Frontier Developments, headed by Elite-creator David Braben, has revealed internal project LostWinds today, a "beautiful" game that will only be available via Nintendo's WiiWare download service.
"The object of the game is to explore the world and solve puzzles, but it's the joy of the way the whole thing works that's key," Braben told videogaming247. "The idea is that an evil spirit, Balasar, has imprisoned all of the spirits, including the Wind Spirit, and your character has found a wind stone. So it's a story of restoring things to the world."
He added: "We've gone for a beautiful style. We're trying to get a style that's recognizably Lost Winds. It's a nice, consistent style. It's not trying to go for the very standard look annotated by so many games in the last few years, which is the Manga, big-eyed look. We're going for our own look."
The game's control method involves moving the wind and protagonist, Toku, in tandem using Wii's motion-sensing features.
"It's about using the Wii controller in a novel way, where you're controlling essentially one character – your little guy Toku – with the Nunchuck, and the other character – the wind, in the form of the Wind Spirit – with the Wiimote," Braben said.
LostWinds came about through an internal process called Game of the Week, a company forum for debating ideas and general game design, and has been a completely independent project for Frontier, and the first designed for distribution solely by download. Braben explained that the focus on digital distribution in no way meant LostWinds was a lesser game.
"We've come at it as if it's full game development, for the want of a better term," he said. "We haven't seen this as short-changing people. [WiiWare] is a different way of getting games, and it's not had all of the overhead that tends to come in a normal process of publishing games. We've been able to go directly to the good bit, and make sure we've tried that out without necessarily making it look pretty for that process.
"The main difference is the fact that we're doing it ourselves. We don't have to gain the approval or the cooperation of a publisher first. We're really thinking like customers, like the people who buy the game."
As soon as we have a release date, so will you. The game will be a WiiWare launch title, as detailed here.