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This Seemingly Small Change Will Make A Huge Difference In Hollow Knight: Silksong

Team Cherry has been hard at work on Hollow Knight: Silksong, the upcoming sequel to one of 2017's most beloved indie titles, the soulslike metroidvania Hollow Knight. Details have been scarce since Silksong was first announced in February 2019. But in an interview for the February 2021 issue of Edge magazine, which was teased last monthSilksong's co-directors shared new gameplay details, especially concerning how one subtle difference in Silksong's player character will give the game a much different feel.

In issue #354, which can be purchased digitally at the Apple Store, Ari Gibson and William Pellen discussed how the size of Silksong's protagonist, Hornet, required them to rethink the overall game's design. Hornet was already a secondary antagonist in the previous game. She's taller and more agile than the first game's hero, the unnamed Hollow Knight, at least until the player unlocks upgrades to make Hollow Knight more athletic. Since Hornet's abilities are so much better, Team Cherry had to make Silksong more difficult.

"Hornet can travel so much faster, she can jump higher, she can mantle or clamber onto ledges, she's generally more acrobatic," Gibson told Edge. "So the caves around her need to accommodate her height." The level design needed to be more dangerous, with less "glowy orb things and bursts of light," and more "blades and traps," Gibson added.

Enemy design also needed to be reconsidered. For example, the Knight of the first game could induce enemies to attack and then fall off a ledge to their doom. "The characters in [Silksong], they're kind of one step beyond that, where it doesn't quite feel right for them to be that simple. Like, they have to have surprising ways of chasing you, keeping up with you, or evading your attacks."

Silksong was originally conceived as DLC for Hollow Knight before Team Cherry realized they had enough for a full game. Picking up after the events of Hollow Knight, Silksong begins when Hornet is captured and imprisoned in the bowels of Pharloom, a decrepit kingdom ruled by "silk and song." In order to escape, Hornet must pass through exotic locales like coral forests, mossy grottoes, and misty moors and ascend to Pharloom's shining Citadel

For now, Silksong will be released on PC, Mac, Linux, and Nintendo Switch. Team Cherry hasn't announced a release date, but a 2019 blog post appropriately said the game would drop "when it's done." Hopefully that's some time in 2021.

Based on the Edge interview, it looks like fans can expect a game that's more of what they love, but just different enough to keep things interesting.