As is the case with most games, certain sections of Ori and the Will of the Wisps were cut during development. For example, we recently spoke with the art director and lead artist at Moon Studios about a secret area called the Owl Vale, which was unfortunately cut prior to shipping the game.
“That’s the sad reality of game development,” Moon studios co-founder and lead engineer Gennadiy Korol told us in a subsequent interview. “You really want to do so many things, but at some point you need to put it into a neat, tight package that you can really polish and balance and put together in an impeccable way.”
This practice was implemented across the board with Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the highly anticipated sequel to 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest. Korol says that the desire to make the world feel alive with a diverse cast of NPCs was there for Blind Forest, but the team had to make concessions — Moon was a much smaller studio then, and it had a game to ship.
“So we went in the direction where the world feels more desolate and empty intentionally,” Korol says. “It makes you feel something, it has a certain mood and strikes a certain tone. And it was also just a reality of production, we couldn’t just populate the world with all of these NPCs with backstories and quests.”
Aspects such as this eventually segued their way into Will of the Wisps, though, leading Korol to discuss it as a much more refined and mature effort.
“There’s this story about Moki and his family in the Silent Woods.” Korol says. “It’s a small side story but we’ve seen how people reacted to it and it’s incredible. You can get so much emotion with such a simple story, and those are the kind of things that when you add them up, they make for a much richer, much more mature game.
“We wanted people to say Ori would be like a baby game when you play Ori,” Korol adds. “It’s that much more mature, it’s that much richer, it’s that much more — I don’t want to say just bigger, because obviously it is bigger, but it’s just much more mature as an experience.”
Read next: How Final Fantasy Inspired Ori And The Will Of The Wisps
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Cian Maher is an Associate Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. His favourite game of all time is and always will be The Witcher 3, but he also loves The Last Guardian, NieR: Automata, Dishonored, and pretty much every Pokemon game ever released. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
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