A look at Stonefly’s bugged-out art design, out today on PS5 and PS4

PS4 & PS5

Hey, hey everyone! I’m Adam Volker, creative director at Flight School Studio, the team behind the 2019 game Creature in the Well, a top-down, pinball-inspired, hack-and-slash dungeon crawler… or “pinbrawler” as we all lovingly called it.

Published by MWM Interactive, our next title, Stonefly, a mech adventure game launches today (woohoo!) and I want to pull the curtain back on some behind-the-scenes tidbits we’ve never shared before.

At Flight School Studio, we like to make things that feel a little weird and different. Storytelling and art are things that we love and we’re always trying new approaches to games to see what’s fun and exciting. Stonefly is definitely our next iteration exploring those ideas. 

You play as Annika Stonefly, a brilliant yet naive young inventor who sets out on her own journey after disappointing her father. The Stonefly family runs the local repair shop, working on mechs and because of Annika’s oversight, her father’s prized rig, Chrysa, is stolen by a thief in the middle of the night. Chasing the thief, Annika discovers a big fantastic world, that inspires her to invent new mech capabilities, all of which come in really handy when she encounters buggos out in the wilderness.

Inventing a world

Annika’s story was inspired by the journey that many of us on the development team have had. Sometimes taking on a huge journey can be paralyzing, and Annika not knowing everything she is about to undertake is just what she needs to get started. Her determination and directness is really inspiring. As she ventures out into the woods, she takes notes of the people she meets, the creatures, and fauna. She uses all of it as inspiration and she funnels that creativity into upgrades and abilities for her mech. It is in her curiosity that she finds knowledge.

In Stonefly’s world, tiny people travel in mechs that glide along the wind and are composed of a few upgradable components: the hull, legs, and antenna. Annika is no stranger to how these mechs function and is constantly upgrading her’s as you adventure through the game. Depending on how you play you’ll be encouraging Ann to invent wind abilities, upgrade the utilities of the mech or find inspiration for cosmetic upgrades hidden throughout the world. 

For example, after being slowed down by silken worm goo over and over Annika invents a similar ability for her mech that makes bugs move slowly while she gets the loot. And, for any fashionistas, you can also scan elements in the environment to change the color of your rig, or even come up with your own custom color scheme.

Slug it out or bugger off

Gathering resources to make those upgrades is where Stonefly gets intense. Out in the world, there are bugs who are hungry for the same resources you need. To harvest the minerals like Limodot and Fawnicle, you’ll have to shoo the bugs away so you can drop in and get the loot. Bug encounters inspire Annika to create new mech inventions so that throughout the game, you’ll not only get stronger but also develop new strategies for handling bugs and getting minerals before they do.

Speaking of bugs, each bug type will require a slightly different defense and engagement strategy. They’re inspired by everything from slugs to rhinos (seriously check out the animation and design for the Horned Beetle). For example, early on, many bugs you encounter will crawl on the ground, but Star Spiders fly high into the air making it hard to gain an aerial advantage. You’ll need to dodge their spinning defense and time your moves just right to stun them then shoo them away. With some advanced tactical strategy, you can even pit bugs against one another. Each encounter will require you to deftly use your abilities and smarts.

And, keep in mind, bugs won’t want to attack you unless minerals are around and you’re a threat: that’s when they’ll get aggressive. Use it to your advantage if you want to take a moment to repair or if you decide you’re not interested in confronting them at all.

Speaking of plans, clear your calendar because Stonefly is landing today at PlayStation Store. 

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