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Arctic Awakening - What We Know So Far

First-person narrative adventure "Arctic Awakening" places you in the role of Kai, a pilot who finds himself stranded in the Arctic during a routine mission gone wrong. Marooned by a sudden storm and plane crash, you set out across the desolate north in search of answers and your missing co-pilot with no one but Alfie, your "court-mandated therapy bot," for company. To survive the brutal temperatures, unravel the mystery that surrounds you, and find a route home, you'll need to be smart and remain on your guard — you never know what waits in the frigid dark.

"Arctic Awakening" is the latest project from GoldFire Studios, an indie developer headquartered in Oklahoma City known for creating browser-based MMOs like "CasinoRPG" and "BC Wars." As its first single-player game, "Arctic Awakening" marks a bit of a departure from the company's previous work, though the narrative focus seems in line with its "story first" approach. Despite opening its doors in 2008 and releasing four previous titles, GoldFire has remained mostly under the radar. "Arctic Awakening" could help the studio break out of its niche and reach bigger audiences; however, this change in direction also means the developers have a lot to prove if they want to carve out a spot in the solo adventure space, which has already produced several gems in 2021.

If uncovering secrets strewn across ever-shifting frozen vistas sounds like your cup of tea, here's what you need to know about "Arctic Awakening."

What is the Arctic Awakening release date?

Announced in March during the Future Games Show Spring Showcase, "Arctic Awakening" is likely a ways off from receiving a release date. GoldFire has provided prospective players with a rather broad window for when they can expect the game to drop, however: 2022. Given the recent reveal, it's difficult to pin down how long the studio has had "Arctic Awakening" in the works or how close the developers are to producing a finished product ... but a few details from its Future Games Show segment suggest a 2022 launch isn't too far fetched. 

The scenes shown, though limited in scope, look fairly detailed — despite the "Early Footage – Not Representative of Final Game" message pinned to the top. You even get to see exclusive gameplay from right after the crash, which includes some of Kai's initial interactions with Alfie. Director James Simpson also revealed that "Arctic Awakening" will include full voice acting towards the end of the spotlight, and you hear the voiceover of two different characters in an accompanying clip. While not definitive, this could indicate that "Arctic Awakening" already has a working script and that the associated performers have recorded some, if not all, of their lines.

Barring any delays, "Arctic Awakening" is scheduled to release next year for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. GoldFire has also stressed the game's episodic format, meaning you can anticipate new content, complete with fresh characters and story elements, following the initial launch.

Is there a trailer for Arctic Awakening?

GoldFire Studios has shared a single trailer for "Arctic Awakening," which appeared as part of the reveal during the Future Games Show Spring Showcase. Spanning a minute and a half, the "Arctic Awakening" reveal trailer offers a peak at the title's beautiful and deadly environments while spinning doubts about protagonist Kai's sanity.

In the opening moments, you see Kai wake up in the snow following the crash. He treks through a raging snowstorm to the remnants of his plane, opening up an emergency kit attached to an inner wall before returning outside to boot up Alfie. From there, the video transitions into a montage of different locations, showing off some lovely dynamic weather effects. A large wooden shelter with a welcoming fire pit also features, though it's unclear whether Kai discovers this crude building or if it's something you construct as the story progresses.

As the clip shifts from scene to scene, you hear two people discussing Kai and "his supposed crash." The conversation indicates that, to the outside world, Kai and his co-pilot simply disappeared along with their aircraft. The male speaker reveals that this isn't the first time Kai has found himself in a situation like this, even insinuating that he vanished on purpose. The dialogue, along with the presence of a "therapy bot," make it clear that the main character and his family have dealt with some mental health issues, and that this theme will likely play a major role in the "Arctic Awakening" narrative.

What is the gameplay like in Arctic Awakening?

While GoldFire Studios has yet to share many details about the gameplay in "Arctic Awakening," there seem to be three components at its core: exploration, relationships, and player choice.

According to Simpson, "Arctic Awakening" features a "beautiful open world" for players to discover. The setting includes a dynamic weather system, designed to ensure each area feels fresh. "The environment itself is a character, one not always on your side," warns the official description. To make it out alive, you must cover new ground, find your missing co-pilot, and uncover the region's many secrets. It's unclear how big of an emphasis "Arctic Awakening" places on survival elements, but the need for fire and shelter hints that you have to master certain strategies to avoid freezing to death and other consequences.

Though Kai starts out stranded and alone, you encounter companions beyond Alfie. Your choices alter your relationships with these individuals, push characters down specific paths, and can even influence how the story plays out. Other than the therapy robot and Kai's co-pilot, the reveal trailer introduced four potential people to interact with: the man and woman in the voiceover and "little Charlie and Amelia," who, given the context, might be Kai's children. How do these people interact with Kai while he's lost in the wilderness? Let's just say "Arctic Awakening" has more than one mystery to solve.

Can't wait until 2022 for "Arctic Awakening" to release? Perhaps 2021's best indie games can tide you over in the meantime.