Logo for WolfQuest
|Release date(s)||October 31, 2007 (Demo)
December 21, 2007 (Episode 1)
April 23, 2008 (Episode 1 Deluxe)
January 1, 2010 (Episode 2)
October 5, 2011 (Episode 2 Deluxe)
|Genre(s)||3D Life simulation|
WolfQuest is a 3D wildlife simulation video game developed by the Minnesota Zoo and game developer company Eduweb. The game's main purpose is to help players understand wolves and the roles they play in nature by being virtually incarnated as a gray wolf themselves. WolfQuest challenges players to learn about wolf ecology by living the life of a wild wolf in Yellowstone National Park and is a family-friendly, fun game for people of all ages.
A community forum is also available for registered users to learn about the game and download the latest version, as well as post tips and strategies, ask questions of wolf experts, share personal wolf artwork and stories, test their wolf knowledge with online polls and quizzes, compete for prizes, and participate in partner promotions at: http://wolfquest.org/bb
- The demo was released on October 31, 2007.
- On December 21, 2007 it was released as a free downloadable game for Macintosh and Windows computers.
- The official deluxe version was released on April 23, 2008.
- There is a second episode of the game called Slough Creek: Survival of the Pack, which was released on January 1, 2010.
- WolfQuest 2.5, also known as Survival of the Pack: Deluxe was released on October 5, 2011.
Gameplay is divided into two parts – single player, where players are able to play in a "story mode" type adventure, and multiplayer, where player are able to play in real-time with up to 4 other people in a game server.
In single player, the player must survive as a dispersal gray wolf in Yellowstone National Park. To do so they must hunt elk and hares, or feed off elk carcasses. They must also avoid dangers such as grizzly bears, coyotes, and non-dispersal wolves. However, it is possible to fight off the bears and coyotes by chasing them, and fight off other wolves. They have the option to find a mate, which, when successful, will follow and aid the player throughout the rest of the game. In order to find a mate, the player must visit all the territories seen on the map, and then search for a mate which can be found in all territories.
When creating their wolf character, players are free to choose the gender, fur coloration, stats, and name of their wolf. There are five different pelts to choose from (black, sable, timber, white and gray), with two sliders that let players change the tints of the guard hairs and undercoat of the wolf. Just like real wolves, males are larger in size than females. The maximum strength for males is also higher than that of females..
In multiplayer, the objectives of the game are the same with two exceptions. The player co-operates with a maximum of 5 wolves including themselves, and can have no mate. (Regardless, some players still say that other players are their mates. The WolfQuest team does not support this kind of behavior.) In multiplayer, players can instantly chat, but the chat's lexicon blocks all words except common English words. Things like numbers and swear words are not allowed, and adult content is also blocked and not allowed. It is highly encouraged players report any behavior that breaks the multiplayer rules.
Players in multiplayer can start rallies and hunt bull elk. Bull elk have more meat than female elk and are many times harder to kill. Players may bite elk in the neck or back legs while hunting.
Other in-game animals
- Prey Animals: Elk, Hare, Cattle, wolves
- Rival animals: Grizzly Bear, Coyote, Golden Eagle
- Miscellaneous animals: Common Raven, Human, Dog (Note: humans and dogs are never seen by the player, but their presence in the game is indicated by various sound effects and traces, such as: campfire, hiking sign, footprints, and other remains.)
WolfQuest Episode 2 Slough Creek: Survival of the Pack
The sequel of WolfQuest: Amethyst Mountain, WolfQuest: Slough Creek was released on January 1, 2010 at 11:30 CMT as part of "Survival of the Pack". Amethyst Mountain and Slough Creek are included in the Slough Creek download, so installing or uninstalling Amethyst Mountain is unnecessary.
In this new addition, players and their mates search for a den to raise pups in a new location, Slough Creek. However, after finding a densite, the player must scent mark the area around the den to make it safe from predators and stranger wolves. After completion, the player will obtain pups. Ravenous bears and coyotes roam the earth, posing a new threat to young pups as they wait to snatch one up under a novice parent's nose. At the end, you, your mate, and your surviving pups must make a journey for the summer den in the Douglas Fir Forests. But the player, the player's mate, and pups will run into grizzlies, coyotes, eagles and drowning. The only way pups can get across the river, is by finding a shallow sandbar. Wolf territories will also expand, so the player cannot take an easy way out.
