Exploring the World of AFK Journey

When you read this book, you quickly realise that the conversation is no simple matter of choosing one side or the other. Don’t expect AFK Journey to shed any light on how to win video games. However, as rudimentary as it may seem at times – by way of explanation, there’s a repeated description of a game’s ‘in-line’ graphic – there’s a lot of imagination at play. AFK Journey seeks to describe ‘the frame of mind’ of those who play, and Wimberly dares to think that there might be a systematic approach to doing so. For those invested in the game beyond passing the time with a headset, this might be a worthy pursuit.

From Angry Birds to Wordle, and from Candy Crush to Permadeath, the stories we tell people through games is becoming a bigger part of the liminal space of digital entertainment. And it doesn’t get more ambitious than AFK Journey. AFK stands for ‘away from keyboard’, the tactic that in-game characters perform for you when you leave your computer. But we’ll get to that. This is an interview piece about a game evolution: the journey of AFK Journey, developed by Lilith Games and Farlight Games, from its pitch to its evolution into a live game, with the community playing a big part.


It had to start by creating what the players themselves were missing throughout their gaming experience – meaning, and a sense of connection with the world of the game. Once this realisation was made, AFK Journey bloomed. Esperia has become a living, vibrant, story-filled world. And it asked the very same question: there are stories that need to be discovered, so go out there and explore! It might not work. The games industry is all about creating escapist mechanics for a bloody good time. But that’s exactly why this approach should work: the more stories are there, the more people will stick around and look. Most of us are Ariels, by the way.


The heart of AFK Journey beats to the rhythm of its players. This is a game for role-playing game (RPG) enthusiasts, for fantasy fans, for anyone that wants to fuse, fight and collect unique heroes, or anyone who enjoys the strategy and tactics of combat. By combining different modes of gameplay – exploration, storytelling, social interaction, PvP (player vs player) combat – AFK Journey welcomes every type of player into its diverse world, giving each opportunity to find their own space in the world of Esperia.


The story of AFK Journey is not just one of a local region – but of the whole world. By taking the game to the global games industry, they were able to create a game that could appeal to a global audience. But they also attracted a global base of players who each contributed important threads of their life experience and culture into the game.

The Artistic Journey of Esperia

Delving into the art philosophy behind AFK Journey, you’ll find the ‘Magical Storybook’ art style that carries the game. So much of the game is slow and taking the time to breathe and this style helps to set that scene. Pulling me into a world where everything is there for me to experience, from the clouds in the sky to the smallest bloom of a flower, is a perfect accompaniment to how I play – and it reflects why we continue to evolve that look based on player feedback, but also from within.

Maintaining High Quality Through Collaborative Efforts

Quality is essentially the philosophy underpinning AFK Journey, one of the best examples of a game devoted to this principle, through the developers’ meticulous concentration on detail, internally consistent game mechanics and the team’s ability to listen to players and offer fairness and care to its large playerbase. With an emphasis on maintaining an innovative approach, the team is encouraged to work in an open and collaborative manner and their updates not only add content but also improve upon the player experience with every iteration of the game, which is what will ensure that the game remains in the affections of its players for many years to come.

A Look Forward: The Song of Strife and Beyond

The Version 1.00 Song of Strife update arrives with a new season for AFK Journey, filled with new narratives, challenges and characters to live through. Seasonality enriches the experience of living in Esperia by providing a rationale for the world to constantly change. The new season serves as a creative signal that the world is always fresh, and players take delight in anticipating what the world will bring next.


AFK Journey the game is, at its essence, merely a means to an end. AFK Journey the journey is the entire experience. Its stories, its gameplay, and its world are all lenses through which the player can fall into a creative, strategic, community-based journey. AFK Journey will continue to evolve forward not just as a game, but as part of an ever-growing story. The most daring adventures of heroes, friendship, and discovery on Esperia are yet to come.

Ultimately it is a story, a strategy, a community for a game that goes well beyond the scope of gaming and inspires millions around the world. But AFK Journey is more than a game because the story was created through the efforts of players and developers to connect through the platform. As players create paths on the map and developers encourage storytelling, AFK Journey itself becomes a testament to community, collective imagination and creativity, and the power of storytelling in the digital age.

Jun 03, 2024
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