Niagara indie game studio releases audio-based action-adventure game, The Vale: Shadow of the Crown
Falling Squirrel, an independent video game studio and a creative service provider based in Niagara, has just released its audio-based combat and exploration game, The Vale: Shadow of the Crown on PC (Steam, itch.io and Epic Games) and Xbox One.
The Vale: Shadow of the Crown delivers a truly accessible experience. Its specialized 3D audio provides an immersive game experience designed to be accessible for visually impaired gamers.
“We’re thrilled to invite players to try out a unique and accessible take on the action-adventure genre,” said David Evans, Falling Squirrel Founder and Creative Director. We hope that what we’ve learned during The Vale: Shadow of the Crown will prove that games in a variety of genres – from indie to AAA – can be made accessible to blind and low vision gamers so that they can enjoy the same exciting experiences as sighted players.”
In The Vale: Shadow of the Crown, players embark on the emotional journey of the Second-to-the-Throne – blind from birth and recently exiled to the edges of the kingdom upon the coronation of their elder brother as King of the Land. Through the ears of the hero, players must embark on a treacherous journey as they explore the world around them, fight off enemies in challenging, interactive combat, hunt for resources, acquire gear and lose themselves in a rich narrative supported by top-tier voice acting.
Developed in close consultation with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), The Vale: Shadow of the Crown utilizes the latest in assistive technologies, including binaural audio and haptic controller feedback, to create an immersive experience and a thrilling action-adventure game. The team at Falling Squirrel is committed to their mandate to bring inclusive and accessible games to the mainstream—The Vale: Shadow of the Crown’s development features sincere and deliberate representation by employing visually impaired voice actors and developers.
Winner of the 2018 Ubisoft Indie Special Prize and the Reboot Develop Red 2019 Special Selection Prize, The Vale: Shadow of the Crown trades visuals for audio cues, creating a distinct take on action combat while also breaking down barriers for low-vision and blind gamers. Challenging battles, exciting quests, and AAA quality voice acting performances from dozens of acclaimed voice actors including Karen Knox (Starlink, Far Cry 5), Samer Salem (The Expanse, The Handmaid’s Tale), and Steve Cumyn (Far Cry 3, Versailles), make for a gaming experience, unlike anything you have ever played.
“This has been a passion project for the Falling Squirrel team - to create more equality in the video game industry - and we hope that The Vale shines a brighter light on inclusion within video games,” says Steve Boese, Manager, Tech Incubation at Innovate Niagara.
“We’ve been impressed since the beginning on how detail-oriented Falling Squirrel has been creating this game. Their knowledge of sound and how it can be used to create such a robust gaming experience, for both visually impaired and sighted gamers to enjoy equally, is second to none. And it shows in the final product. We’re extremely proud of them,” says Boese.
“Innovate Niagara has helped us through the process of developing this game,” says Evans. “The Innovate team helped us put a strong funding proposal together, which helped us secure financial support through the Ontario Creates IDM fund to develop The Vale: Shadow of the Crown.”