Untitled Goose Game
|Untitled Goose Game|
Steam storefront artwork, featuring the game's various characters
|Release||20 September 2019|
Untitled Goose Game is a stealth puzzle video game developed by House House. Players control a goose who bothers the inhabitants of an English village. Published by Panic, the game was released on 20 September 2019 for Windows, macOS, and Nintendo Switch.
Untitled Goose Game originated from a stock photograph of a goose that a House House employee posted in the company's internal communications. After sparking a conversation about geese, the team put the idea aside for a few months until they realized that it had the potential to be a fun game. Inspired by Super Mario 64 and the Hitman video game series, House House worked on combining stealth mechanics with a lack of violence to create humourous in-game scenarios. After positive reception to their initial trailer, the developers recreated their trailer's piano soundtrack to play different sections in reaction to in-game events.
Upon release, the game received positive reviews, with critics praising its silly gameplay and humour. The game's popularity with players led to it selling over 100,000 copies in its first two weeks, as well as the goose becoming an Internet meme.
Set in an apparently middle class English village, Untitled Goose Game sees players control a goose as they use their ability to honk, flap their wings, and grab objects with their beak to bother various human villagers. The village is split up into multiple areas, which each have a to-do list of objectives to accomplish, such as stealing certain objects or tricking humans into doing certain actions. When enough of these objectives are cleared, an additional objective is added which, once cleared, allows the goose to move onto the next area. After completing four areas, the goose enters a miniature model of the village. There, the goose steals a bell before going back through the previous areas while the villagers try to stop them. In the game’s ending, it is revealed the goose had stolen bells prior to the game. There are also several hidden optional objectives, many of which require traversing between multiple areas.
Untitled Goose Game was developed by four-person indie studio House House, based in Melbourne, Australia. The game is House House's second project. Like their first project, it is supported by the government organisation Film Victoria, who assisted the studio in getting set up properly.
House House cited Super Mario 64 as the initial inspiration for the type of game that they hoped to build. They wanted the player to control a character who could run around in a 3D environment. Their previous game, Push Me Pull You, had 2D art with flat colours. They used a similar aesthetic in Untitled Goose Game by choosing to use low poly meshes, flat colours and untextured 3D models.
The game's playable character, the goose, was originally just a stock image and the idea was non-playable humans would react to it. They implemented a system where the NPCs would tidy up after an item was moved. After restricting the field of view of the NPCs, the gameplay evolved into a unique stealth-like experience. Instead of remaining hidden like in most stealth games, the goal was to have the goose attract the attention of NPCs and not get caught. House House created a structure to the game using missions with specific targets similar to the assassinations in the Hitman series mostly as a joke. House House member Jake Strasser stated "It has a set-up and a punchline. By removing the violence from it, we just let the situations exist as a joke." The team opted for the English village as the game's setting, as its "properness" was seen as "the antithesis of what the goose was all about", according to developer Nico Disseldorp. The name of Untitled Goose Game was a result of having to come up with a title quickly on learning that the game got accepted to be shown at the Fantastic Arcade part of the Fantastic Fest in Texas, and without any other ideas, used the title of the gameplay video they had applied with for the submission, which stuck since then. The Untitled Goose Game title also stuck with fans when they started to promote the game on social media. The only other title they had come up with at one point was Some Like it Honk as an alternative, but the team never gave it serious consideration.
|Untitled Goose Game by House House - Pre-Alpha Gameplay trailer from October 2017|
The game was first revealed in October 2017 with a trailer. The trailer gained viral popularity on social media sites, leading the team to recognise they had a popular concept from which to build. The trailer, scored by composer Dan Golding, features musical passages from the twelfth prelude in Claude Debussy's Préludes called Minstrels. After positive reception to the trailer's music, House House sought to include it as part of the game's soundtrack. To accomplish this, Golding sliced two versions of the piano piece — one performed normally, and the other performed quietly — up into roughly 400 sections. These sections were categorised based on intensity, and played based on what was happening in the game. For example, the game would play a section of the quieter version of Minstrels when the goose was stalking its prey, but switch to the regular version once the goose was being chased.
Following the initial trailer's release, Untitled Goose Game was present at the Game Developers Conference, PAX Australia, and PAX West (Prime) events in 2018. At E3 2019, the game was announced to be released for PC exclusively on the Epic Games Store. House House elaborated on their decision, stating that Epic's offer of an exclusivity deal allowed the developers "the stability to go from part-time to full-time developers".
The development team states they are investigating porting the game to additional systems starting with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, followed by mobile devices, but do not have firm plans yet.
This article contains too many or overly lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry.
IGN gave the game a 8/10 rating and praised its silliness stating, "Untitled Goose Game is a brief but endlessly charming adventure that had me laughing, smiling, and eagerly honking the whole way through." Game Informer praised the game for its silliness and creativity, but felt that the game was shallow and repetitive, stating, "Untitled Goose Game is a great concept, and ends in the same charming way it started. Pranking people is fun, and doing it as a goose just adds to the thrill. Most people will play it for the silly premise, complete it in a few hours, and go on their merry way without touching it again. If you just want to mess with people as a goose, here’s your chance – but the shallowness and repetition hold it back from being a truly engaging game." Destructoid positively compared the game to Shaun the Sheep, stating, "Untitled Goose Game reminds me greatly of the animated series Shaun the Sheep. There's little dialog, plenty of antics, and humans who keep getting outsmarted by birds. Unlike the titular Shaun from the show though, the goose in Untitled Goose Game is not a loveable little scamp who always comes to the aid of his friends. No, this goose is a dick."
Kotaku gave the game a positive review, praising the gameplay and its humor, stating, "Moments like these are what make Untitled Goose Game great. The environments are nice. The objectives are generally creative and enjoyable. But the real magic of the game lies in brief, endlessly funny interactions. There’s an insidious joy in drawing out increasingly infuriated reactions from the small town’s people—all of whom are, in their own way, kinda douchey. They had it coming, I think. Or maybe I’ve come to so thoroughly inhabit the goose’s headspace that now that I have an implicit bias. I appreciate that the game’s humorous sensibility rarely tips over the ledge into outright absurdity, preferring instead to take an understated route where the punchline is almost always “Wow, that goose is kind of a dick.” You, the player—the artist of avian assholery—paint within those lines."
Untitled Goose Game drew similar attention to Goat Simulator on social media, both sharing the nature of being sandbox-style games to create chaos in. After release, clips and stills from the game were shared virally on social media, and the game has become an Internet meme.
Untitled Goose Game sold over 100,000 copies worldwide within its first two weeks on sale.
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