Moon Studios’ Ori and the Will of the Wisps won’t use Soul Links because the developer found that it “didn’t make sense” in the sequel (via Stevivor).
“We had Soul Link on [the B button of the Xbox One controller], and we just didn’t want to keep a face button for that anymore,” said lead developer Thomas Mahler in an interview with Stevivor. “So that put us into that dilemma of, ‘well where do we put it?’” The game will draw from Hollow Knight, Metroid, and Rayman to offer an all-new experience, now that Ori is a fully-fledged guardian of Nibel. As a result, the manual save system using Soul Links is out, and an autosave system using checkpoints is in. It wasn’t as simple as that, though.
“We were planning on using Soul Link, but then after doing playtests, and after having all the abilities we added in there and the weapons and so on, we really felt like, ‘let’s try to play it without Soul Link,’ and just resort to checkpoints because it felt like it was starting to become too weighted and complex,” explained Mahler. “You constantly had to think about too many things at once.” Then, playtesting affirmed their hypothesis, and found that players weren’t thinking about Soul Links despite their core role in the original game. “Nobody missed it, because everybody was just so enthralled with what they’d just played,” he said. “It didn’t make sense to add it back in.”
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is going to offer players a bigger world and a greater challenge than The Blind Forest. Autosaves will help new and old players progress without losing hours of effort because they’d forgotten to place a Soul Link, and encourage replayability. Moon Studios is content in its decision to change the system, and with the customisable shards, there will be all kinds of ways to play.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps will be released on March 11 for PC and Xbox One, and will also be included in Xbox Game Pass upon launch. Josh and Matt chatted about the highly-anticipated Metroidvania in our preview; check it out here.