Logo for WolfQuest
|Platform(s)||Windows, Mac, Android, IOS|
|Genre(s)||3D Life simulation|
WolfQuest is a 3D wildlife simulation video game originally developed by the Minnesota Zoo and game developer company Eduweb, and developed solely by Eduweb since 2013. 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.
The game was originally funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, Best Buy, and other foundations and donors and distributed as a free download for Mac and Windows computer. In November 2015, Eduweb released a WolfQuest 2.7, an improved and expanded version of the game for purchase. While the old, free version of the game remains available, development efforts are now focused on new versions, particularly WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition, a complete remake and expansion of the game.
- The demo was released on October 31, 2007.
- The first episode of the game was released on December 21, 2007 as a free downloadable game for Macintosh and Windows computers.
- Amethyst Mountain Deluxe (version 1.6) was released on April 23, 2008.
- A second episode of the game called Slough Creek: Survival of the Pack was released on January 1, 2010.
- WolfQuest 2.5, also known as Survival of the Pack: Deluxe was released on October 5, 2011.
- WolfQuest 2.7, a greatly improved and expanded version of the game' was released for Mac and Windows computers on November 17, 2015.
- Patches have been released frequently since 2.7's release, though fewer since Eduweb began focusing on WolfQuest 3.
- On March 25, 2016, WolfQuest 2.7 was released on Steam. It has a 'Very Positive' rating with over 700 reviews.
- On July 4, 2016, Eduweb released the 2.7.2 update, which featured several new animals (cougar, fox, ravens, birds, and insects) and many graphical improvements to the 3D environments.
- On September 2, 2016, Eduweb released the game for iOS devices.
- On September 16–17, 2016, Eduweb released the game for Android and Kindle devices.
- On December 19, 2016, Eduweb released the 2.7.3 update, which featured moose as new sources of food, along with ten moose-related achievements. New behavior for an idle wolf was also added, and the snowshoe hare has a new appearance in winter. Limited-time holiday decorations were added as well.
- On July 25, 2019, Eduweb released WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition as early access for PC/Mac. The Anniversary Edition is a complete remake of the original game, redesigned the game from the ground up for modern gaming expectations and computer hardware.
Gameplay is divided into two parts – single player, where players are able to play in a "story mode" type adventure, and multiplayer, where players are able to play in real-time with up to 7 other people in a player-created game server.
WolfQuest was initially developed episodically, and these episodes now form the main single-player game arc:
In single player, the player must survive as a dispersal gray wolf in Yellowstone National Park. To do so they must hunt elk, moose, 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 first earn 800 experience points, mainly by hunting elk, 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 a variety of pelts to choose from (organized by packs), with two sliders that let players change the tints of the guard hairs and undercoat of the wolf. WolfQuest 2.7 added many new customization features, including more pelts as well as injuries and a radio collar. Just like real wolves, males are larger in size than females.
Upon leaving Amethyst Mountain, players (with their mate) enter the Slough Creek map and 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, coyotes, eagles, cougars, and wolves 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.
In multiplayer, the objectives of the game are the same with two exceptions. The player co-operates with a maximum of 8 wolves including themselves, and can have no game-sanctioned mate. (Regardless, some players still say that other players are their mates.) Public multiplayer games allow anyone to join. Private games require a game-name and password and allow text and voice chats. (Text chats are filtered through a standard badwords list.) Players are encouraged to report any behavior that breaks the multiplayer rules.
Players in multiplayer can start rallies and hunt bull elk and moose. Bull elk have more meat than female elk and are many times harder to kill. Moose are far more difficult to hunt than any of the elk, and will take some time to kill, but the reward of meat is greater. Players may bite elk in the neck or back legs while hunting. WolfQuest 2.7 added a multiplayer mode to the Slough Creek mission arc, so players can raise pups together and journey to the rendezvous site.
A new map was included with WolfQuest 2.7. Called Lost River, it depicts a fictional valley outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park and features both wilderness and urban areas. Humans have abandoned the valley but left clues about some sort of catastrophe. Players are left to speculate what might have happened. This map is available for both single-player and multiplayer games.
