Last year, Patrick Soderlund left his role as chief design officer at EA to strike out on his own. Since then, he’s formed Embark Studios and revealed on Wednesday what the developers have been working on by giving an early look at the prototype.
Built using Unreal Engine, the prototype video shows off an early real-time environment test that looks positively stunning. The terrain map coupled with a dynamic lighting and weather system. It’s almost difficult to believe that the 256 square kilometers or terrain was put together by three people in three weeks using scanned data and procedural placement tools.
Embark hasn’t revealed much about exactly what kind of game all this terrain will be used for, but it will likely have open-world exploration involved. The related blog post states that it's the first step toward a broader idea, and that the studio has one overarching ambition — to blur the line between playing games and making them.
“Just like anyone today can produce their own videos, write their own blogs, or make their own music, we imagine a world where everyone is able to create and share meaningful interactive experiences,” writes Soderlund. “Our belief is that the more people that are empowered to create, the better, more interesting and more diverse games will become.”
More will be shown in the future, and at this rate of development, we probably won’t have long to wait before we see something more concrete come from Embark. Soderlund explained that the right approach for a small studio is to quickly get things out that can be built upon. With a popular game concept as the foundation, the studio can continue expanding its features and functionality to reach its long-term goals.