Immersing players into the world of The Falconeer using the power of the PS5

Hi, I’m Tomas Sala, the sole creator and developer of The Falconeer, a third-person air combat game, coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on August 5. 

As an individual/solo creator, what truly excites me is that the power of the PS5 has removed so many of the constraints that would have made a game like The Falconeer impossible only a few years ago. I’m here today to give you a little insight into that, along with the ways in which the PS5’s features and DualSense wireless controller have given me the freedom to create a deeply immersive and unique game world.   

So, firstly, what exactly is The Falconeer? 

Imagine riding atop a giant bird of prey, flying amongst the clouds, gracefully drifting and climbing as a golden sun rises on the horizon. Now, imagine the opposite of that, a dream of a dark ocean, of bottomless depths that won’t let you go anywhere but down to their dark reaches.

This core contrast is at the heart of The Falconeer, and at the heart of the world I’ve crafted for this game, a dark and harsh ocean world. It’s a place of haunting beauty, from which you, an airborne Falconeer warrior, soar above. Yet nowhere is safe in a world where the rich ride airships, the powerful tame dragons, and even the lowly sailing captains arm their ships to the teeth against the monsters from the deep, as well as against those from the sky. 

It is a sheer thrill to explore the vast open world of The Falconeer on PlayStation and the advanced haptic feedback of the DualSense controller give the intuitive aerial dogfighting mechanics an incredibly tactile and fluid feel. I also made use of the adaptive triggers to mimic the feel of the recoil and force feedback of weapons. One thing that can perhaps be overlooked is the impact the DualSense controller speaker can have. This gives strong audio cues that when combined with the haptics and triggers, offer even greater immersion and ‘feel’ to gameplay. In The Falconeer, I used the speaker specifically for NPC radio voices.  

The Falconeer is a very personal game to me, and it is one that explores themes of escapism and freedom but also at its core it is a homage to the classic air combat and dogfighting fighting games I played growing up. If you play the Falconeer you will recognise that it is not a typical shooter, even though you are riding a mythical giant warbird, the gameplay will still require you to build up your classic dogfighting skills, getting behind an enemy, deflecting gunfire, but now riding a giant bird that can perform acrobatics unlike any airplane could ever attempt.  

The game is created with an art style that forgoes textures completely, many of its effects and visuals being created by basically math-powered expressions, something that was unthinkable in the past. The vivid colours, mathematical gradients and sharp dramatic edges of The Falconeer truly come into their own with the 4K resolution and 60 FPS capabilities of the PS5.  

And it’s not just the visuals and art that really ‘pop’ on PlayStation. The all-encompassing Warrior Edition, the definitive version of the game, for the first time truly matches the vision I had all those years ago. With a world more filled out with unique adventures, be it helping the brewmasters of Castellus against giant turtle riding pirates, joining those same pirates as a raiding criminal, flying atop drakes and pterosaurs or visiting some of the exotic locations previously only hinted at before. Thanks to the PS5, the world of The Falconeer is now more alive, vibrant and immersive than ever before.

I actually came upon the world of the Ursee and the early beginnings of the game when I worked on TrackLab, which was a PS VR exclusive music creation experience, published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2018. In a sense that opportunity to work on such ground-breaking hardware and console would first open my mind to crafting a world and game by myself, rather than as part of a team or production studio.

And now, many years later, here we are. The Falconeer, a game I’ve created over the last five years is set to release on PS4 and PS5 on August 5, and in a very tangible sense its journey has made full circle. Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy playing The Falconeer and experiencing the enhanced immersion made possible by the PS5.

Chris Thacker

Author: Izzy

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