During Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest Kickoff Live!, viewers were treated to a new trailer showing off new gameplay from the upcoming indie video game Sable, the first trailer shown since its initial reveal at E3 in 2018. For those who don’t know, Sable is an upcoming 3D Open World Platformer developed by Shedworks and is proving to be a very unique adventure. According to Shedwork’s official website, Sable will task the players with guiding the titular Sable through her Gliding: a rite of passage that “will take her across vast deserts and mesmerizing landscapes, capped by the remains of spaceships and ancient wonders.”
Shedworks goes on to tell that Sable will see you “Explore the dunes on your hoverbike, scale monumental ruins and encounter other nomads as you unearth mysteries long forgotten and discover who she really is behind her mask…envelop yourself in Sable’s world and explore everything at your own pace. There is a lot in this world just waiting to be discovered.”
The new trailer shown during Summer Games Fest Kickoff Live gave viewers a new glimpse into how the game has evolved since its initial reveal. The colors are more vibrant and bright. They all mesh together elegantly. Sable sticks out the most among the environment, possibly due to her movement. From a technical standpoint, she appears to be animated to move at a slower framerate than the rest of the environment. When she runs towards the birds at the beginning of the trailer, they fly away smoothly and gracefully, whereas her animation is more choppy, akin to the “Into The Spiderverse” outfit from Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Sable can traverse the dunes with ease as well with her hoverbike which she can seemingly call upon at will if the trailer is any indication. This hoverbike leaves behind a vibrant red trail, which only adds more color to the beautiful environment. We can also see Sable hovering and gliding from great heights, as well as her climbing the side of a towering mountain. There are many tools at the player’s disposal for exploring the dunes of this planet, with more secrets to be uncovered such as the many puzzles Shedworks has promised are scattered throughout the game.
One of the most unique parts of this reveal was the live performance during this trailer by Japanese Breakfast. Japanese Breakfast performed the song “Glider”, and it truly made this trailer stand out among the rest. The beautiful vocals added a sense of emotion to this trailer that many games just can’t emulate. Those who enjoyed this performance will be happy to hear that Japanese Breakfast wrote the soundtrack behind Sable.
In an interview with Uproxx, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner talked about what it was like crafting the soundtrack for Sable. “It was so different honestly. I mean, it’s the first project that I’ve been a cog. That sounds really reductive, but I really appreciate being a cog in the creative machine. [Gregorios Kythreotis and Daniel Fineberg, the two-person team behind Sable developer Shedworks] are very much the directors of that project, and I just was so excited to contribute to someone else’s vision that I trusted. And to their credit, they were very supportive and pretty hands-off and just let me be creative and truly liked everything that I submitted for the most part.”
“It’s definitely a different vibe because first of all, lyrically, there are only like three songs with lyrics on the soundtrack, but you have to approach it from a place that’s not necessarily personal to you,” Zauner said when discussing the differences between writing music for a song and writing pop music.” “It has to be this kind of universal feeling and it has to feel like it lives within the game. Also, a lot of the time for me, when I was writing, the narrative wasn’t all the way put together, so you have to kind of guess what’s going to cover the general idea of what’s happening.”
Furthermore, Zauner said, “Also, because it’s an open-world game, you have to make sure that the songs are really sprawling and don’t get grating. It’s very different from writing pop music where you’re always trying to find a hook that gets stuck in your head. It’s almost the opposite of that, because if you had something like that constantly for ten minutes while you’re exploring a place, it would get really f****ing annoying, so having to do more ambient sprawling work was interesting.”
Michelle Zauner cited Alan Menken as an inspiration for the soundtrack. “It’s a coming-of-age story, so also my influences were super different for it. I was thinking a lot about Alan Menken and how he crafts this universal feeling and a song that everyone can relate to. That was actually a really lovely experience for me and took me to a very different place in my songwriting because I feel like so much of what I do for Japanese Breakfast is rooted in specific detail. I was doing these broad strokes of human feeling, like, what’s it like to feel uncertain about the future? Or coming of age, or discovering what path do you want to pursue? Instead of filling it with all these kind of little details, you have to sort of do these broad strokes but also make it compelling. So that was really fun for me.”
Sable is scheduled to release on September 23, 2021, for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.