Kena: Bridge of Spirits may the PS5’s surprise sleeper hit

Ember Lab
Ember Lab /

Kena: Bridge of Spirits could be a sleeper hit on the PS5.

New game development studio Ember Lab took a gamble revealing Kena: Bridge of Spirits during the huge PlayStation 5 future of gaming event. With so many heavyweight blockbusters and PlayStation exclusives revealed, it’s easy for a new game from a new developer to get lost in the hype. But Kena: Bridge of Spirits stood out and could be a sleeper hit on the PS5.

Slated to debut in time for the 2020 holiday season, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a story-driven action-adventure that blends narrative with exploration, puzzle-solving, and fast-paced combat. Debuting alongsid ethe launch of the PS5, Kena: Bridge of Spirits could be in a position to succeed with the right marketing behind it — especially with how gorgeous it looks.

Kena is a young Spirit Guide on a quest to uncover the mysterious story surrounding the demise of the village. Using her staff and the help of her collection of tiny companions known as the Rot, the player will disarm adversaries, unlock new skills, uncover secrets, and restore the beauty of the land. Kena’s abilities revolve around enhancing her abilities with the help of her Rot companions. Building a bond with the Rot leads to a deeper, more organic combat and a nuanced skill evolution. The game will make use of some of hte PS5 DualSense’s biggest features, such as the haptic feedback simulating string resistance for Kena’s Spirit Bow.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is the first game from Ember Lab. Formed in 2009 by brothers Josh and Mike Grier with a staff of 14, the studio has created character-driven animated commercials and branded game apps for clients such as Coca-Cola, Major League Baseball, and Hisense.

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Many in the game industry may know the studio for Majora’s Mask – Terrible Fate, a short fan film released in 2016 that explored the dark origin story of the Skull Kid. The short combines real-world locations and CG characters. It has been viewed more than 20 million times across YouTube and Facebook and has been praised as one of the best game-inspired fan films.

Ember Lab also released an original sci-fi/fantasy short film titled Dust. The film was named Best Film at DragonCon; Best Sci-Fi by Hollyshorts; Best VFX, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best of Fest at Filmquest; and is a Worldfest Remi Award Winner.

Over two dozen games were announced for the PS5 during the event, but it’s unclear how many will be available at the system’s launch. If Kena: Bridge of Spirits is one of them, it could attract a lot of eyeballs early on in the console’s lifecycle.