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Creatures of Ava is the cozier version of Palworld: A 'creature saver' co-written by Rhianna Pratchett

 Creatures of Ava - a human player hugs an alien deer creature in a forest.
Creatures of Ava - a human player hugs an alien deer creature in a forest.

We're destined to come full circle again. This year started out with the massively popular Pokémon-with-guns and by the end we're now expecting to play 'Palworld but nice.' Announced during today's Xbox Partner Preview showcase, Creatures of Ava is a "creature saving" game focused on healing wild critters from an aggressive infection to become their friends instead of riddling them with bullets and pressing them into warehouse labor.

But wait, isn't the opposite of Palworld just Pokémon again? Well, no. Because in Creatures of Ava you aren't catching creatures against their will at all. And they definitely aren't fighting each other at your command, all respect to Pokémon. After healing these loosely dinosaur-like creatures of the infection, you'll form a bond with them and play your handy flute to make use of their abilities for traversing new parts of the world.

Creatures of Ava - a human player plays a flute while two small alien creatures listen in a grassy woods
Creatures of Ava - a human player plays a flute while two small alien creatures listen in a grassy woods

Rather than an optimization-chasing survival and crafting game, Creatures of Ava is instead an action adventure with "non-aggressive combat mechanics" and a prominent story. 11 Bit Studios says that developers Inverge and Chibig have co-created the story with Rhianna Pratchett, lead writer on Rise of the Tomb Raider among many other video game writing credits.

"Your hero is Vic, a 22-year-old adventurer navigating an immersive expedition alongside researcher, Tabitha," says publisher 11 Bit Studios. "Together, you confront the recurring infection—referred to as 'the withering' by the local population known as the Naam—threatening Ava's inhabitants.

"Once you understand the true meaning of the infection, you'll be challenged to step out of the human-centric point of view and learn about the real toll it takes to preserve the primal beauty at the very roots of Ava."

In the reveal trailer above you can see Vic snapping pics of different creatures, playing a flute to summon a crowd of tiny pink critters, and using the abilities of various creatures to open up new areas. You can also catch a glimpse of that more story-focused setting with villages occupied by marketplaces and various characters in a super vibrantly sci-fi colored world.

Creatures of Ava - a human player looks up at a raised treehouse villages in a bright purple world
Creatures of Ava - a human player looks up at a raised treehouse villages in a bright purple world

Creatures of Ava does not have an exact release date, but is planning to launch sometime this year. You can watch it on Steam and the Epic Games Store for now but it will also be coming to Game Pass on Xbox and PC.