PAX EAST 2023 | "Farewell North"
Even when in our downest of days, we can always trust a dog to help boost our spirits. Kyle Banks’s upcoming game Farewell North demonstrates that to the extreme, as you play a four-legged friend aiding their master in grief. At Mooneye Studios’s booth, I bore witness to the first part of Farewell North, with a demo finale that gave me goosebumps as it wrapped up.
You arrive in Scotland, as your owner carries an urn close to her chest. The world is gray, and not because you are a dog. Instead, it’s the owner who is seeing things in bleak shades, and it is up to you to bring back the color in her life. Throughout the land, you need to not just fill your surroundings with color, but find things that’ll help scatter it throughout your vicinity.
The puzzle aspect of Farewell North has you seeking special flowers to carry through gray areas, which can be obtained with a quick bark. These flowers also assist with unblocking areas, as well as repairing broken paths and rebuild lost bridges. In one part, I needed to find enough birds to bring my master out of a deep depression, as she was in an area that reminded her too much of her lost loved one. Once the puzzle was solved, I was greeted with some truly beautiful imagery, the kind that would easily make anyone smile upon looking at it.
It’s clear that there is a sad undertone to Farewell North, which might make it hard for some players to give it a go. However, the way it handles grief is done both tastefully and lovingly. We’ve all been in situations like this owner, and how this game showcases it is surprisingly comforting. Not only is it telling a story that’s visually beautiful, but also spiritually.
Farewell North has its heart in the right place. Grief is one of the toughest subjects to bring to life in a video game, and Kyle Banks has done a great job with showcasing it. It makes me hope that the narrative will take us on a journey through the grieving process, in a matter that’ll know when to hold your hand and when to let you conquer a challenge on your own. Knowing what I’ve already played, I feel like Farewell North will do just that.
While a set date has yet to be announced, Farewell North will arrive sometime later this year.