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Babylon’s Fall could be good, actually

PlatinumGames’ latest looks a little rough around the edges, but there’s hope

On Sunday, Square Enix showed off new gameplay from Babylon’s Fall, the PlatinumGames-developed hack-and-slash that was first announced way back in 2018. It looked drastically different from the early gameplay preview we saw in late 2019, which made Babylon’s Fall look like a fairly traditional PlatinumGames release.

It also, frankly, looked a little ... off. What I (and others) perceived as heavily compressed streaming video artifacts obscuring the game’s graphics is actually Babylon’s Fall’s intentional art style. PlatinumGames says it’s going for a “visual style is based on classical European oil paintings” that it calls “brushwork style.” To wit, taking a closer look at direct-feed screenshots of Babylon’s Fall reveals that the graphics are being treated with a canvas-like texture and what appear to be actual brushstrokes.

“Our goal was to create a deeply layered, high quality fantasy world rendered in the oil painting style seen in classic sword and sorcery fantasy works,” said Babylon’s Fall game director Kenji Saito in a behind-the-scenes look at development.

PlatinumGames and Square Enix tapped artist Kouji Tajima to create the game’s high-fantasy art style. Tajima’s previous work is mostly in live-action film, he says, working on movies like Terminator: Dark Fate, Venom, Blade Runner 2049, and the Fantastic Beasts series.

The most encouraging bit of news on Babylon’s Fall is who’s overseeing it, the aforementioned game director Kenji Saito. He directed Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Transformers Devastation, two of Platinum’s better games. He’s joined by Isao Negishi, lead game designer on Babylon’s Fall, who had the same credit on Nier: Automata.

Babylon’s Fall is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC via Steam. Square Enix has not announced a release date.

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