Sally looks like Animal Crossing set on Howl's Moving Castle

Announced today, Sally is a new game under development by Lucid Tales and, well, try pigeonholing this one. The above trailer shows a girl finding a frog with some delight, showing it off to various other NPCs, and then a pullback reveal that is simply awesome.

Sally is the name of the airship. You play a young kid, think kind of 10-12 years old, among a bunch of other kids, and these kids make up the crew. The ship's captained by two grandmothers, Alice and Beatrix, seen in the trailer in front of a blackboard containing daily tasks for the children.

So what exactly is the game? There are a tonne of obvious influences here but no one straight through-line. The developers cite games as varied as Final Fantasy IX, the Sims 3, Spiritfarer, Summer in Mara, Stardew Valley, and of course Animal Crossing. Working on the ship will involve crafting items, making food, looking after your fellow crewmates, and maintaining and improving the ship.

In terms of non-gaming influences, if you immediately got Howl's Moving Castle vibes then you're not alone (the developers openly discuss Ghibli's influence in the following devlog, posted alongside the reveal trailer).

The tasks are kind of the scaffolding for what Sally's aiming at, which is that Animal Crossing sense of surprising and unexpected interactions with AI. Lucid Tales wants to make a world where players are interested in experimenting with the AI interactions and discovering their personalities, which are constructed from traits obvious and subtle.

The concept is certainly ambitious—and this thing just looks gorgeous. It's also every tribute to Lucid Tales that this thing looks so interesting, and is so hard to pin down. 

Or, as the studio's AI lead Louis says: "Remember Call of Duty? Yeah, it's nothing like that."

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Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."