Immersing players into the world of The Falconeer using the power of the PS5

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Immersing players into the world of The Falconeer using the power of the PS5

The Falconeer soars onto PS5 August 5, with native 4K support, 60fps, faster load times, haptic feedback, and more.

Hi, I’m Tomas Sala, the sole creator and developer of The Falconeer, a third-person air combat game, coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on August 5. 

As an individual/solo creator, what truly excites me is that the power of the PS5 has removed so many of the constraints that would have made a game like The Falconeer impossible only a few years ago. I’m here today to give you a little insight into that, along with the ways in which the PS5’s features and DualSense wireless controller have given me the freedom to create a deeply immersive and unique game world.   

So, firstly, what exactly is The Falconeer? 

Imagine riding atop a giant bird of prey, flying amongst the clouds, gracefully drifting and climbing as a golden sun rises on the horizon. Now, imagine the opposite of that, a dream of a dark ocean, of bottomless depths that won’t let you go anywhere but down to their dark reaches.

This core contrast is at the heart of The Falconeer, and at the heart of the world I’ve crafted for this game, a dark and harsh ocean world. It’s a place of haunting beauty, from which you, an airborne Falconeer warrior, soar above. Yet nowhere is safe in a world where the rich ride airships, the powerful tame dragons, and even the lowly sailing captains arm their ships to the teeth against the monsters from the deep, as well as against those from the sky. 

It is a sheer thrill to explore the vast open world of The Falconeer on PlayStation and the advanced haptic feedback of the DualSense controller give the intuitive aerial dogfighting mechanics an incredibly tactile and fluid feel. I also made use of the adaptive triggers to mimic the feel of the recoil and force feedback of weapons. One thing that can perhaps be overlooked is the impact the DualSense controller speaker can have. This gives strong audio cues that when combined with the haptics and triggers, offer even greater immersion and ‘feel’ to gameplay. In The Falconeer, I used the speaker specifically for NPC radio voices.  

The Falconeer is a very personal game to me, and it is one that explores themes of escapism and freedom but also at its core it is a homage to the classic air combat and dogfighting fighting games I played growing up. If you play the Falconeer you will recognise that it is not a typical shooter, even though you are riding a mythical giant warbird, the gameplay will still require you to build up your classic dogfighting skills, getting behind an enemy, deflecting gunfire, but now riding a giant bird that can perform acrobatics unlike any airplane could ever attempt.  

The game is created with an art style that forgoes textures completely, many of its effects and visuals being created by basically math-powered expressions, something that was unthinkable in the past. The vivid colours, mathematical gradients and sharp dramatic edges of The Falconeer truly come into their own with the 4K resolution and 60 FPS capabilities of the PS5.  

And it’s not just the visuals and art that really ‘pop’ on PlayStation. The all-encompassing Warrior Edition, the definitive version of the game, for the first time truly matches the vision I had all those years ago. With a world more filled out with unique adventures, be it helping the brewmasters of Castellus against giant turtle riding pirates, joining those same pirates as a raiding criminal, flying atop drakes and pterosaurs or visiting some of the exotic locations previously only hinted at before. Thanks to the PS5, the world of The Falconeer is now more alive, vibrant and immersive than ever before.


I actually came upon the world of the Ursee and the early beginnings of the game when I worked on TrackLab, which was a PS VR exclusive music creation experience, published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2018. In a sense that opportunity to work on such ground-breaking hardware and console would first open my mind to crafting a world and game by myself, rather than as part of a team or production studio.

And now, many years later, here we are. The Falconeer, a game I’ve created over the last five years is set to release on PS4 and PS5 on August 5, and in a very tangible sense its journey has made full circle. Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy playing The Falconeer and experiencing the enhanced immersion made possible by the PS5.

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17 Comments

  • I am greatly looking forward to this Tomas. I have the original release on another platform, but didn’t flinch at pre-ordering a copy with LimitedRunGames for PS5. That shipment notification can’t get here soon enough!

  • “what truly excites me is that the power of the PS5 has removed so many of the constraints that would have made a game like The Falconeer impossible only a few years ago”

    “coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on August 5”

    What?

    Don’t get me wrong, it looks like a really fun, engaging, and unique game. I’ll most likely buy it. But your first two sentences are at odds with each other.

    • Certainly not. Later on in the article Tomas speaks specifically to the added benefits of the PS5, so the reference holds that while the experience is a fantastic one on both platforms, the PS5 version features enhancements both in performance, but also with the added benefit of the DualSense controller features.

    • Absolutely.

