The Forest (video game)

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The Forest
TheForest Game.jpg
Developer(s)Endnight Games
Publisher(s)Endnight Games
Director(s)Ben Falcone
Designer(s)Anna Terekhova
Programmer(s)Guillaume Kehren
Composer(s)Gabe Castro
EngineUnity
Platform(s)
Release
  • Windows
  • 30 April 2018
  • PlayStation 4
  • 6 November 2018
Genre(s)Survival horror, survival game
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

The Forest is a survival horror video game developed and published by Endnight Games. The game takes place on a remote heavily forested peninsula, where the player character Eric Leblanc must fight off cannibalistic monsters while searching for his son Timmy after 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. Following a four-year long early access beta phase, the game was released for Microsoft Windows in April 2018, and for the PlayStation 4 in November 2018. The game was a commercial success, selling over five million copies by the end of 2018. A sequel game, Sons of the Forest, is under development, and is set to be released for Microsoft Windows in October 2022.[1]

Gameplay[edit]

In The Forest, players control Eric LeBlanc and must survive on a forested peninsula in search of his son Timmy after a devastating plane crash. Players must survive by creating shelter, weapons, and other survival tools. Inhabiting the peninsula, along with various woodland creatures, are a tribe of 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.[2]

However, the developers wanted players to question whether the peninsula's cannibalistic tribe is the enemy of the player or vice versa.[2] 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.[3]

As the player progresses through the game and explores the caves underneath the forest surface, they 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.[4]

As seen in the opening intro of the game, the player possesses a survival guide book that the playable character authors, which contains many useful tips and general information about wilderness survival. The survival guide is also crucial because it allows for the player to build blueprints for various different structures that can aid the player in their survival. The player can choose to build a specific structure and then select a specific place where to place that structure in the world. Once the blueprint is placed, the player then needs to gather the necessary resources, such as sticks, rocks, logs, etc. in order to complete the particular structure. The player can choose from various structures and buildings in the survival guide. These include basic survival shelters, wooden cabins, treehouses, tree platforms, as well as custom-designed structures, which the player can modify in terms of size, shape, and position. Most of the shelters and buildings that the player can build also feature an option for saving the game. In fact, this is the only available method for saving, as there is no autosave function in the game. The survival guidebook also provides information about the wildlife of the peninsula. Once the player comes across a previously unknown species of animal or plant, the player jots it down and it appears in the guidebook. The guidebook also contains a "to-do list", which lists general goals that the player should follow, such as building a shelter or exploring different caves.

The player also possesses an inventory, which can be accessed at almost any time in the game. Any item that the player gathers, or collects in the world is stored in the inventory, which has a realistic design and shows where each item is stored. Items that can be placed in the inventory include tools, weapons, animal meats, furs, and skins, herbs and flowers, a map, a compass, as well as other things. The inventory also includes a crafting system. Crafting in the game is based on the player's knowledge about combining different components into useful items and tools. For example, in order to craft a basic axe, the player needs to gather and combine a stick, a rock, as well as rope. Once the player gathers and places all the required items on the crafting space, a gear icon will become visible, indicating that the player is able to construct a particular tool/weapon. In the inventory, the player can also choose to place two desired items/weapons for quick select by assigning them to the D-pad on a PS4 controller or to specific keys on PC.

The player also has a HUD display on the bottom right of their screen. The HUD displays the player's total health, energy, stamina, hunger, and thirst levels. The amount of stamina available is directly related to the energy amount of the player. Hunger is measured via an icon depicting a human stomach, while the thirst icon depicts a water droplet. Water can be obtained from various sources, including the numerous lakes and rivers present in the world, although most of these are contaminated and can cause side effects to the player. Polluted water can be boiled to purify it. Another option is to construct a water collector, which gathers rainwater in a turtle shell. Food can be obtained from various animals, plants, and even other humans in the world.

Plot[edit]

The game begins with Eric LeBlanc sitting in an airplane with his son, Timmy, before it suddenly crashes on a remote heavily forested peninsula. Despite being the sole survivors of the crash, a disoriented Eric watches helplessly as Timmy is kidnapped by a man covered in red paint before falling unconscious. Upon awakening in the wreckage, Eric goes out in search of his son but discovers that the peninsula is occupied by feral cannibalistic mutants, and is forced to defend himself while surviving off the land. In his search, Eric finds clues of Timmy’s whereabouts in the form of crayon drawings in several caverns. Eric may also spot the man in red from a distance, who will flee if approached.

Timmy’s drawings eventually lead Eric to an abandoned underground lab complex owned by Sahara Therapeutics, a large research company responsible for experimenting with creatures on the peninsula. Upon entering the lab, Eric finds the lab's personnel dead and discovers that they were studying an artifact called the Resurrection Obelisk. Created by a mysterious group called the Ancient Ones, the artifact has the power to resurrect the dead but requires a child sacrifice. Eric also learns that his son's kidnapper, Dr. Matthew Cross, was a chief researcher at the facility before losing his daughter Megan to an escaped mutant. Driven insane by his daughter’s death, Cross resorted to using the artifact and kidnapped Timmy as a sacrifice to revive Megan.