Other in-game animals
- Prey animals: elk, hare, cattle, moose
- Rival animals: grizzly bear, coyote, golden eagle, cougar, red fox, other wolves
- Miscellaneous animals: common raven, human, dog
WolfQuest Episode 2 Slough Creek: Survival of the Pack
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 WolfQuest - Index page. 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 on October 11, 2011, and was 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 fixed bugs with female wolf choice in single-player, seeing other wolves sit and lie down in multi-player, and a few other minor bugs.
Between 2011 and January 2014, there were no plans for further development for several years. WolfQuest originally planned to make an episode 3 and an episode 4, as stated in the site's frequently asked questions page, located at WolfQuest FAQ - WolfQuest. However, on November 28, 2011, the following was announced on the WolfQuest Community 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."
WolfQuest Episode 2.7 Development
In spring 2014, Eduweb announced that a tablet version of the game was under development, to be released in the near future. Development took more time than anticipated, and platform support was expanded to include Mac and Windows computer. This new version, called *WolfQuest 2.7, released in November 2015 for Mac and Windows and in September 2016 for phones and tablets. This version includes the entire game, plus many enhancements and new features. Following Eduweb's plans to continue with the project's development, the community forums and website will remain online and freely accessible for the foreseeable future, rendering the 2012 announcement null and void as of 2014. It has been stated that with strong sales of version 2.7, a third episode may be a possibility. On December 31st, 2016 the game dev announced that they were beginning work on another episode. There is currently no official release date (it was stated to be ''not anytime soon'').
WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition Development
In August 2017, Eduweb announced that development of *WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition was underway. This new version, a complete remake and expansion of the original game, serves as the foundation for new chapters such as Tower Fall. Eduweb released the first episode as early access on July 25, 2019 for PC/Mac.
WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition includes:
- Vast game world stretching from the Lamar River to the summit of Amethyst Mountain. 49 square kilometers to explore!
- Deeper and more engaging gameplay, from tracking animal scents to attacking prey, from fighting stranger wolves to courting prospective mates.
- Sophisticated ecological simulation of animal's daily lives. Persistent elk herds roam the mountain slopes, while wolf packs patrol and defend their territory.
- Realistic graphics of the flora and fauna of Yellowstone's Northern Range — the heart of wolf country in Yellowstone National Park.
- More wolf customizations: more howls, more body variation, and even eye color!
- Dynamic weather and day-night cycle, for greater immersion.
On September 2006, The National Science Foundation awarded the Minnesota Zoo and Eduweb a US$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 also won the Education Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and a Bronze MUSE Award from the American Association of Museums.
"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 Quest: Anniversary Edition released as Early Access for PC/Mac
Eduweb released the first episode of Wolf Quest: Anniversary Edition (Amethyst Mountain) as early access for PC/Mac on 25th July, 2019 on Steam and itch.io. While in Early Access, Eduweb is updating the game frequently with more features, multiplayer, and ultimately the Slough Creek episode with pups. The mobile version will come after the game is completed on PC/Mac platforms.
Also in development, new episode/map called Tower Fall which will continue life with pups. The Tower Fall expansion will be an in-game purchase (DLC) and released after WolfQuest: Anniversary Edition.
- "WolfQuest release notes".
- "Survival of the Pack release notes".
- "New version: 2.7 for tablet -- and Mac/Windows! - WolfQuest". wolfquest.org.
- "WolfQuest game manual" (PDF).
- "New versions of WQ? - WolfQuest". www.wolfquest.org.
- "WolfQuest for iPad? - Page 6 - WolfQuest". www.wolfquest.org.
- "The status of things - WolfQuest". wolfquest.org.
- "FAQs about WolfQuest: Anniversary Edition - WolfQuest". www.wolfquest.org.
- "Home". Minnesota Zoo.
- "'WolfQuest': An Educational Game About Survival - Gaming Today". GameFront. December 30, 2007.
- Grove, W. Thomas. "Unite 2008: Highlights And Award Winners". www.gamasutra.com.
- "Dr. Coburn Releases New Oversight Report:"Wastebook 2010: A Guide to Some of the Most Wasteful Government Spending of 2010"". Retrieved 2010-12-27.