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Iam8bit, Moon Studios and Skybound Games Raise $58,000 for Rainforest Trust via Ori Charity Drive

Money for a great cause

Back in 2020, we shared news of a special charity drive from Moon Studios, iam8bit, and Skybound Games that aimed to raise money to help save the rain forest. That charity event turned out to be a major success, pulling in $58k for the organization Rainforest Trust. You can read full details about the charity and its efforts below.

Late last year, Moon Studios, iam8bit and distribution partner Skybound Games celebrated the physical release of the award-winning games Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps on the Nintendo Switch by pledging proceeds of all Nintendo Switch and iam8bit sales from December 8-13, 2020 towards supporting Rainforest Trust, a non-profit that preserves and protects millions of acres of tropical habitats.

With the help of Ori fans around the globe, the charity drive raised $58,000 for Rainforest Trust, dedicated to keeping the world’s rainforests safe. At an average cost of $2 an acre, that $58,000 will protect 29,000 acres of rainforest habitat - a space roughly 35 times the size of New York City’s Central Park, or double the size of Manhattan Island.

“As the publishers of the Ori series on Nintendo Switch, we could not be more thrilled by the outcome of this drive,” said Jon M. Gibson and Amanda White, co-owners of iam8bit. “Between Moon Studios’ eco-positive storytelling and Rainforest Trust’s incredible work protecting rainforests around the world, we are humbled by the fans that helped us raise $58,000 for Rainforest Trust’s cause, and honored to partner with such an organization.”

Those looking to get involved with Rainforest Trust or donate directly can visit their website here.

The physical editions of Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps, now available globally, feature six collectible art cards and digital downloads of the game’s respective soundtrack, composed by Gareth Coker for $39.99 each. Ori and the Will of the Wisps was the recipient of numerous “Game of the Year” accolades in 2020, including nominations for Best Action/Adventure, Best Art Direction and Best Score and Music at the 2020 Game Awards.

iam8bit has also released exclusive Ori Collector’s Editions for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows 10, which are available for $149.99 each. Each Collector’s Edition includes a Stained Glass Style Art Piece, “The Flora & Fauna of Ori” Field Guide, a Sketchbook Zine, Collectible Art Card Set, a Glow-in-the-Dark Pin, the Digital Soundtracks, and a Transforming Glow-in-the-Dark Display Box. To order a Collector’s Edition and for a closer look at the premium editions, visit ori.iam8bit.com.

Moon Studios says they have a lot of Nintendo fans on their team, and talk about the challenge of porting Ori titles to the platform

For the love of Nintendo

Moon Studios has brought both Ori games to the Switch, and in quite stellar fashion. Both games are really impressive technical achievements for the platform, running at 60fps and looking gorgeous while doing it. In an interview with Nintendo Life, members of the Moon Studios team talked about their passion for Nintendo, desire to bring Ori to Switch, and the challenges of the projects.

Daniel van Leeuwen, Lead Artist: A lot of people at Moon are big Nintendo fans and a game like Ori is just a perfect fit for the platform. Many of us were excited to play the game on our Switch so that definitely was a big motivational drive.

Gennadiy Korol, Co-Founder of Moon Studios and Lead Engineer: Being able to play a painting come to life platformer at 60fps in your lap? That’s a dream come true! We were not sure if something crazy like this would’ve ever happened but early on we have proven that we could do this port and Microsoft were really awesome to allow their IP on another platform in this way.

Daniel: Reaching 60fps on the Switch platform is a big challenge. In order to achieve this the way the game was rendered was completely rewritten to allow for a better control of where detail is preserved. Another big challenge was to make the seamless world stream in correctly and in time, especially because Ori has such fast paced platforming when you’ve gathered all the abilities.

Moon Studios says they've "left the door open" for an Ori sequel or spin-off, and would love to see Ori join Smash Bros. Ultimate

We want mori!

Switch owners have been very lucky to get a double dose of Ori over the last couple years. Both Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps are some of the best Metroidvania action you can find on any platform, with each game bringing in multiple awards and big sales. Can we expect there to be a third return to the world of Ori? IGN talked to Moon Studios lead artist Daniel van Leeuwen to find out.

"For now we're focused on our newest title, but we've left the door open for a return to Ori's world. It would really come down to whether or not there's a story that the team is excited to tell. There are a lot of possibilities for stories to tell in [Ori game settings] Niwen or Nibel. As you mentioned, both prequels and spin-offs would give us an opportunity to expand on the lore while giving a fresh perspective. Although we don't have anything planned at the moment, I think there's a lot of potential there. Sometimes I’ll have an idea that I think would be cool to explore, so I make a note of it and file it away for now. Continuing to expand on what we've already established could be a lot of fun."