Eric soon finds Cross dead and then the artifact, only to find Timmy’s corpse inside; he had already been sacrificed to revive Megan. Despite being too late to save his son, Eric realizes that the machine connected to the artifact can still be used to resurrect Timmy. Going deeper into the facility, Eric finds the revived Megan but discovers that she has become a deranged monster, and is forced to kill her after she mutates and attacks him. Eric places Megan’s body into the artifact, but then realizes that a live sacrifice is needed. He then reaches the facility's observatory and discovers a second artifact known as the Power Obelisk, which functions as a type of EMP device capable of bringing down planes when activated, implying that Cross used it to cause the plane crash. Eric is then faced with either activating the artifact as a passenger flight passes overhead (shown to have three children onboard per the device's controls), or shutting it down.

The game features two endings:

  • If Eric activates the artifact, he causes the plane to crash and is implied to have found a sacrifice to revive Timmy. One year later, Eric and Timmy have apparently been rescued and are invited onto a talk show to promote Eric's book, which chronicles his experiences on the peninsula. During the show, Timmy suddenly collapses and begins violently shaking, seemingly about to mutate like Megan did. Eric comforts Timmy and he returns to normal. Years later, an older Timmy is shown in his apartment, investigating an island labeled "Site 2" while still struggling to suppress his mutations.
  • If Eric decides to shut down the artifact, he spares the lives of everyone on the plane at the cost of Timmy remaining dead. Eric then leaves the facility and burns a photo of Timmy, choosing to let go. After this final cutscene, control of Eric is then returned to the player, who can continue gameplay surviving on the peninsula.

Development[edit]

The Forest was inspired by cult films such as The Descent and Cannibal Holocaust and video games like Don't Starve,[4][5] and was accepted as part of Steam Greenlight in 2013.[6] Canadian-based 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."[4] The game is being developed to be compatible with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.[7] 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.[3][4]

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.[8] The game was first released for Microsoft Windows via early access on 30 May 2014 before it officially released on 30 April 2018.[9][10] It was later released for the PlayStation 4 on 6 November 2018.[11] The game was built using the Unity engine.[12][13]

Reception[edit]

The game received positive reception during its early access period.[16][17] The game sold over 5.3 million copies on Windows by November 2018.[8] The game's success spawned a sequel, titled Sons of the Forest, which is under development.[18] Sons of the Forest will release in October 2022.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sons of the Forest - Official Release Date Trailer". IGN. 1 December 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b Savage, Phil (28 May 2013). "The Forest interview: survival, horror and the VR wilderness". PC Gamer. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b Matulef, Jeffrey (13 January 2014). "Ambitious open-world horror game The Forest detailed". Eurogamer. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Robertson, John (29 January 2014). "The Forest: survival, horror and the guilt of killing – interview". VG247. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  5. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (8 May 2013). "First-person open-world survival horror game The Forest looks brilliant". Eurogamer. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  6. ^ Savage, Phil (11 November 2013). "The Forest trailer shows continued survival, panicked combat and questionable effigies". PC Gamer. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  7. ^ Hinkle, David (24 January 2014). "Explore virtual reality horror game The Forest in new screens". Joystiq. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  8. ^ a b McAloon, Alissa (5 November 2018). "Horror survival game The Forest has sold over 5.3 million copies". Gamasutra. UBM TechWeb. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  9. ^ Sarkar, Samit (30 May 2014). "Survival horror game The Forest arrives on Steam Early Access". Polygon. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  10. ^ Horti, Samuel (7 April 2018). "The Forest will leave behind four years of Early Access on April 30". PC Gamer. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  11. ^ Romano, Sal (29 August 2018). "The Forest for PS4 launches November 6". Gematsu. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  12. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (25 March 2014). "The Forest looks creepier with every set of screenshots released". VG247. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  13. ^ "v0.16 Patch notes". The Forest official website. Endnight Games. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  14. ^ "The Forest for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  15. ^ "The Forest for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  16. ^ Jeffrey Matulef (8 May 2013). "First-person open-world survival horror game The Forest looks brilliant • Eurogamer.net". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  17. ^ "The Forest early look: scavenging and survival in a land of clever cannibals - PC Gamer". PC Gamer. 18 April 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  18. ^ Chalk, Andy (13 December 2019). "Sons of the Forest is a demon-hunting sequel to the 'terrifying' survival game The Forest". PC Gamer. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  19. ^ Dinsdale, Ryan (25 March 2022). "Sons of the Forest Delayed to October". IGN.

External links[edit]