The Forest (video game)
The Forest is a survival video game developed and published by Endnight Games. The game takes place on a remote, heavily forested peninsula where the player character Eric Leblanc and his son Timmy are survivors of a plane crash. The game features nonlinear gameplay in an open world environment played from a first-person perspective, with no set missions or quests, empowering the player to make their own decisions for survival. The game was first released in early access for Microsoft Windows in May 2014, with the final version released in April 2018. It will also be released for the PlayStation 4 in November 2018.
In The Forest, the player must survive on a forested peninsula after a plane crash, after which a "cannibal" is seen taking the player's son away. The player survives by creating shelter, weapons, and other survival tools. Inhabiting the island, along with various woodland creatures, are a tribe of nocturnal, cannibalistic mutants who dwell in villages on the surface and in deep caves beneath the peninsula. While they are not necessarily always hostile to the player, their usual behavior is aggressive, especially during the night. However, the developers want players to question whether the island's cannibalistic tribe is the enemy of the player, or vice versa. For example, when first encountering the player, the cannibals may hesitate to attack and instead observe the player from a distance, attempt to communicate with the player through effigies, and send patrols around the player's base camp. In combat, they regularly attempt to protect one another from injury, remove torches, surround the player, hide behind cover, drag wounded tribesmen to safety, keep their distance, use tactical decisions, not overextend into unknown territory, and occasionally surrender out of fear. They are also afraid of fire, and will sometimes refrain from approaching the player if there is a campfire or torch nearby. Though there are no set missions, there is an optional conclusion to the game. As the player progresses through the game and explores the caves underneath the forest surface, he will encounter increasingly bizarre mutations, including deformed babies and mutants with several extra appendages. The game also features a day and night cycle, with the player able to build a shelter and traps, hunt animals and collect supplies during the day, and defend themselves against the mutants by night.
The game begins with Eric Leblanc sitting in an airplane with his son Timmy Leblanc, when the plane crashes on a remote, heavily forested peninsula. The player and his son manage to survive the crash, but the player watches helplessly as his son is kidnapped by a man in red war paint. In addition to trying to survive in the wild and fending off hostile wildlife and feral, cannibalistic mutants, the player searches the peninsula for his son. The forest surface leaves clues to help the player puzzle out the story, but the majority of the plot takes place in the caves that riddle the underside of the peninsula.
Eventually, the player discovers an abandoned underground lab complex that was studying an artifact capable of bringing the dead back to life, but requires the sacrifice of a child. The player discovers that the kidnapper intended to sacrifice the player's son in order to revive his daughter. However, the player discovers that the daughter had mutated into an aggressive, cannibalistic monster, similar to the other mutants that roam the peninsula. The player confronts the child, who seizes and mutates further before attacking him, leading to the daughter's death. The player then attempts to use the daughter's body to revive his son, but the process is a failure, since a live sacrifice is needed. The player explores the lab further and discovers a second artifact that functions as a type of EMP device capable of bringing down nearby planes, implying that it is the cause of his own plane crash. The player then uses the artifact to cause another plane to crash, intending to find a sacrifice to revive his son.
One year later, the player and his son have apparently been rescued, and they are invited onto a talk show to promote a book that the player wrote, chronicling his experiences. However, during the show, the player's son collapses and begins to have a seizure, implying he is undergoing the same mutation that the daughter had. Alternatively, the player is given the option to shut the artifact down and save the lives of everyone on the plane, at the cost of remaining isolated on the peninsula indefinitely. The game features two endings. In the first, the player kills civilians on the commercial plane to save his son who then undergoes the mutations when present on the talk show, thus exposing the mutation found on the island. Whereas the second ending saves the plane and its passengers while leaving his son on the island isolated from the rest of the world.
The Forest was inspired by cult films such as The Descent and Cannibal Holocaust and video games like Don't Starve, and was accepted as part of Steam Greenlight in 2013. Developers Endnight Games have said that Disney was an inspiration for the game, commenting that they do not want the whole game to be entirely "dark and depressing." The game is being developed to be compatible with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. After adding a co-op mode option during development, the team stated that they wished for the game to stay away from the massive multiplayer feel of other games, such as DayZ and Rust.
The development team has a background in film visual effects, having worked on films such as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Tron: Legacy. The game was initially developed using the Unity 4 game engine, but was upgraded to Unity 5 in an update in April 2015. The game was fully released out of early access on 30 April 2018, and will also be released for the PlayStation 4 on 6 November 2018.
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