In Sable's new trailer, masks are an important way of life

Every time I see a trailer for Sable, it tickles the part of my brain that loves surreal, nearly psychedelic Moebius landscapes. While previous trailers for Sable have focused on the bigger picture of riding your hoverbike and climbing colorful desert landscapes, today's new trailer asks us to explore a true fantasy: A world where everyone wears masks.

Jokes aside, the new trailer offers a look at how masks play a huge cultural and mechanical role in the life of Sable's desert-dwellers. As someone who likes to see open-world adventure games straddle the line between narrative-focused and mechanics-driven, it seems like a fun way to keep invested in your young adventurer.

(Image credit: Raw Fury)

In Sable's world of Midden, choosing which mask you wear is a central part of reaching adulthood. Children wear neutral masks, but like any rebellious youth, they'll express their individuality by customizing them. When you hit adulthood, you're sent out on the "Gliding," a spiritual journey across the desert. To help with the journey, every young adult is given a Gliding stone that — you guessed it — allows you to glide across longer distances in a big orb. You acquire the floating bubble ability in Sable's playable demo and it more-or-less feels like Breath of the Wild's glider.

As you travel, you'll earn badges that you can trade in to craft new masks with different cultural backgrounds. From what we can tell, masks are more a cosmetic expression of yourself than a tool, but they each have their own unique style, like a feathered hunter mask or a scary beetle face. I'm going to take a wild swing and say that the beetle mask probably has something to do with the Starship Troopers bug chasing poor Sable partway through the trailer.

(Image credit: Raw Fury)

Getting badges needed to craft masks will come naturally, since a big part of your journey is just wandering around, helping people, and discovering new locations. Other masks can only be purchased with trading currency.

The trailer suggests that, by the end of the game, players might have to pick a final, permanent mask, a choice that's impacted by which characters you've met and which places you've visited. That's pretty much exactly what co-developer Daniel Fineberg said a while back, noting that Sable's journey ends when you want to take her back home.

It might sound like a tiny game, but Sable is shaping up to be one of our most anticipated adventures. You can read everything we know about Sable here, including release date, how gameplay and traversal works, and a glimpse at the soundtrack from Japanese Breakfast.

Sable is out on September 23 on Steam, GOG, Epic Games Store, Humble, and Xbox.

Joseph Knoop

Joseph Knoop is a freelance writer specializing in all things Fortnite at PC Gamer. Master of Creative Codes and Fortnite's weekly missions, Joe's always ready with a scoop on Boba Fett or John Wick or whoever the hell is coming to Fortnite this week. It's with a mix of relief and disappointment that he hasn't yet become a Fortnite skin himself. There's always next season...