Some of the developers from Upper One’s Never Alone have embarked on a new journey to make The Forest Song, a video game adaptation of the classic Ukrainian drama Lisova Pisnya (Лісова Пісня).
Now working as Colabee Studios, the team headed by former art and creative directors of Never Alone is forging a first-person tale about a peasant who has an extraordinary encounter with a powerful and elusive Forest Spirit. From this chance meeting, the player gains access to the spirit world, which initiates a conflict between the world of humans and the inhabitants of the forest, both of whom have their own agenda.
After uncovering a magical flute, the player is able to revisit key scenes from the peasant’s life to observe time loops. It is from this that the gameplay emerges, as they must alter the game world while taking heed of the repeating events to solve a wide variety of interrelated and interconnected puzzles.
Similar to Never Alone wanting to represent Iñupiat culture, The Forest Song seeks to offer players the opportunity to learn of traditional Ukrainian mythology throughout the game. Co-Founder and Creative Director Dima Veryovka says that “[the game] is an invitation to a worldwide gaming audience to celebrate and share Ukraine’s rich mythological traditions… [it is an opportunity] to reclaim parts of [the Ukrainian] past that continue to be threatened”.
This threat, according to the Behind-the-scenes video, is born from the last 70 years of communist propaganda and threats against the religion, local mythology, and traditional values. It is from this that a generation was created who didn’t learn naturally from their ancestors, leaving things to be forgotten. The game appears to hope to address this by teaching the world about traditional beliefs and myths of Ukraine.
The Forest Song is being built for “the latest gaming consoles” and will include VR support.