Many games treat death as an expected mechanic, yet some indie developers want to “ease the terror of death.” The developers of Spiritfarer took the fear of dying and distilled it into a soothing and calming game meant to offer a bit of perspective. In a nice surprise, Spiritfarer is out today on PS4 and all the other usual gaming hardware suspects, including Xbox One, PC, and Switch.
Death and grief are two things that video games usually have trouble doing with much subtly or empathy. Rarely are characters given the space to mourn or feel their feelings when a death happens, thanks to being at the beck and call of whoever is holding the controller. Spiritfarer wants players to find some kind of solace when it comes to death, mourning, and saying goodbye.
“We took what is by far our biggest, most ambitious production yet, and decided to up the ante by releasing Spiritfarer simultaneously on almost every system under the sun. Our fans have been so patient, waiting for us just to say when. Well, I’m happy to tell them: the time is now!” said Spiritfarer creative director Nicolas Guerin in regards to the game’s sudden release. In what the team describes as “a cozy management game about dying,” players will build a boat, manage resources, and sail the seas while ferrying the dearly departed to their final destination.
The music and feel of the game have a calming, nostalgic, and somewhat sad tone reminiscent of games such as Life Is Strange. If the art style seems to remind you of other games then you aren’t crazy. Thunder Lotus’ previous works include Jotunn and Sundered. A game about empathy for the dead that asks players to stop and think about their mortality seems right at home in a year covered in the cloud of a worldwide pandemic.
Spiritfarer is out now for PS4 for $29.99.