can say from there, there’s skating in it.”
If you watched the Annapurna showcase in the summer, you might have seen Jayanth very briefly appear on the screen, as Outer Loop co-founder Chandana Ekanayake mentioned his writing partner “Meg”. She had worked with the studio before on Falcon Age.
You will also have heard Ekanayake talk a bit about what the game will be: a game about “immigrant culture growing up in the US”, featuring “gossiping aunties and overbearing parents and family pressure”.
In terms of how it plays, and judging by snippets in the video, it seems to be a blend of third-person parts like skating and parkour, and probably other things we haven’t seen yet. The skating looked like a Tony Hawk’s experience, and the parkour wasn’t far off (minus the skateboard).
There’s a great bit in the video where animator Aung Zaw Oo talks about his love of parkour and skateboarding, and then with all earnestness – as the camera follows him making hard work of skating – says: “I’ve been skateboarding for about 24 years.” Pause. “And I’m terrible at it.”
He then goes on to say: “The Tony Hawk’s games: it’s a break from reality from what actual skateboarding is and, more, the things I actually want to do. You rarely crash in the skateboarding portion [of this game] because I’m trying to make it as accessible to as many people as possible.”
The game looks bright and colourful, with high scores and plenty of energy. Beyond that, it’s a bit of a mystery.
It means that Meghna Jayanth will no longer be working with Leigh Alexander on their planned boutique narrative label Red Queens, which was going to launch after Sable wrapped.
“That was very much our plan,” Jayanth told me, “but the pandemic has – as it has done for everyone – thrown everyone’s set of priorities and plans into the air. So Leigh and I are not going to be collaborating on Red Queens, unfortunately.”
Falcon Age was released in 2019, and follows a lady and falcon as they systematically sabotage a robotic, colonialist power which has robbed their planet of culture and resources. Christian Donlan was really encouraged with what he played.