The survival genre has made some big leaps forward within the last two years. More and more developers are beginning to expand on the idea of placing a player in the environment, giving them a few pieces of supplies to get them started and set them on their way. Recent releases like State of Decay and The Last of Us have shown there’s a strong market for survival based games, but The Forest, being developed by indie studio SKS games seems to be taking survival to an all new level.
Using Unity Engine 4 and being developed for use with the Oculus Rift, The Forest is beginning to sound like a title that everyone should have on their radar. We hope you enjoy reading our exclusive interview and learn a bunch of new details about the upcoming survival horror game.
Q) For those of us who don’t know exactly what The Forest is, can you please give us a quick synopsis of what the game is?
A) The Forest is an open world horror game, taking inspiration from the late 70’s italian cannibal films. The game throws you into a violent dangerous world, and gives you complete freedom in how you try to survive.
Q) Does the game have a main storyline to it, or is the goal of the game just to survive as long as you can?
A) We don’t have a traditional game story. Our focus is on world building, and creating a believable situation.
Q) Can you explain how the building elements work and how players can use the environment?
A) Every tree in the game world can be chopped down, and from the wood players can create different structures.
Q) How do the survival elements work and how in-depth are they? Will players have to, say, boil the water they find to make it drinkable etc?
A) You can collect water and boil it, or risk drinking it straight from a water source. Food works in a similar way, if you manage to catch a rabbit the next step is to build a fire and cook the meat. Leave the dead rabbit sitting in the sun too long and it will start to rot, attract flies and make you ill if you try and eat it.
Q) How do both the elements of the game, survival and survival-horror mix into the game. Are they day and night times equally timed, or do you give players a bit more time during the day then at night?
A) The enemies mostly come out at night, but if you go down into the caves and start butchering them while they sleep, they’re going to get mad, and they’re going to come for you regardless of the time of day.
It’s also possible to sleep during the nights, so if you’ve set up proper defenses or you’re sleeping on a houseboat you’ve built, you can avoid most nights all together.
Q) How does crafting work. We read how players can take a stick and sharpen it on a rock to keep the player immersed, rather than going into a menu and selecting an upgrade, but is it just like a quick time event or what?
A) We don’t have any quicktime events. The in world crafting is instead really simple, you can bring a stick to a fire, and press a key to combine the two, this creates a lit stick which functions as a lightsource. Creating a spear, and other world items is similar.
Q) How scary would you say the game is? Seems like you have a bit of competition this year with games like Outlast and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.
A) We’re really focused on creating the scariest game possible. We hope having the contrast between calm tranquil moments, such as cooking by a fire, or watching the sunset over the ocean, will make the scary moments even more terrifying.
Q) Describe for us the Mutant like creatures that we saw in the reveal trailer for the game.
A) We’re keeping most details about them a secret for players to uncover.
Q) How do players defend themselves from the creatures?
A) You can fight them directly with spears, axes and other weapons you make. Or you can spend the day setting up traps and other defenses.
With our crafting system it’s possible to make more advanced weapons. Combine a can of hairspray you find in some plane luggage with your lighter and you have a mini-flamethrower.
Q) How do you plan to have an immersive gallery of enemies that seem to have real lives while also keeping them scary?
A) I think giving the enemies emotions and making them realistic seeming actually makes them much scarier.
Q) What films and books have given you inspiration for The Forest? Hatchet was the first novel that came to mind when seeing the plane crash and the survivalist elements within the first few moments of the trailer.
A) Italian horror films are a big influence on the game, the core idea of the game is taking a situation, like one of those late 70’s italian cannibal films and putting a player in there. Letting them see how they can survive.
The novel ‘I Am Legend’ is also a big influence on the game, along with other horror films from the 70’s and early 80’s such as texas chainsaw massacre, hills have eyes, the beyond and many others
Q) Once you release the game on PC, do you think there’s a possibility we could see the game come to the PS4 or Xbox One, or both? It seems like this game would fit perfectly with Sony’s Move and Microsoft’s Kinect.
A) Our focus is on the PC version currently, however we’d definitely be interested in console versions down the line.
Q) Do you hope to turn The Forest into a franchise? Or maybe add DLC later on to try using new environments to survive in?
A) We’re planning on adding free updates to the game once it’s released. We currently have an experimental randomly generated game mode where players can generate a new world each time they play. This is something i could see us developing further once the game is released.
Q) When can we expect to play The Forest?
A) We don’t have a firm release date, but we’re aiming for late 2013.
Q) As a site that covers primarily the single player experience, as a developer, how do you think the single player experience will change with the next-generation?
A) I’m most excited about the Oculus rift, and the new types of games that it makes possible. More immersive and realistic games with less of a focus on fast paced action and shuffling players from one exhausting cinematic sequence to another.
For the Forest, we’re heavily focused on making the best Virtual Reality game we can. Things like keeping all the crafting in the game world instead of via menu’s are a direct result of our focus on the oculus rift
There’s a scene in most cannibal and zombie films where someone is torn open and eaten alive with intestines spilled and pulled out. Picture that scene happening to you. With the rift on you can look down at your characters body as it’s pulled and torn apart. It’s going to be horrifying.
Q) Any other details about The Forest you would like to share with us? Maybe a new gameplay clip or screenshots?
A) We’ve made a lot of improvements to the visuals since the first trailer release, and planning a big update showing off the new lighting and improved art soon
OnlySP: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. We cannot wait to get our hands on The Forest and try it out. If you have any final comments for our readers feel free to say whatever is on your mind!
SKS: Thanks for the time!
Feel free to join our forums to discuss the game further and take part in our August User Review Contest. By submitting a review you’ll have the chance to win great prizes like Remember Me, God of War: Ascension, Dead Island: Riptide and more. Just follow the link.