Yesterday, Square Enix and subsidiary studio Luminous Productions aired the first look at the upcoming ‘other-worldly adventure’ Project Athia during Sony’s PS5 showcase.
As director Takeshi Aramaki describes in a PlayStation Blog post, Project Athia is ‘a thrilling other-worldly adventure – it is going to be action-packed and at times twisted, tempestuous, and forbidding. It is a journey that we want to feel as much yours as it is our protagonists.’
Project Athia remains a working title at this point, implying that launch is still a good way off. Nevertheless, from what we’ve seen so far, the debut project from the team behind 2019’s Final Fantasy XV and Square Enix’s Luminous Studio engine certainly looks promising. That’s to say, visually promising.
The teaser trailer released for the occasion features development footage captured on PS5.
A young caped protagonist leaps across an extraordinarily detailed verdant canyon; summons a vine to encase a pack of marauding fantastical wolf-like creatures; weathers a forceful gale seemingly summoned by a one-eyed aberration. All this back-dropped by vistas stretching far into the distance.
The level of detail in each of these scenes is phenomenal. Project Athia embodies the PS5’s promised graphical leap far more than any other game showcased yesterday.
Striving for that visual fidelity is at the core of Luminous’ philosophy of merging the latest technology with a defined artistic vision, according to Aramaki.
The potential of the PS5’s hardware will bring that vision to life and transport players to ‘a vast and detailed world filled with beauty and dismay.’ Square Enix multi-platform Luminous Studio engine and ray tracing-like Path Tracing tech will do much of the heavy lifting.
For people still marveling at the dazzling fidelity and detail presented in Epic Games’s Unreal Engine 5 tech demo last month and despairing that it won’t be a fully-fledged release, Project Athia may be more than a worthy substitute.
A tech demo is very much an ideal rather than a standard. It’s a demonstration of the hardware’s potential that we shouldn’t expect when the PS5 launches, but rather a tentative benchmark reached in the closing years of a console generation.
Yet, that vision may come much sooner than expected with Project Athia, and somewhat ironically, using a different engine. For that reason alone, it may be worth keeping a close eye on this one.