Silent Hope PAX West 2023: action RPG with a Farmer that can eventually summon livestock in battle
Silent Hope has a simple, straightforward premise. No one has the ability to verbally speak to one another anymore. A former King stole the world’s words from its people and traversed down a chasm called The Abyss. His daughter, the Princess, wept so much from this tragedy that she created her own tomb out of her crystalized tears.
Players start the game off a few years later. Seven mute adventurers have gathered together as the Princess has drawn them in. The Princess is able to telepathically communicate with them; they answer her request to journey down The Abyss to find her father and take back humanity’s capability to talk to each other again.
I spoke with XSEED Games Localization Producer Anthony “Dino” Dinoffria to learn more about the upcoming action RPG as I played through its PAX West demo.
One of the first topics I brought up with Dino is the challenges in Silent Hope’s localization due to its premise. Most of its cast doesn’t utter a word, so how does the localization team instill characterization throughout a group that largely can’t express themselves verbally?
Dino responded that since the Princess does a lot of narration and monologuing, the team has to write well for that because others can hear, yet can’t respond. Therefore, the localizers constantly have to account for that and ensure that her lines aren’t one-note. Although the playable characters themselves can’t speak, they still have voiced battle grunts; Dino mentioned the excellent work the voice cast put into Silent Hope and how they are another avenue that brings life into them.
The demo begins right at the beginning of the game. I chose the Fighter for its tutorial section; Dino noted that both the Fighter and Rogue have been the fan favorites from observing others playing it at PAX West.
Each playable character in Silent Hope is unique; they have their own moveset and abilities. The Fighter is quick and powerful, though she has to be right next to foes to make the most of what she can do. She only has one ability that fires off a small ranged projectile, while her basic attack string and deadly uppercut skill need enemies to be extremely close for her to reach them. Every character seems to have at least one move that buffs them too. For the Fighter, it increases her attack speed and movement speed. The roster's skills can usually also inflict debuffs and status ailments as well.
As I traveled through the tutorial area, I was constantly picking up crafting materials and other miscellaneous collectibles, which would feed into the game’s Base Camp system in-between dives into The Abyss. There were interactable crystal teardrop nodes that players could access if they wanted to switch out their current character or return back to the surface. I believe this was a way to fast-travel to other dungeon floors that you unlocked, but I wasn’t too sure since this was still at the very beginning.
Nevertheless, Dino stated that Silent Hope would often checkpoint the player’s progression in The Abyss. While the title does contain some roguelike elements, it is not a pure roguelike from top to bottom. They said that it has a clear progression system and a definitive end to the story; plus, Silent Hope will have post-game content.
I visited the Base Camp after completing the tutorial. It’s fairly compact with all the buildings laid out in a circle, so you can get to everything in a short amount of time with only having to take a few steps. All the other playable characters are there managing their own shop or station. At the Base Camp, players can strengthen their equipment, tend livestock to collect their byproducts, grow crops at a farm, cook dishes with ingredients you’ve collected, and such. There’s a training dummy off to the side for those that want to test out a character briefly before continuing their adventure.
For the next part of the PAX West demo, I decided to try out the Farmer. After all, it’s not a typical class type you’d see in a RPG. Despite her small frame, she was armed with a trident and could attack enemies from a further safer distance than the Fighter could. The Farmer’s first ability has her run in a straight line with her trident out, while she summons a green bubble that goes towards enemies to inflict a few debuffs simultaneously, such as poison and confusion, in her second skill. To buff herself up, the Farmer pulls a turnip out of the ground to eat it.
Each character can eventually access one of two Advanced Classes at a certain point in the game. Dino told me that one of the Farmer’s Advanced Classes allows her to send farm animals to fight off foes too, so I absolutely have to continue playing her in the full release.
Right before I resumed the demo, I inquired Dino about how dungeon floors worked in Silent Hope; are there layouts randomized or do they all have predefined map layouts? I was informed that dungeon floors in The Abyss have procedurally generated randomized layouts, but they will be “saved” when a player finishes exploring that floor. Someone’s floor 36 will be different from another person’s floor 36, but both of those unique floor 36 layouts will remain for each of those players once they finish navigating it and moving on.
Some specific areas, such as boss floors, do have set handcrafted layouts that remain the same in each copy of Silent Hope. This also applies to several other segments due to narrative reasons.
Making my way to the end of the next dungeon floor led me to my first boss encounter - a giant enemy crab. I was delighted to see that my poison and confusion debuffs could still be applied to this boss. After chipping away at its health, it retreated to a little island at the top corner of the screen that my character couldn’t get to. It summoned two crab minions before entering the battle arena once more.
At one point in the fight, I confused a minor crab enemy to go attack the boss, but it was on the island I couldn’t reach. It just skittered menacingly across the body of water as the status ailment wore off moments and that amused me. Defeating the boss gave me a lot of goodies to take back to Base Camp. Some of them were unknown, unidentified items that needed to be looked at back there.
This concluded my time with Silent Hope for now. I want to check out the full game when it releases on October 3; this seems to be a pleasantly relaxing game that will pass the time nicely. I’d like to see how the other characters play and experiment with all of their Advanced Classes. Silent Hope will be releasing on the Nintendo Switch and PC (Steam).