Coral Island, developed by Indonesian-based indie game studio Stairway Games, will surely appeal to environment-conscious gamers.
This is not a typical simulator wherein players could just create whatever they want similar to Minecraft. Ecosystem management is what makes this game stand out from popular games such as Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, and Stardew Valley.
In addition, the team recently released an April-end development update as well, showcasing character reveals, its animals, farming crops, and not to mention the player’s initial home interior.
Nawanda on art direction: Playful, pleasant, and rich
Stairway Games co-art director Damas Nawanda sets the concept art of the game inspired by modern Disney movies. After the finalization of the concept art, they pass it on to their developers to see whether they can manage to apply the design using Unreal Engine.
Nawanda also says that their pipeline is pretty unique, focusing on validating gameplay as soon as possible. He explains:
“We jumped right onto gameplay-heavy concept and assets that require quick turnaround. Because of this, the other concept exploration is done in the later production phase. The exploration is done simultaneously with the gameplay phase. One such example for us is architectural exploration.”
In addition, the design team also came up with a guide in order for 3D modelers and other developers to maintain the game’s core art direction.
They also added in a Southeast Asian flavor into the game elements to make it stand out from the other popular farming sims.
What to expect from this game?
According to the website, the release date is set on February 21, 2021, on Steam as an Early Access title.
There are a ton of features to look forward to such as:
- Building your dream farm by transforming your overrun land.
- A diverse cast of over 50 characters that come from different walks of life — interact with them frequently and they may reward you with gifts.
- Dive to save coral and collect rare fish and kelp to improve your farm, or traverse forgotten caverns to mine precious gemstones.
- Shaping your own player experience via character customization, as well as decorating your own house.
- Improve the town by helping the merchants or by creating a community garden.
- Living in a vibrant island setting, playing on your own terms without deadlines.
After seeing the latest developments, it looks almost polished.
If Coral Island exceeds expectations, then it may go at par with Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, and Stardew Valley. With the rate of its ongoing production, indie enthusiasts may see more features of the game anytime soon through monthly development updates.
Hardcore sim gamers who want to keep tabs on the progress of Coral Island may also join their Discord channel.
Featured image courtesy of Coral Island/Stairway Games