The Falconeer for Xbox Series X/S and PC: Everything you need to know

The Falconeer
The Falconeer (Image credit: Tomas Sala)

Dogfighting games are part of a classic genre that has been around for decades, and a brand new title has come to Xbox and PC to join its ranks: The Falconeer. And while The Falconeer has a lot in common with games of its ilk, there are also multiple aspects about the title that make it stand out significantly. Here's everything you need to know about The Falconeer.

Development and reveal

The Falconeer

Source: Tomas Sala (Image credit: Source: Tomas Sala)

The Falconeer was announced during X019, a special Xbox-themed event that took place in London in 2019. A reveal trailer was shown for the game and it was announced that the game would release on Xbox One and PC. Shortly before its release, it was announced that the game was also going to be available on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S as well.

What's fascinating about The Falconeer is that it was fully developed by one person: Tomas Sala, a game developer who is best known for his incredible Skyrim mods and for founding the studio Little Chicken Game Company in 2001. Since then, he has balanced his time between working as a Creative Director for the studio and working independently on games such as The Falconeer. He has also worked in a variety of development roles for various different clients.

Story and setting

The Falconeer

Source: Tomas Sala (Image credit: Source: Tomas Sala)

The Falconeer is set in a fantasy ocean world known as the Great Ursee. The Great Ursee is filled with treasure and powerful technologies to discover, but control of the Ursee's regions are split between five different factions: the Mancers, the Freebooters, the Imperium, the Civilians, and Rogue Pirates. Each of these factions has its own desires, goals, and unique strengths and weaknesses. The most powerful of the factions is the Mancers, as they have control over the majority of the Great Ursee's hidden technologies. However, due to their oppressive behaviors and tendency to ignore the pleas of the poor, the less powerful factions are starting to rise up against them.

In The Falconeer, you will be making your own story by deciding where your loyalties lie. Your choices can have a significant impact on the state of the faction conflicts, and as a result, what you decide to do will likely cause other factions to respond with their own moves. The open-ended nature of The Falconeer is incredibly interesting when you consider that the vast majority of dogfighting games have historically been linear in nature.

Gameplay design

Gameplay-wise, The Falconeer is mainly about using skillful flying and smart tactics to take down the enemy. The massive falcon you ride around is as responsive as a plane, and from its back, you can pepper foes with a hail of energy bolts and other types of weaponry. We don't yet know the full extent of what the player's arsenal contains just yet, but gameplay footage does show that players can use their falcon to perform quick rolls and flips to dodge gunfire or quickly change direction. You can also improve the stats of your gear and your falcon by turning in soulshards, a currency obtained by defeating enemies and completing missions. However, these are also needed for your faction, so you might not want to spend them all on yourself.

In terms of what enemies you'll be facing, there are many different types. Opposing falcon-riders, zeppelin warships, ground-based fortifications, and massive crustaceans are all potential adversaries you'll come across in the Great Ursee, and each foe will require a different tactic in order to succeed.

However, combat isn't everything. In fact, as my colleague Miles Dompier explained in his exclusive first look at The Falconeer, exploration is a large part of the gameplay experience as well. The Falconeer encourages players to venture out into the world of the Great Ursee and see what they can find in the downtime between engagements.

Visuals and presentation

The Falconeer

Source: Tomas Sala (Image credit: Source: Tomas Sala)

Something fascinating about The Falconeer's visuals is that according to Tomas Sala, no texture maps are used at all for any of the in-game models. This means that the lighting and shader technologies used for the game have to do all of the heavy lifting and had to be creatively tweaked. However, the end result is a stylized aesthetic that looks gorgeous. Not only does this textureless style look awesome, but it also helps The Falconeer stand out amongst other games.

In addition to the excellent visual style, the presentation of The Falconeer also consists of a cool soundtrack as well. As you soar through the air above the Great Ursee, music that makes use of lots of throat singing and didgeridoo instruments will play. These are sounds you almost never hear in video game music, and the fact that it's being used for The Falconeer gives the game's score a unique flavor.

Release date and pricing

The Falconeer

Source: Tomas Sala (Image credit: Source: Tomas Sala)

The Falconeer officially became available on November 10, 2020 as a launch title for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, as well as Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs. It costs $30.

Your thoughts

What do you think of The Falconeer? Are you planning on picking the game up? Let me know.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.