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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 getting Ori and the Will of the Wisps to hit 60fps on Switch was the hardest thing the studio's ever done

An immense technical hurdle

There was a time when we didn't even know if Ori and the Will of the Wisps would come to Switch. The game was revealed for the platform as a surprise, and it came over in all of its 60fps glory. How is that even possible? In an interview with NintendoEverything, Moon Studios explains the extremely hard work that went into achieving that goal.

A lot of us didn’t even believe that a 60fps goal was even within reach, but we knew that Ori at 30fps would just never feel right. We knew we wanted that instant response and silky smooth animation and horizontal scrolling.

Honestly reaching 60fps was most of what we did during the entire duration of this port and it took many many iterations, content changes, rendering pipeline rewrites, streaming fixes, memory optimization and hard core engine optimizations to be able to consistently hit 60.

When you’re targeting 60fps on a Switch it’s a bit of a “all or nothing” situation when it comes to optimization. You absolutely have to make sure every single aspect of the engine between simulation, streaming, rendering and the graphics hit that 16ms frame target. If you can’t, the game will never hit 60.

This was the hardest thing we’ve done at Moon and we’re very happy to see the response from the players. It’s extremely rewarding to see how it all came together and how appreciative everyone has been having seen how Will of the Wisps runs on this platform!

Moon Studios discusses the "intense" work of bringing Ori and the Will of the Wisps to Switch

3.5 months of grueling work

The Switch plays host to numerous impressive ports, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps is definitely one of them. Even though the project is 2D, it still presented a ton of challenges for the dev team. In an interview with NintendoEverything, Moon Studios shared details on the challenges the project presented.

“I think all in all the Switch port itself took around 3.5 months to complete and it was quite an intense effort on our teams part! The heavy duty optimization work that we had put in earlier for the Xbox platform patches definitely helped to get a head start on the Switch port. That being said, when we started we were only hitting 24fps even with heavily compromised visuals which was quite a far-cry away from our goal!

As usual, game development is tough and being able to make a game like Will of the Wisps really shine on the Switch required taking quite a few risks and making heavy changes in order to be able to achieve the visual quality we felt Ori deserved on that platform. Luckily those risks really paid off and things really came together towards the end!”

iam8bit, Moon Studios, and Skybound Games pledge upwards of $25k to rainforest trust

Gaming for a good cause

Want to help save the rainforests while also enjoying a fantastic game? You can do so, and all it takes is a purchase of Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Get full details on this unique opportunity below.

To celebrate the physical releases of the award-winning Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps titles for Nintendo Switch, which are now available globally starting today, iam8bit, together with developer Moon Studios and distribution partner Skybound Games, have come together to support Rainforest Trust. iam8bit has committed to a base donation of $25,000 to aid in the conservation of the most threatened tropical forests and saving endangered wildlife. In addition, 5% of all Nintendo Switch and iam8bit sales from December 8-13 will go directly to support Rainforest Trust’s efforts in preserving and protecting millions of acres of tropical habitats.

“iam8bit’s very first game as a publisher is Ori and the Will of the Wisps on Nintendo Switch. As a publisher, we considered how best to spend the game's marketing budget, and decided to shake things up to try and make a positive difference with that money,” said Jon M. Gibson and Amanda White, co-owners of iam8bit. “As we’ve worked with Moon Studios to publish the Ori series on Nintendo Switch, we’ve been struck by their dedication to expressing nature as a living, breathing entity worthy of protection. Following their lead, we wanted to do our part to preserve nature, and are excited to work with the wonderful and dedicated people at Rainforest Trust to do just that.”

HOW DONATIONS WORK:

Between December 8-13, iam8bit will automatically process donations on behalf of fans, regardless of region. Fans can participate in three ways:

Download Ori and the Will of the Wisps from the Nintendo eShop

Purchase Ori and the Will of the Wisps physical edition from any retailer globally, including Amazon (worldwide), Game (UK), Best Buy, GameStop and hundreds of others.

Purchase the Ori Collector’s Edition directly from iam8bit.com

Calculated based on sales reports during this time period, all fans’ purchases will directly benefit the Rainforest Trust. iam8bit will report back on the success of the charity drive on all iam8bit social media channels the following week. 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, available globally starting today, feature six collectible art cards and digital downloads of the game’s respective soundtrack, composed by Gareth Coker for $39.99. Ori and the Will of the Wisps was nominated 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, Transforming Glow-in-the-Dark and a Display Box. To order a Collector’s Edition and for a closer look at the premium editions, visit ori.iam8bit.com.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps originally ran at 24fps on Switch, but Moon Studios "liked the challenge" of hitting 60fps

Ori and the will of the devs

Seeing Ori and the Will of the Wisps running at 60fps on Switch is truly impressive. Many didn't think Ori and the Blind Forest could squeeze out 60fps on Switch, but somehow it did. How in the world did Moon Studios pull off that feat again with the more technically-demanding sequel? It took a ton of hard work, not surprisingly.

In an interview with NPR, Gennadiy Korol, lead engineer at Moon Studios, talked about the challenge of getting the game up to snuff on Switch. Check out his comments below.

"We had a rock-solid frame-rate on the Xbox. We thought 'Awesome! We've invested all this time on the Xbox; now we can start the Switch port. So we run it and it starts at, like, 24 FPS. That was already after a few months of hard optimization [for the Xbox]," said Korol. "How can we push this to 60 [FPS]? When you're optimizing a game like this on a platform that is so weak, [and] you wanna get 60 [FPS], it's an 'all-or-nothing' approach. Some of us just like the challenge."

Thanks to Sligeach_eire for the heads up!

Patch now available for Ori and the Will of the Wisps

What's the story, Ori?

While seeing Ori and the Will of the Wisps on Switch has been quite magical, there have been a handful of bugs and glitches hampering the experience. Moon Studios is out to fix those issues with today's patch. Check out full details on the update below.

Last month, we surprised everyone by fulfilling the number one community request since the launch of Ori and the Will of the Wisps: Bring it to the Switch! We heard you loud and clear and are so thankful for the support and love from the Ori community. Moon Studios have been hard at work improving your Ori experience on the Switch, and the update includes:

Stability fixes to address multiple memory crashes, a graphical crash, and a docked/undocked swap crash.
Spirit Trial leaderboards and ghosts updated to show your friends scores and routes.
Improved Spirit Trial framerate performance.
Fixed multiple instances of Ori falling out of world due to scene loading race conditions.
Curtailed internet popup warning when swapping from online to offline during gameplay.

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.

Nintendo's "The Download" for September 2020

Check out some highlighted Nintendo Switch games that were released during the month of September 2020 on Nintendo eShop:

Spellbreak
Ori and the Will of the Whips
WWE 2K Battlegrounds
Super Mario 3D All-Stars
Spinch
Hades
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition
The Long Dark
AVICII Invector
Going Under
Hotshot Racing
Piffle: A Cat Puzzle Adventure

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