It’s official – Planet of Lana will be playable for the first time at gamescom 2022! Myself and the team at Wishfully Studios have been super busy preparing this playable demo for the show. With that in mind, I wanted to give Xbox fans a little taste of what’s to come and highlight some of the key elements and gameplay mechanics that we will be debuting next week. Before we get into that, we do have another announcement to make: Planet of Lana will be launching in Spring 2023.
We initially planned for Planet of Lana to launch this year, however as development has progressed throughout 2022, we realized that in order to meet our standards, we need a little more time to get Planet of Lana right and ensure it lives up to the vision we have presented for it so far. We also think that we owe this to you, the players, not to compromise this experience just to meet a date. We think the extra few months wait will be worth it and we thank you for your patience and understanding. Delaying a game is never an easy call to make, but with all the support we have received thus far, we hope to make everyone happy when it launches. On a brighter note, we are also extremely excited to finally announce that Planet of Lana will also be available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, so anyone subscribed to those services or to Game Pass Ultimate will be able to play our off-earth odyssey as soon as it is ready. To help tide you over, we have prepared a brand new trailer to celebrate our new release timeframe and the Game Pass news – check it out!
Okay, with the housekeeping out of the way, let’s talk about the game! Planet of Lana is set on the planet Novo. The story begins as a hostile robot army descends onto this lush haven, and Lana, a young girl native to the planet, is caught up in the invasion with her sister. As they attempt to flee, Lana’s sister is caught by the attackers. With no other option, Lana heads for safety. Alone and afraid, she finds herself at the mercy of the hostile Novo wilderness. However, she soon meets Mui, a cute cat-like creature who consoles her and they quickly befriend each other. Strengthened by this sudden show of companionship, Lana embarks on a journey across her world to find and save her sister and unravel the mysterious origin of the mechanical invaders, with Mui at her side.
The first biome in Planet of Lana is filled with lush forests, expansive fields of grass, rocky cliff sides and a few cavernous areas dug deep into the stone. During their time in this area, Lana and Mui will begin to get to know one another. Our gameplay possibilities expand as their relationship does, allowing Lana to direct Mui to certain areas, or to accomplish tasks Lana cannot. Not only will the pair be traversing this landscape and figuring out environmental puzzles together, but they will also have to navigate some tense encounters with the robot invaders. In these cases, hiding in the shadows or crouching in tall grass will keep Lana and Mui hidden from the robot sensors. Holding down the LT trigger will get Lana to crouch, where she will move slowly and quietly, while also automatically hiding in tall grass.
So, how do you guide Mui across the game? She will naturally follow you, but there are also commands you can give her. She may look like a cat, but you can think of Mui’s behaviour closer to that of a dog. You can ask her to stay in place, to follow you, and you can also direct her to particular places. The stay and follow commands are both mapped to the B button on your Xbox controller. A tap will make Mui stay in one spot, while holding the button down will get her to follow you.
Mui is a lot smaller than Lana, so there are places she can crawl into that Lana cannot. Mui is also really nimble, so she can even jump across large gaps or up to high places with ease. When directing Mui to a specific point, holding down the RT trigger will bring up an on-screen UI that signals where you are pointing to in the game world. You can move it around freely with the analogue stick and it will also smartly snap to particular points of interest, too. Once you have chosen a spot for Mui to get to, simply press the A button and she will dash over there.
There are times where Lana and Mui will be briefly separated while figuring out a particular puzzle. You may need to head onward in order to move something blocking Mui’s path, or Mui may need to keep a button held down somewhere which opens a door or hatch containing something you need. You’ll often have these mini environmental puzzles where Lana and Mui are in different places, using their abilities in order to progress to the next part of the game. When this happens an animated icon dynamically pops up, showing you which direction Mui is located in and what her status is. For example, if she is sitting or moving towards you.
What’s something else dogs and cats do? Bite, of course! There are times where Lana will need Mui to use her teeth to chew through bits of rope or other materials. When there’s a contextual action that Mui can perform, a prompt to press Y button will dynamically pop up. Mui may chew through some rope, push objects down to you, or other similar actions. In this example from the demo, she can chew through the rope that is holding up a drawbridge.
These examples are just a few of the scenarios you will find across your journey through Novo with Lana and Mui. As your adventure progresses and their relationship grows, new abilities will be available to both characters. Your odyssey will also take you across the varied and beautiful landscape of this wondrous planet, from the lush green hills you’ve seen here today, to the deep blue expanse of the sea, swamps, old forgotten shipwrecks and finally into the golden sands of the desert lands. What surprises lie in store for our dynamic duo? We’ll be sharing a few more secrets next week at gamescom, where you can play the demo for yourself. For those who can’t make it, catch us live on the Xbox gamescom 2022 Stage on August 25th for an extended look at the demo, where we’ll share even more details about Planet of Lana.
Thanks to everyone who has been supporting us since we debuted our off-world odyssey at Summer Game Fest in 2020 and we can’t wait to share our first gameplay demo at gamescom next week!