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GDC 2013: The First Five Minutes of ‘Oceanhorn’

The upcoming Zelda-esque action RPG Oceanhorn is one of the most anticipated games amongst our community, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on it myself. Especially after a premature copy was accidentally released in late February, further teasing us anxious gamers. At GDC last week I finally got to sit down with Phillip from FDG Entertainment, who signed on last December to help developer Cornfox & Bros wrap up development on the title, and give Oceanhorn a spin.

Unfortunately, there were issues with Oceanhorn and our capture hardware, so we weren’t able to do the typical hands-on commentary video like we had been doing all week at GDC. However, FDG was nice enough to capture about 5 minutes of footage through their own simulator so we could have a look at the early goings in the game.

Oceanhorn will tell its story via many cutscenes and voiceover work, but since those elements haven’t been finalized yet they’ve been omitted from this hands-on look. So it’s just straight up gameplay, but I’ll try to give the video some context. Your father is missing after fighting the evil sea monster Oceanhorn, and it’s up to you to finish the job. Your first quest in the game is to track down your father’s old sword and shield, then get the sailboat that lets you explore the huge open game world and properly begin your adventure.

From the storyline, to some of the game mechanics, to the Wind Waker-esque open-sea sailing, the Zelda influence is apparent in Oceanhorn. That’s not a bad thing at all, by any stretch, as it’ll likely be a cold day before we see our pointy green-hatted hero on an iOS platform. More importantly, though, is that despite those similarities Oceanhorn still feels like its own thing. It nods but doesn’t pilfer, and it’s been tailored beautifully to be played on the touchscreen.

Sadly Oceanhorn is still a ways off, and likely won’t be hitting until late this year at the earliest, but if my sampling of the game at GDC is any indication it will certainly be worth the wait.