One of the more highly anticipated upcoming games is Kena: Bridge of Spirits. Since the game was first introduced to the world during a 2020 Sony PlayStation event, critics and gamers alike have fallen in love with its colorful artstyle and enchanting world. Many have compared the game to a Pixar movie. Recently, in an interview with Newsweek, voice actor Tod Fennell revealed why Kena: Bridge of Spirits reminds everybody so much of their favorite Pixar movies.
From screenshots and trailers that have been released, it is not hard to understand where the Pixar comparisons come from. The liberal use of color, the characters with smooth skin, and the cute aesthetic share many similarities with animated films such as Toy Story and The Good Dinosaur. Fennell says as much when he claims that the game is “almost like a Pixar movie in terms of how it looks and feels.”
However, the similarities do not stop at just the visuals. Much like your favorite Pixar films, Kena: Bridge of Spirits also features an emotional story. It stars Kena, a girl who is armed with her magical staff and an army of cute, black balls of fluff known as the Rot. It is Kena’s job to help troubled souls make their transition from the realm of the living to the next one. At its core, the game is about emotional catharsis. Fennell warns that “players are going to be surprised by the level of depth, intensity and emotion here.”
Fennell is the voice of Taro, one of the bosses that you will encounter in the game. Even when you are dealing with enemies, however, the goal is still to help others. Taro, like every spirit in the game, has two forms. When you first encounter them, they will be hostile. However, once they have been defeated, a softer side will emerge. Through this, Fennell explains, “you see how people can struggle to handle their pain and where that can go if you do not deal with it properly”.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is far from the first game to feature Pixar-like visuals. The recently released Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart often looks and feels like a playable animated film too. However, despite being relatively new to gaming, Ember Lab may be uniquely qualified to achieve the desired aesthetic thanks to their years of experience with CGI.
Ember Lab was founded in 2009 by Mike Grier and Josh Grier, who are brothers. The studio originally began as an animation and digital content studio. They have produced several CGI adverts for major companies including Coca Cola and Hisense. A short film titled Majora’s Mask – Terrible Fate was also released by the studio. It is an imagined prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
Unfortunately, Kena: Bridge of Spirits recently had its release date delayed. Ember Lab explained that this difficult decision was taken to ensure that the game is polished on all platforms. It is now set to release on the 21st of September, which is about a month away from its previous release date.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits will be available on PC, PS4 and PS5.