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 released for Microsoft Windows in April 2018 following a three-year long early access beta phase, as well as for the PlayStation 4 in November 2018. The Windows version of the game had sold over five million copies by the end of 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. Eric and his son manage to survive the crash, but Eric watches helplessly as Timmy 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, Eric 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, Eric discovers an abandoned underground lab complex owned by Shara Therapeutics, a large research company responsible for experimenting with creatures on the peninsula. Upon entering the lab, Eric finds the lab’s personel dead and discovers that they were studying an artifact capable of bringing the dead back to life, but requires a child sacrifice. While exploring the labs, Eric learns that his son’s kidnapper, Dr. Matthew Cross, was a researcher at the facility before losing his daughter Megan to an Armsy. Driven insane by Megan’s death, Cross resorted to using the artifact to revive Megan and kidnapped Timmy to use as a sacrifice. Eric eventually finds the artifact and opens it to find his son dead after being sacrificed to revive Megan.
However, Eric soon discovers Cross dead and that the revived Megan had mutated into an aggressive, cannibalistic monster, similar to the other mutants that roam the peninsula. Eric confronts the child, who seizes and mutates further before attacking him, leading to Megan’s death. Eric then attempts to use Megan’s body to revive Timmy, but the process is a failure, since a live sacrifice is needed. Eric 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 Cross used it to crash their plane.
The game features two endings. In the first, Eric uses the artifact to cause another plane to crash, intending to find a sacrifice to revive Timmy. One year later, Eric and his son have apparently been rescued, and they are invited onto a talk show to promote a book that Eric wrote, chronicling his experiences. However, during the show, Timmy collapses and begins to have a seizure, implying he is undergoing the same mutation that the daughter had. If the player approaches Timmy, he will eventually snap out of it. If this is done, players will take the perspective of Timmy, who is now much older, who is gathering information on tbe peninsula for an unonown purpose while also trting to surpess his transformation. 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 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 initial budget for the game was $125,000. 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 was also released for the PlayStation 4 on 6 November 2018.
- Savage, Phil (28 May 2013). "The Forest interview: survival, horror and the VR wilderness". PC Gamer. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- Matulef, Jeffrey (13 January 2014). "Ambitious open-world horror game The Forest detailed". Eurogamer. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Robertson, John (29 January 2014). "The Forest: survival, horror and the guilt of killing – interview". VG247. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- Matulef, Jeffrey (8 May 2013). "First-person open-world survival horror game The Forest looks brilliant". Eurogamer. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Savage, Phil (11 November 2013). "The Forest trailer shows continued survival, panicked combat and questionable effigies". PC Gamer. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- Hinkle, David (24 January 2014). "Explore virtual reality horror game The Forest in new screens". Joystiq. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- McAloon, Alissa (5 November 2018). "Horror survival game The Forest has sold over 5.3 million copies". Gamasutra. UBM TechWeb. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- Nunneley, Stephany (25 March 2014). "The Forest looks creepier with every set of screenshots released". VG247. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
- "v0.16 Patch notes". The Forest official website. Endnight Games. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
- Dishmink. "V1.0". steamcommunity.com. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
- Romano, Sal. "The Forest for PS4 launches November 6". Gematsu. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
- Jeffrey Matulef (8 May 2013). "First-person open-world survival horror game The Forest looks brilliant • Eurogamer.net". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- "The Forest early look: scavenging and survival in a land of clever cannibals - PC Gamer". PC Gamer. Retrieved 7 September 2014.