Of course, another trip to the Ori universe doesn't have to take place in a game. Could there ever be an Ori comic book or animated series? Daniel spoke about that as well.

"There are some inherent restrictions to story-telling in a game, so that could be really interesting. I think Ori's world could very easily transfer to other media. In terms of lore, there's a lot we could dive into and explore more in-depth."

Finally, there's one thing that Moon Studios would definitely love to see with Ori. If Nintendo ever wants to add Ori to Smash, Moon Studios would definitely be on board. Company co-founder Gennadiy Korol shared their thoughts.

"I think all of us at Moon would LOVE to see Ori in Smash and we think that Ori’s moveset and fighting mechanics [would] be tons of fun. I honestly think this could be amazing and you should tweet Phil Spencer about it!"

Award Winning Ori Titles Available as Physical Editions for Switch on Dec. 8th, 2020

That's the Ori and we're sticking to it

iam8bit, together with Moon Studios and Xbox Game Studios, and with distribution by Skybound Games, will release the physical editions of Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps for Nintendo Switch on December 8, 2020. Both physical editions will retail for $39.99 / €39.99 and are available for pre-order at retailers around the globe starting today. This announcement comes on the heels of the September 17th global launch of Ori and the Will of the Wisps on the Nintendo eShop.

The physical editions of Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps will feature six collectible art cards and digital downloads of the game’s respective soundtrack, composed by Gareth Coker.

“We’re thrilled to be able to partner with Moon Studios and Xbox Game Studios to bring fans even more premium content for such a beloved series,” said Jon Gibson and Amanda White, co-owners of iam8bit. “Both Ori and The Blind Forest and Ori and The Will of the Wisps are both known as emotionally charged games, and we couldn’t be happier to commemorate their most memorable moments through these special physical edition releases.”

Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps both run at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second on Nintendo Switch, while allowing new players and longtime series fans to experience the game on the go thanks to the Switch’s portable nature.

iam8bit will also release three signature Ori Collector’s Editions for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows 10, which will be available for $149.99 starting December 8. For a closer look at the premium editions and to pre-order, please visit ori.iam8bit.com.

ABOUT THE ORI SERIES

Developed by Moon Studios, Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps are beautiful hand-drawn adventures about a young spirit destined for heroics, featuring tightly crafted platforming action and deeply emotional storytelling.

Originally released in March 2015, Ori and the Blind Forest launched to critical acclaim, garnering over 50 awards and nominations, including Best Art Direction from The Game Awards, the BAFTA Games Award for Artistic Achievement, DICE Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Original Composition, Art Direction and Animation.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps launched in March 2020 with Xbox Game Pass and on Xbox One, Windows PC and Steam, and was met with similar praise. Dubbed a Metacritic Must-Play title, the title received overwhelmingly positive reviews from media and fans alike, with GamesRadar+ calling it “one of the best platformers ever made, and ... an easy front-runner for game of the year.”

Previously only available physically on Xbox One, iam8bit and Moon Studios have partnered with Skybound Games to distribute physical editions for both titles on Nintendo Switch. This launch will also include a special Collector’s Edition only available on iam8bit.com that includes both titles, a premium display box, collectible art cards from the series, complete soundtracks from both titles and much more.

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition and Ori and the Will of the Wisps look set for standalone physical releases on Dec. 8th, 2020

Grab one, or grab both!

We already knew that both Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition and Ori and the Will of the Wisps were getting standalone physical releases, but we weren't sure when. While we still don't have an official public statement, Gamefly seems to know what's up.

Gamefly's website, which is absolutely stellar when it comes to this kind of information, shows both games as launching on Dec. 8th, 2020. That means those who don't want to cough up $150 for the Collector's Edition to get both games will be able to snag them individually in the not-too-distant future.

Thanks to Sephiroth_FF for the heads up!

Standard physical releases for Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition and Ori and the Will of the Wisps coming this year

Something to look forward to

If you want to get physical versions of Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition and Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the only way to do so right now is in a Collector's Edition bundle that's priced at $150. If that's a bit too pricey for you, or you just want one of those two games, you'll be in luck later this year.

The official Ori Twitter account confirmed that standard physical releases for both Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition and Ori and the Will of the Wisps are on the way. They'll be out later this year, but no specific timing was given. We also don't know which retailers will be stocking these titles, so we'll just have to hang tight.

