If we look at the most talked about topics on Twitter during the Xbox conference, there is one game that stands out a lot. It’s Hollow Knight: Silksong. This title is systematically found in a trending hashtag during Nintendo Direct, events from which it has been systematically absent for two years. Silksong is an enigma for some, but for many players it is one of the most anticipated games, of which we finally have an idea of the release period… Let’s see why Hollow Knight Silksong is a UFO in the industry, which fascinates crowds…
The following text is a transcript of the video above
The wait is almost over!
Officially, Hollow Knight: Silksong doesn’t have a set launch date, but we have a clear hint about its rollout period. The game has made a comeback in the Xbox conference, and precisely, Sarah Bond, one of the managers at Xbox, clearly said that the games that are in this conference will all be released within 12 months. Silksong is therefore one of them, which means that it will be released, if all goes well, before June 2023..
This is the end of a very long wait for the fans, to whom the development team had presented a version of the game which nevertheless seemed very advanced as early as 2019, exactly three years ago. To tell the truth, the presence of the Arlesian during the conference period looked more like a running gag and the thing was even less credible to imagine the game presented at Xbox. The game will eventually be released, in a short time, and that reassures us a lot, because many believed in a cancellation along the way, or in big problems during development. Why ? Because the studio making the game is a small team, naturally increasing the risk…
A project on a human scale
The size of the Team Cherry studio, which makes the Hollow Knights, is both a surprising point that proves the genius of the few developers, but also a fear of seeing the studio implode in the face of success or pressure. The developers of the game, if we look at their site, are only threenot to mention the freelancers who are added to the project from time to time. Team Cherry, is based in South Australia, and Hollow Knight is simply their first game. Hand-drawn and released in 2017, before a console arrival the following year. Hollow Knight has come a long way. The development was a real adventure to arrive at such a nugget. The project was born out of a GameJam, a video game creation competition that first gave life to the main character, the knight. Their first concept is Hungry Knight, which is a dud… The game is rated poor at the end of the contest. But the team likes his character and reuses him in a second limited-time design contest, which this time is underworld-themed. The team realizes that it has a real facility for creating tons of cute insects and the concept of the future game is then refined. They then hold their universe: the insects, which live underground and populate a haunted kingdom. At the end of the Game Jam, they feel they have something and offer the future game in crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Hollow Knight was born.
They start working with freelancers on different aspects and in record time come out with a real nugget that makes everyone agree. The feat is total for such a small team and the game is recognized as one of the best metroidvania ever created to date. The title has it all: a unique, bewitching atmosphere, and a powerful game design, made up of action, platforming, and simple but effective mechanics. In the adventure, one of the antagonists that we regularly face is hornetshe is lively, terribly dangerous and constantly tries to get in your way. It is she that the player embodies in Silksong. Its power and mobility make it a formidable opponent, and it is exhilarating to imagine that we will finally be able to control it in the rest of the game. By the way, this sequel, Hollow Knight SilkSong, is a holdover from the Kickstarter campaign of the first game, then planned as a simple DLC.. But faced with the incredible performance of the small studio, plans change and the studio is working hard to provide a long gameplay demo in 2019, only a year after the game’s console release. It is unveiled in the middle of E3 at Nintendo, and here is what we could learn there…
What we knew about the game in 2019
Hollow Knight Silksong, when played live at E3 2019, is an already incredibly mature and accomplished game. In addition to a very advanced 2-minute trailer, we had the right for about twenty minutes to a gameplay demo without any bugs, and with a more than convincing finish. We see the beginning of the game, at the controls of Hornet, where the basics of this sequence are explained. Here, we will have to do the opposite of Hollow Knight, namely climb to the surface, while the story of the first game invited us to go ever deeper underground. We will encounter 150 new enemies, tons of bosses, secrets, varied biomes, in short the promise of a real sequel which is already on the way.
We therefore start the gameplay in a very green, mossy region, where Hornet begins his quest. Taken to the depths of the earth and captive, she frees herself and tries to find her way on her quest. We quickly note through the title of the game and the gameplay two main themes: silk and music, or the title of the game: Silksong. Moreover, indeed, all the enemies are represented by musical instruments. There are bells, cymbals as a shield, and we find there the artistic direction both cute and childish, which made the success of the first game, even if we always remember that this world is extremely violent and particularly melancholy. Death is omnipresent, mourning, shadow, corruption, disease, possession: these are themes that are quite present in the game, behind its air of fable for children. The gameplay demo ends after two boss fights, which show that Hornet looks much more technical to handle than the knight was in the first game. So, very concretely, what are the differences with the first episode?
The differences with the first game
What follows is enough to evolve the concept of the first game. The differences are numerous, and are quickly noticed. The gameplay is much livelier and we will very naturally chain dashes, jumps, multidirectional attacks and special attacks. A little less visible, however: the power system has changed. Hornet uses toolswhere the knight used charms to alter his gameplay. We should be able to equip 3 of them, even if the gameplay trailers always show only two active ones, so the third could be a passive that changes your mobility, for example. Another big observable difference is the healing system. In Hollow Knight, you had to press for a small second to heal yourself, which set the pace. There, Hornet can heal super fast, and even while airborne, which should make the game more responsive.
On the exploration side, Silksong offers you to go to the top. Unlike the first game, here we will have to reach the surface and find our way through the maze thanks to a brand new map system. Without having any other information, we just know that the system has evolved compared to the first game. On the coating side, the Team Cherry teams are still working with the same artist for the music and the soundscape, and unlike the knight of 1 , Hornet will have a voice. She will briefly exchange with the other NPCs, and as you can hear, she expresses herself every time during the fights, which reinforces the immersion. When we were treated to this famous presentation in 2019, the presenter who is doing the demo on behalf of Team Cherry evokes a “coming soon” release, an upcoming arrival therefore, and given how long the game has been waiting, to finally change the partner platform for his return, one can wonder what happened…
From Switch exclusive to Xbox exclusive
As we said, Silksong went from a flash project, hyper mature in a very short time of development, to the real Arlesian, that everyone waits until losing hope. So what happened? Because, technically, the trailer presented in June 2022 does not change much from what we had already seen in 2019 at Nintendo. Also, we still don’t have a fixed release date, although it should be out within 12 months according to Xbox. And besides, the fact that it’s Xbox that manages the announcement of the return of the game, and that it makes it a game available day one in the GamePass, motivates a lot of questions. And yes, the game was previously only planned for PC and Switch, so seeing it there only announced for PC and Xbox has us guessing that the game will, at least, be coming to PC, Xbox and Switch.
Is a release on PS4 and PS5 possible? This remains to be determined, especially since it is very likely, given the abnormally long development time, that Microsoft, through its Day One arrival agreement in the Game Pass, openly financed the end of development. The American brand could more easily mark its territory against Sony, by securing platform exclusivity, but still honoring the Switch release so as not to offend Nintendo players who have been promised the game for three years. For everything else, nothing is less certain and we will therefore wait for more information to be fixed.