Nightingale Sounds Increasingly Like Steampunk No Man’s Sky

It's another survival game, yes, but Nightingale has some procedural generation ideas that have me interested.

After seeing it at the 2022 Future Games Show earlier today, Nightingale sure sounds more and more like No Man’s Sky — except steampunk instead of Asimov, at least if my read on the “Realm Cards” system is somewhat accurate. And you know what? Despite the ever-growing list of survival games on my list of things to keep an eye on, that sounds pretty cool to me.

To be clear: I don’t actually mean that I think Nightingale will have quite the same degree of the nearly-infinite sprawling universe as Hello Games’ opus. Things like enemy models — including a sun-blocking giant that stomped some in-game housing during the latest trailer — seem too “handmade” to be totally procedurally generated. Instead, the worlds you explore seem to be the most random (and the obvious thing you can influence).

“While every realm will feature new dangers, discoveries, and surprises,” reads the Nightingale website, “you can influence elements such as the environment itself, the prevalence of hostiles, the abundance of resources, and more.”

nightingale game giant

In practice, this sounds pretty similar to flying from planet-to-moon-to-planet in No Man’s Sky — just substitute your spaceship for magic portals. This theoretically means staying on the ground instead of taking off for the stars. While on the ground, you apparently build bases and fight off warped creatures. And even if they are hand-crafted, I gotta say that the monster design seems compelling (i.e. weird) enough to get my attention across multiple zones anyway.

Maybe another comparison point would actually be a sort of procedurally generated Fallout 4, one where you’re not locked to a specific locale as you repeat activities. I’m not opposed to that concept, either. Slap some mods on it (while ignoring the story) and Fallout 4 is just shy of a great game. That’s just one of the many reasons Fallout 76 was such a disappointment at launch.

If we go that route, however, my question becomes, “What’s the story like?” Nightingale definitely touts itself as a survival sim. There’s talk of hunger, shelter, and sleep right in the trailer. That’s not to say it couldn’t have an interesting plot, though. Some of my personal favorite survival games, like Subnautica and its sequel Subnautica: Below Zero, have excellent narratives on top of their base-building and fish processing. There’s no reason Nightingale couldn’t craft an equally interesting world.

Right now, I just don’t know enough about it to say for sure. But I do know that (like I said at the beginning of this piece) I’m genuinely pretty interested. Nightingale has at least done enough to catch my attention in a week chock full of games that all seem to be chasing the same couple of ideas — survival sims where you build bases, in this case. I guess we’ll have some idea later this year. The game launches into Early Access on Steam sometime in Q4 2022.

This coverage of the Future Games Show Livestream is part of Fanbyte’s Hot Game Summer 2022. That’s where we bring you recaps, commentary, and just our general opinions on this summer’s game presentations — such as the Xbox & Bethesda showcase, the PC Gaming Show, and the all-encompassing Summer Game Fest hosted by Geoff Keighley. If you’re interested in seeing all of Fanbyte’s coverage, check out our Hot Game Summer 2022 hub!

Also, as a quick disclaimer, it seems Canadian developer Inflexion Games (the makers of Nightingale) have had a stake from Improbable Games that was bought by Tencent in 2021. As a reminder, Fanbyte Media is also owned by Tencent. Though editorial has no direct contact with the company or Inflexion. Nobody tells us jack shit, in fact, which is why I didn’t know these folks had the same corporate stakeholders until Imran pinged me in our work Slack. I just write these disclaimers anyway because we feel it’s important for ethical reasons.