Sally appears to be an Animal Crossing set on Howl’s Moving Castle.

Sally, a new game in production by Lucid Tales, was announced today, and, well, try pigeonholing this one. The above teaser depicts a girl finding a frog with excitement, showing it off to several other NPCs, and then a stunning pullback revelation.

The airship’s name is Sally. You play a young kid, maybe 10-12 years old, amidst a group of other youngsters that make up the crew. The ship is commanded by two grandmothers, Alice and Beatrix, who can be seen in the trailer in front of a whiteboard with daily assignments for the youngsters written on it.

So, what is the game all about? There are several evident inspirations here, but no clear through-line. Final Fantasy IX, the Sims 3, Spiritfarer, Summer in Mara, Stardew Valley, and, of course, Animal Crossing are among the titles mentioned by the creators. Working on the ship include creating products, cooking food, looking after your fellow crew members, and maintaining and developing the ship.

In terms of non-gaming inspirations, you’re not alone if you instantly thought of Howl’s Moving Castle (the creators explicitly address Ghibli’s influence in the following devlog, which was shared with the announcement video).

The assignments serve as a foundation for what Sally is going for, which is the Animal Crossing-style of surprise and unexpected encounters with AI. Lucid Tales wishes to create a universe in which players are interested in experimenting with AI interactions and uncovering their identities, which are built from obvious and subtle qualities.

The notion is obviously ambitious, and this thing is simply stunning. It’s also a testament to Lucid Tales that this stuff seems so intriguing and is so difficult to nail down.

Or, as Louis, the studio’s AI lead, puts it: “Do you remember Call of Duty? No, it’s not like that at all.”

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