      The statement is “constraints that would have made a game like The Falconeer impossible.” That’s not the same as saying immersive features of the PS5 version aren’t present on other platforms. That says that this game and games like this could not be made with constraints that the PS5 does not impose.

      So what are those constraints? And why reference specifically the PS5 removing them when it seems that other platforms to not possess said constraints consists of the PS4, PC, XBoxOne/Series, and even the Nintendo Switch?

      It’s probably just a mandate from Sony that developers have to sing the praises of the PS5 somehow. And higher resolution/framerate, faster loading, and immersive DualSense features may not be deemed exciting enough. Resulting in nonsense sentiments like “this game that’s on a bunch of other platforms would be impossible to make without the unique features of this one, specific platform”

      ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • (my regular account seems to be unable to login hence this temp account, confirm me on @falconeerdev on twitter ;)

      what I ment here is, that the power available nowadays (and the toolsets) allow solo or microteam developers to reach new heights.

      That is part of it, simply being able to do things, knowing there is plenty of power and performance to do them. I cannot stress how liberation that can be.

      The other part is things like doing stuff without textures, this a purely esthetic choice, because you start doing realtime calculations instead of storing some pre-baked data in a texture or normal map.

      I love doing these math based gradients, shading , noise etc, its just a weird way of doing things, but it looks different to what is common, which gives me a kick and a buzz.

      If you fly around the Falconeer, for me the colors and gradients (especially at 4K, that is part of the major change) pop out and shapes can be hard and edgy,

      That would (and is on smaller resolution platforms) not always ideal as you get massive jaggies. So game art has often focused on obscuring hard edges, creating visual detail to obscure the optimisations and smoke and mirrors games have had to rely on for well generations.

      Now you can make visuals as crisp as a painting or a piece of print, and that opens up an entire new world of visual design. (such as the Falconeer is taking steps toward).

      My goal being that you could pause the game, and say wow I’d print that and put it on my wall.

      And just like any printwork, it’s not always about photography but great design, contrast, colors, soft and yes… hard shapes..

      well bit of a long answer, but I feel that the hardware on the PS5 that allows someone like me , by themselves, to create visuals at 60 fps or more, is astounding.

      and it will lead to much more interesting experiments .

  • Great work as a solo developer, Tomas. What do you have going on for your new IP. Have you assembled a team?

    • (my regular account seems to be unable to login hence this temp account, confirm me on @falconeerdev on twitter ;)

      what I ment here is, that the power available nowadays (and the toolsets) allow solo or microteam developers to reach new heights.

      That is part of it, simply being able to do things, knowing there is plenty of power and performance to do them. I cannot stress how liberation that can be.

      The other part is things like doing stuff without textures, this a purely esthetic choice, because you start doing realtime calculations instead of storing some pre-baked data in a texture or normal map.

      I love doing these math based gradients, shading , noise etc, its just a weird way of doing things, but it looks different to what is common, which gives me a kick and a buzz.

      If you fly around the Falconeer, for me the colors and gradients (especially at 4K, that is part of the major change) pop out and shapes can be hard and edgy,

      That would (and is on smaller resolution platforms) not always ideal as you get massive jaggies. So game art has often focused on obscuring hard edges, creating visual detail to obscure the optimisations and smoke and mirrors games have had to rely on for well generations.

      Now you can make visuals as crisp as a painting or a piece of print, and that opens up an entire new world of visual design. (such as the Falconeer is taking steps toward).

      My goal being that you could pause the game, and say wow I’d print that and put it on my wall.

      And just like any printwork, it’s not always about photography but great design, contrast, colors, soft and yes… hard shapes..

      well bit of a long answer, but I feel that the hardware on the PS5 that allows someone like me , by themselves, to create visuals at 60 fps or more, is astounding.

      and it will lead to much more interesting experiments .

    • oops wrong answer.

      What I wanted to say, is that I enjoy doing things by myself, and working with a support structure and dedicate musician (check out benedict Nichols soundtrack, its amazing).

      I might upscale a bit for future projects, or not, haven’t decided yet ;)

    • Thank you for sharing your perspective on game development. It helps people realize the struggles and complexity of making games.

      Can you teach Sony to be as communicative as you? 😉

  • Great Looking game!! Any chance of a vr version for Psvr 1 or 2?

  • Don’t Buy GamePass Games.

  • The more I see of this, the more excited I get. It looks incredible, like a dream, but the gameplay looks very well polished. It all just looks like pure fun. Makes me very nostalgic.
    Can’t wait to play it with the dualsense features.

  • Cant wait for it

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