Sky, the first new release in seven years from Journey developer thatgamecompany, is out now on iOS. Android “pre-registration” is also open on the Google Play store, though no release date has been given for that version. Likewise, thatgamecompany says it will “have more news on tvOS, macOS, PC and Console release soon.” In its iOS form, the game is free to download and play, though microtransactions and an “Adventure Pass” are also available.
Technically speaking, this new release is but the first chapter of Sky, called Children of Light. Players explore seven different realms as an eponymous child of light (no relation), solving puzzles as they go to restore the stars and their subsequent constellations to the night sky. As seen in the developer walkthrough below, Children of Light expands on the the social exploration ideas first seen in Journey, by vastly increasing the number of players that can exist in one space, in addition to the communication options those players have.
Those interpersonal relationships are mechanically key to Sky, as puzzles may require multiple people to solve. Additionally, travelling with other players allows you to “pool your light,” which lets the group fly higher than its constituent members could on their own. “We think of Sky as a virtual adventure park,” says Executive Producer Eileen Hollinger, “where you can explore with your friends and loved ones, or you can meet new players out in the world.”
Meeting a new player begins with a simple candle exchange, and afterwards you can choose to hold hands and travel together. As acquainted players journey through Sky, they can learn to high five, hug, and at the highest levels of friendship, chat with each other. Hearts are earned from friendships, which can then be used to buy musical instruments from spirits found throughout the game. Players can also find sheet music, which allows friends to perform songs together, provided they each have a copy. Instruments can also be played manually, which means that it’s only a matter of time before someone covers Running in the 90s on a twee little piano.
To keep things fresh, the “season” in Sky changes every six weeks. Seasons have their own unique spirits, outfits, and gestures to earn. Those who spend $9.99 on that season’s Adventure Pass get access to more quests and “twice the items,” according to the video above. There’s also a $14.99 option, which grants a full Adventure Pass to two of your friends, in addition to the one you get yourself.
Since thatgamecompany is pushing hard on the idea of families playing Sky together, this second option seems clearly aimed at parents who wants to play with their kids, or folks with multiple kids that are all playing together. Alternatively, this could be a helpful option for giant squishy babies like me, who like spending money to look cute with their cute friends. The world is your capitalist oyster!
P.S. Yes, Journey did in fact come out seven years ago, even though it feels like it couldn’t have been more than three years tops. That’s just how entropy rolls y’all! We’re all spiraling towards a cold and motionless universe!