Here’s your chance to befriend a baby falcon and embark on harrowing adventures together. That’s the promise at the heart of Falcon Age, the latest action adventure from developer Outerloop Games. Available for the first time on Oculus Quest, Falcon Age charges you with nurturing a cute — and curiously bright — baby falcon as you fight to reclaim your homeland from mechanical invaders.
We caught up with Outerloop Games Creative Director Chandana Ekanayake to hear more about bringing Falcon Age to Quest.
How would you describe Falcon Age to someone new to the game?
Chandana Ekanayake: Falcon Age is a first-person action-adventure game about raising a falcon and reclaiming your land from robot colonizers set on a desert-like planet. You play the role of Ara, who will explore, fight, reclaim, farm, and craft throughout your adventure with the help of her falcon. Your falcon can fly to areas you cannot while you can overcome obstacles the falcon cannot. The story and gameplay experience are about the balance and relationship between Ara and her falcon companion.
Baby Falcon 101: What can players expect to see and do with their baby falcon?
CE: The game starts with the player bonding with a baby falcon. She can fetch, hunt, aid in combat, and protect Ara if she is in danger. Throughout the adventure, players will acquire different gear and cosmetic items for their falcon, various toys, and cook nourishing snacks to aid in reclaiming Ara’s land.
Can you tell us about the design process? How’d you build and test a virtual falcon?
CE: One of the early inspirations for Falcon Age came from videos of golden eagles hunting large mountain goats. These videos led to research on falconry and the idea of having a falcon as a pet, and eventually designing mechanics and gameplay around that core idea. We made a rough prototype to test out ideas. The first time we successfully whistled for the bird in VR and saw it approaching from a distance to land on our hand, we knew we were on to something that could serve as the core of a unique game.
Our goal was to mimic real-life falcon/raptor behavior and add a level of interaction and bonding that is a bit more far fetched than a typical falcon. We are not 100% sure, but we have not seen real-life falcons fist bump, wear monocles, and skateboard tricks like our falcon in the game. But we did recreate the head stabilizing effect that birds do when they focus on a specific subject.
What were the key inspirations behind the game’s unique world, customs, and characters?
CE: We based the world and culture on South Asian and Southeast Asian heritage and history. We wanted to explore the idea of colonization from a native perspective and how that affects the people, their livelihood, and their land but set it in a near-futuristic fictional setting.
How was the port experience to Quest? Any challenges + solutions you’d like to highlight?
CE: We’re happy with how well the game looks and plays on the Quest. Our biggest goal was to do everything we could to keep the falcon interactions and visual fidelity, reactive feathers all intact as that is the core of the experience. Once we had that goal in mind, the rest was reworking art assets, optimizing shaders, doing a whole new lighting pass to make the world as immersive as possible. The Quest is a powerful device, and we are happy to share the world of Falcon Age with players.
What’s the most surprising thing about the Falcon Age experience in VR?
CE: We put a lot of work into the bird and how she interacts/reacts with the player, and we are glad people feel a bond to her. We were hoping that would be the case, but the level of feedback and love for our falcon has been a pleasant surprise.
Experience the joys of bonding with your own baby falcon today in Falcon Age, out now on Quest!