Ori and the Blind Forest's composer says experimentation and play-testing were key to finding the right sound

Making beautiful music together

Ori and the Blind Forest is an absolutely gorgeous game, and it has a beautiful soundtrack to match. Ever wonder how that music came together? Gamasutra spoke to composer Gareth Coker to find out.

Moon Studios has a highly iterative approach that requires a lot of experimentation, and inevitably failure. Failure is encouraged at the studio because it’s always part of finding the best solution. I’ve often found it helpful when it comes to music to figure out what isn’t wanted so it can be removed entirely from the plethora of choices a composer has to sift through when writing. A phrase that often comes up is ‘show, don’t tell.’ It’s easier to figure out if something works or not if it’s actually tangible and can be shown, rather than pontificating in words or not whether it’s any good.

The studio also strongly encourages the entire team to test the game as much as possible whether you’re an employee or a contractor. As far as I’m concerned this is an extremely important part of my job. Time must be spent playing the game and my focus isn’t as much finding bugs, but it’s general big-picture things like overall flow and pacing, things that deeply affect music and the player’s experience over the longer term. I think there can sometimes be a dangerous tendency to score games in chunks without thinking about the overall experience. I’m looking to tie all that together so it’s more cohesive.

If you'd like to check out the interview in full, you can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

Ori and the Blind Forest 2xLP (2020 re-issue) available from iam8bit

Your second chance to grab this vinyl release

When Ori and the Blind Forest was first released in 2015, we had a good cry. Developer Moon Studios’ masterpiece of friendship, adventure and ephemeral glows struck an emotional chord in a uniquely universal way. On the eve of its 5th anniversary and the arrival of its predecessor, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, iam8bit is proud to present this brand new vinyl edition featuring beautiful album art by the incomparable Nicole Gustafsson. Composer Gareth Coker’s striking soundtrack reminds us just how magical an audio experience can be, especially when immortalized on wax. Listener beware, though — each note still tugs on the very same heartstrings as before.

Ori, Lost In The Storm
Naru, Embracing The Light
Calling Out
The Blinded Forest
Inspiriting
First Steps Into Sunken Glades
Finding Sein
Up The Spirit Caverns Walls
The Spirit Tree
Kuro's Tale I - Her Rage
Thornfelt Swamp
Down The Moon Grotto
The Ancestral Trees
Gumo's Hideout
Breaking Through The Trap
Climbing The Ginso Tree
Restoring The Light, Facing The Dark
The Waters Cleansed
Lost In The Misty Woods
Home Of The Gumon
Escaping The Ruins
Kuro's Tale II - Her Pain
Riding The Wind
Completing The Circle
Approaching The End
Mount Horu
Conundrum
The Crumbling Path
Racing The Lava
Fleeing Kuro
The Sacrifice
Light Of Nibel

- 2xLP 180-gram Black Audiophile Vinyl
- Foil Embellished Wide Spine Jacket
- Includes Full Digital Download, plus 29-track Definitive Edition including previously unreleased tracks
- Music by Gareth Coker
- Album Art by Nicole Gustafsson

Grab your copy here for $40

Ori and the Blind Forest "did well" on Switch, dev team has nothing to announce about Ori and the Will of the Wisps coming to Switch

Let's hope it happens at some point

There was a rumor of Ori and the Blind Forest coming to the Switch for a long, long time, and it eventually came true. Microsoft worked with Moon Studios to make the port happen, and it sounds like it was worth the effort. In an interview with USGamer, Moon Studios' Daniel Smith said the Switch port "did well," and also offered up these comments.

"I think one of the big things for us is that everybody worked so hard on Blind Forest that we wanted as many people as possible to experience what we created. I think it's exciting to just grow the family. Diehard gamers might have every console, and some gamers might only have one, so I thought it was a nice addition to add to a different pool of gamers who could enjoy the content we created."

The original game came over and its found an audience. That would make the sequel a lock, right? Moon Studios isn't ready to say anything just yet.

"We're Switch fans and I love Nintendo Switch, but we don't have anything to announce right now."

Thanks to Dondom95 for the heads up!

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition - Switch Vs. Xbox One comparison

Which looks best?

This is one of the few comparisons between systems where the Switch could actually come out on top! As we've mentioned in the past, the dev team behind Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition said that the Swtich version actually has some improved animations and smoother gameplay overall. Can you spot it in this Xbox One Vs. Switch comparison?

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