Nightingale Interview

Interview: Nightingale devs talk worldbuilding and how to stand out in a competitive genre

We sat down with Inflexion Games ahead of the release of Nightingale.

After over five years in development, developer Inflexion Games is set to release its whimsical survival-crafting title Nightingale. Earlier this month I spoke with three Inflexion Games developers—CEO Aaryn Flynn, Director of Production Leah Summers, and Art Director and Head of Audio Neil Thompson—about the upcoming release, the road to get there, and the road ahead.

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The Game

DESTRUCTOID: Hello everyone! I had the opportunity to spend some time hands-on with Nightingale both solo and co-op, with each realm I experienced having a completely different overall layout. However, I was the overall size between realms seemed to be rather similar. Is it possible for realms to generate smaller or bigger than usual?

NEIL: So all realms are 2km in total space, in terms of playable area. The realms are procedurally generated, so some might have more POIs or actual used space, and that does change and get bigger and smaller. Vaults, however, do not conform to that size.

DESTRUCTOID: In regards to the building aspects of Nightingale…I love the ability to mix and match the styles. At Destructoid, we’ve recently noticed some players tend to build simple cube structures when given the opportunity to open-world build, while others are a bit more creative and really put us to shame. (I’m working on it, I promise.) But are there plans to add more styles to Nightingale as well as additional foundation and structure shape similar to that in say Conan Exiles?

NEIL: Yeah. We’ve got seven styles at launch, but we’re adding to those all the time. We got a running reference deck of architectural tileset ideas that the whole team contributes to. The ones we like we take forward and start conceptualizing with the intent to put them in, and I think that can continue to run. I’m pretty sure we won’t run out of ideas for building pieces. There are also plans to add more custom individual pieces to the existing sets. You can be pretty flexible with foundation pieces already because there are no limits to where you can place them, so you can push them into rock formations for example. But, there are opportunities to bring in more things like curved foundations. The current foundation system is based around a grid, but you can still get pretty exotic with it. Go beyond the cube!

AARYN: Yep, guilty. I’m a cube guy, personally.

LEAH: We also allow you to clip into different POIs so you can kind of build your base around a giant tree, make a treehouse, that sort of thing using the landscape to avoid cube city.

DESTRUCTOID: Having jumped into the co-op session with you all that was a bit further into the game. The Humbaba boss encounter was definitely more challenging than anything I had encountered solo. Is this encounter and ones like it able to be taken on solo or is there any sort of scaling based on your team and party size?

AARYN: So I suspect that for quite a while that will certainly be a social encounter where you call some friends to do it. There is a tier of gear that you can get at The Watch that is Tier 4 and pretty powerful. So just like my own son does torch-only Dark Souls runs and stuff, I’m sure there will be players who figure that out and through building, crafting, and skill will be able to take on an encounter like Humbaba solo but that will take a while I bet. Well, famous last words right? Someone’s gonna do it in week one now I’m sure.

Nightingale Interview 2

The Vision

DESTRUCTOID: Let’s switch a little bit to the less game-specific side of things. Survival games are suddenly getting super competitive with games like Palworld, Valheim, and Enshrouded, etc. With this suddenly crowded market, what sets Nightingale apart and makes it stand out compared to the recent survival-crafting games?

AARYN: We think about that a lot. Of course, we play all those games too. I think for us it’s the worldbuilding, the universe we’ve created. I really hope players immerse themselves in it and I think Neil and the team have done an amazing job of bringing it to life. That’s the big difference for Nightingale as a survival-crafting game compared to the others.

DESTRUCTOID: Following up on that question, all three of you were formerly part of BioWare. Is there anything from your time at BioWare that reverberates into Nightingale?

AARYN: I think definitely the worldbuilding. We got a chance to contribute to Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Jade Empire, those incredible universes. You learn a process for that, but you also learn what’s got to be established early on. You learn what kind of IP or setting or premise you want to explore. We spent a lot of time in the early days not just emotionally choosing those features, but a little more operationally as well. Can we do this? Can we build this world? Do we have the expertise it takes to do this? What opportunities does survival-crafting offer that fits with our skillset at our studio? We were relatively methodical about that in the early stages before we committed to Nightingale being a gaslamp-fantasy alternate history game.

Nightingale Interview 3

The Future

DESTRUCTOID: I know you said you expect the Early Access to last about a year or maybe a little less. Where do you see Nightingale three years from now or maybe even longer? What’s the long-term goal once Nightingale is out and has an established player base.

NEIL: That’s a great question!

AARYN: Yeah, I was hoping you knew as a player yourself!

NEIL: What I would hope is the network of Realms that exists and the group of players have a vibrant social hub that will hopefully be Nightingale city by that point. Players would be getting together, forming up in parties, going on adventures in new networks of realms with new biomes, new creatures, new quests, new encounters, and all the rest of it. I think that ultimately is the vision. We say a lot that Nightingale is endless adventures, and I think it really can be. We have no end to the amount of biome ideas, realm ideas, and creature ideas we can put forward into Nightingale if players want it and gravitate towards it.

Nightingale enters Early Access tomorrow, February 20 at 8 AM EST on PC via Steam and the Epic Game Store.

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Steven Mills
Staff Writer - Steven has been writing in some capacity for over a decade now. He has a passion for story focused RPG's like the Final Fantasy franchise and ARPG's like Diablo and Path of Exile. But really, he's willing to try anything.