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The Forest: Open-World Survival Horror In a Lush Paradise

| 10 May 2013 16:40

The Forest is an upcoming survival-horror game that will set you alone against a clan of genetic mutants on a dangerous, deserted island.

Most horror games, at least the ones I've played, tend to be very linear experiences, because that's the easiest and best way to craft the creepy/scary narratives and set pieces that bring it all together. Monster closets work for awhile but if you really want to scare people you have to build up to it and then drop the hammer - or not, which is sometimes even worse. But The Forest is going to try something a little different by setting its "terrifying" first-person survival-horror game in a fully open and explorable world.

The game is set in a "living, breathing forest with changing weather patterns, plants that grow and die [and] tides that roll in and out with the day/night cycle," plus "a vast network of caves and underground lakes" below the surface. It actually looks quite lovely, although the plane crash that put you there is admittedly kind of a buzzkill, but as is so often the case, that beauty hides a dark secret. DUN DUN!

The website at survivetheforest.com promises "complete player freedom," saying that you can cut down trees to make a fire or build shelters, scavenge food or plant seeds and grow it, lay traps and even decorate your home with stuff you find lying around. "Explore and build during the day. Defend your base at night. Craft weapons and tools," it says. "Bunker down during the evening or bring the fight directly to the enemy."

It sounds like you're going to be stuck on this island for an awfully long time. It also sounds a lot like Minecraft, albeit with better graphics and a greater focus on the "game" side of the coin rather than the "sandbox." Creepers might startle you, after all, but The Forest is being promoted as a legitimately scary survival horror game, which is something altogether different.

The horror genre is getting a little overstuffed but if The Forest can make its open-world concept work, it should really stand out from the crowd. It's being developed for the PC with Oculus Rift support and while there's no Kickstarter, which is kind of odd these days, there is a Steam Greenlight page where you can throw it a thumbs-up if you like what you see. It's currently expected to come out late this year.

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