Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an upcoming third-person action-adventure game in development at Ember Lab, a 3D animation studio turned game developer that has put together gorgeously crafted animations that match some of the best-looking films of today.
Ember Lab is owned by brothers Josh and Mike Grier, and it’s one of the few Black-owned game studios in the industry. Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Kena: Bridge of Spirits, including details on its release date, gameplay, story and more.
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Kena: Bridge of Spirits release date
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is currently set to launch on August 24. It received multiple delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, jumping from late 2020 to March 2021 to the current August release window. It’s possible the game might see another delay, but it’s unlikely considering we’re only a month away from release.
The game is set to launch on PS5, PS4 and the Epic Games Store on PC. It’s also a timed console exclusive, which means once enough time has passed, it could arrive on other platforms. Furthermore, purchasing it on PS4 will give players the upgraded PS5 version for free. The game is also launching with a $39.99 price tag, which is a lot less expensive than the standard $60-70 of most PS5 games.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits story
Kena: Bridge of Spirits revolves around Kena, a young girl who finds herself in a destroyed village that befell a terrible calamity many years ago. She works to restore it by guiding spirits from one realm into another to help them move on.
As Kena, players will help spirits combat their regrets and confront unfinished business. We also know the story will feature a tragedy related to Kena’s past involving her father. Beyond this, details on where the story might go are vague. However, the tone seems bittersweet, and due to its gorgeous Dreamworks-esque animation, it’ll likely feature engrossing emotional moments and beautiful imagery to inspire players.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits gameplay
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a third-person action-adventure game where players use Kena’s magical abilities to combat a terrifying darkness that seeks to wreak havoc. You’ll use a staff to combine light, heavy, and charged attacks in battle, with a ranged bow moveset also available.
Additionally, there’s a magical shield with a depletable bar that lowers depending on how often the player uses it to defend against enemy attacks. This also provides hints in the environment, and can even activate certain objects. Kena will likely feature a number of puzzles, as the spirit companions known as the Rot can be directed in different ways to perform specific actions, like moving objects or shapeshifting. In a Game Informer interview, Ember Lab provided an example where players can use the Rot to “pull a broken bridge back into shape temporarily” in order to cross a gap.
The Rot will only help in battle once their courage has been increased, which can be done by attacking enemies. Ember Lab also clarified that the Rot found on your journey won’t just die in combat; “you don't need to worry about digging tiny little graves or anything morbid like that.” These companions are discoverable in hidden places around the world, meaning you’ll have to check every nook and cranny to collect all 100 of them. It’s also important to keep in mind that Kena is not an open-world game. The previously mentioned village will serve as a hub where players can head into other areas, with Ember Lab referring to it as a “wide linear” game.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits trailers
Kena: Bridge of Spirits has received a number of trailers since it was announced during Sony’s PS5 Future of Gaming event during June of last year. This initial reveal employed a combination of cinematic and gameplay elements to showcase what the game would look like in action.
In the trailer, we get a sense of the world's tone as an ominous voice monologues a struggle between Kena and another entity. We see Kena traversing gaps with a double jump, the Rot working together to carry a stone figure, and some quick shots of how you’ll have to swiftly maneuver throughout fights. There’s even one moment that looks like Kena is parrying an attack at the last second.
A second trailer was revealed during Sony’s State of Play in February. This trailer shows a more polished look at the world; animations seem smoother and we see Kena traverse unique environments harboring more distinct spirits. This trailer also gives us a more intense first-look at what’s going on in the story, as the snippets of some sort of past trauma grows clearer.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits difficulty
In the same previously mentioned Game Informer interview, it was revealed that Ember Lab has “a lot of Sekiro and Soulsborne fans on the dev team, and while the game isn’t quite up to FromSoftware's difficulty, players will be challenged on the highest setting.”
This is exciting for me; I’m an absolute sucker for difficult games, especially when it’s properly balanced between rewarding and challenging. However, if you’re someone who wants to experience the story, the lowest difficulty setting will accommodate that.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits DualSense capabilities
Kena: Bridge of Spirits will feature haptic feedback and adaptive trigger support. As players draw back their bowstring, they’ll feel a light tension push against them on the trigger. And if you pull all the way, you’ll feel its increased tension against your finger. Players will also feel the haptic feedback from all of Kena’s abilities, ranging from her attacks to her shield.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits DLC
While nothing is confirmed yet, PlayStation Official Magazine UK spoke with Josh and Mike Grier about the possibility of DLC. Josh revealed that there’s potential for “additional spirits that we couldn’t get into this game,” which could mean we see the inclusion of new areas.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits outlook
Kena: Bridge of Spirits seeks to combine some of my favorite aspects of the medium, including a tight combat system, a rewarding level of difficulty, a beautiful world imbued with the most lovely sides of nature, an inspirational soundtrack, and an element of cuteness to bring it all together.
Its animation looks like something out of a modern Dreamworks film, and the score made in coordination with Balinese ensemble group Gamelan Çudamani has already sent chills down my spine. I’m sincerely looking forward to experiencing Kena’s emotional journey this August.