In the game, players have the opportunity (though not a mandatory option) to raid a cattle ranch for extra food in the Night Mission. The player sneaks around in the dark at a cow ranch, and searches for the calf to kill and feed to his/her pups. However, doing so is extremely dangerous and can result in being shot - a warning that the player is close to being shot, is hearing dogs barking. The player has approximately a minute to find the calf and kill it and consume it.
Episode 2.5 Survival of the Pack: Deluxe
In August 2010, WolfQuest held an "idea contest" via the WolfQuest Community Forum, which can be found here. The winner for the "Big Idea" section of the contest was Exiah, with her idea "Time and Weather", which affects hunting with weather and time. The winner for the "Game Enhancement" section was Cama, with his idea "I need a rest!", where players can make their wolves sit or lie down to regain stamina faster than they would standing still.
Survival of the Pack: Deluxe was released on October 5, 2011 with several new features added to it, as well as "I need a rest", weather and time was also added. It includes both episodes: Amethyst Mountain and Slough Creek. Players can press "R" to sit, and pressing it again, to cause their wolf to lie down. The "Z" button will cause a dialogue box to appear, asking the player which time of day they would like to sleep until (Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Night). Weather includes snow: rain, lightning and fire, and affects scents seen in scent-view.
Shortly after the Survival of the Pack: Deluxe release, the version, 2.5.1 came out. It came out on October 11, 2011, and is a minor bug fix update to WolfQuest 2.5 (which added weather effects, changing times of day, a new phrase chat, improved lexicon chat safeguards, and more). This version fixes bugs with female wolf choice in single-player, seeing other wolves sit and lie down in multi-player, and a few other minor bugs.
Future episode prospects
WolfQuest originally planned to make an episode 3 and an episode 4, as stated in the site's frequently asked questions page, located at http://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewforum.php?f=22. However, on November 28, 2011, the following was announced in the Wolfquest Forums:
"We're glad so many people were so excited for the release of episode 2.5 (WolfQuest: Survival of the Pack Deluxe), and we're hoping everyone is enjoying it. But of course, along with a new release always comes the question: what's next?? As you all should be aware, WolfQuest development is determined by funding. While we continue to discuss possible options for expansion of the game and WolfQuest community, we (the WolfQuest Team) are not currently working on any new releases. If that changes, we will be sure to let you all know. Thank you all for playing the game and conversing on these forums; we hope to continue adding new forum content and game updates if more funding becomes available."
Despite having no funding to make future episodes, Wolfquest 2.5 is still actively played, and all features of the game and forums remain open as Wolfquest continues to run on upkeep donations from the MN Zoo and Eduweb, Wolfquest Store purchases, and advertisement revenue. However, activity on the forums has varied, and is overall much lower than what was seen in 2011 and earlier.
There is mass speculation about how much longer WolfQuest will remain open, and as announced on the forums on September 9, 2012, no one is quite sure how much longer it will be until the feared WolfQuest "Grand Closing":
"WolfQuest will definitely last more than a few weeks, but we don't know many details about exactly how much longer various things will be open and available. A lot depends on other funding (obviously), the zoo's continued or decreased involvement, and eduweb's continued or decreased involvement. But either way, there's nothing to be worried about for the near future." 
On September 2006, The National Science Foundation awarded the Minnesota Zoo and Eduweb a USD $508,253 informal education grant to develop WolfQuest. This makes it the first video game funded by the National Science Foundation, under grant number 0610427.
WolfQuest won a few awards at Unite 2008, a developer's conference. It received Special Recognition Awards in two different categories, Best Serious Game and Best Multiplayer. WolfQuest has now also won another award, the Education Award through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
"The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recognizes outstanding achievement in educational program design judging programs on their ability to promote conservation knowledge, attitudes and behavior, show innovation, and measure success."
WolfQuest was cited by Senator Tom Coburn in his Wastebook 2010 report about government spending:
• The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded over $600,000 to the Minnesota Zoo to create a wolf “avatar” video game called “WolfQuest.”
- Wolf, a similar DOS game
- WolfQuest Website Information
- WolfQuest release notes
- Survival of the Pack release notes
- WolfQuest game manual
- Minnesota Zoo Announces World Premiere of WolfQuest Interactive Game
- 'WolfQuest': An Educational Game About Survival
- Unite 2008: Highlights and Award Winners
- "Dr. Coburn Releases New Oversight Report:"Wastebook 2010: A Guide to Some of the Most Wasteful Government Spending of 2010"". Retrieved 2010-12-27.