We saw a lot of big, bombastic reveals during today’s PlayStation Showcase, but hidden among the surprises of the Knights of the Old Republic remake and Marvel’s Wolverine was a decidedly more laid-back announcement for a game known as Tchia. It looks lovely.
Tchia is being developed by Awaceb, a small French studio inspired by the co-founders’ upbringing among the South Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia. The islands’ unique culture, influenced both by the indigenous Kanak peoples and their 168-year history under colonial French rule, naturally forms the basis of Tchia’s own setting and atmosphere.
“Climb, glide, swim, and sail your boat around a beautiful archipelago in this physics-driven sandbox,” the game’s official website reads. “Tchia’s special gift lets you take control of any animal or object you can find. Use their unique gameplays and abilities to travel, solve puzzles and uncover secrets. Fly around as a bird, explore the ocean as a fish, or dig treasures as a dog.”
While all the exploration stuff in Tchia looks really neat, I’m mostly excited about that ukulele.
The music mechanics seen in today’s trailer remind me a lot of the guitar segments in The Last of Us Part II, which provided wonderful breaks from that game’s violent rollercoaster ride of carnage. In Tchia, you’ll be able to jam on your own with picks, strums, and bends (I assume these words all mean something to musicians) as well as follow along with story-specific rhythm segments. Unlockable songs even have the potential to affect the world around you by attracting animals, conjuring rainstorms, and more.
Update (09/10/2021, 4:14 p.m. ET): When contacted by Kotaku about the similarities with The Last of Us Part II, Tchia director Phil Crifo pointed us to a 2018 tweet that shows his team was already working on the ukulele mechanics years before the bigger game’s release.
“The ukulele came from a desire to make a very analogic, tactile, physical game, and to create a ‘toy-box feeling’ sandbox world; all of our mechanics are designed with this philosophy in mind,” Crifo added.
I don’t know about you, but I’m already imagining some wonderful Tchia scenarios. They involve lots of hang-gliding and crab-petting, with brief breaks for flying over the island in the body of an eagle and trying to recreate some of my favorite Mountain Goats tracks on ukulele.
Tchia is bound for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC (via Steam and the Epic Games Store) sometime next year.