Will We Save The Endless Forest?

By Jim Rossignol on March 28th, 2012 at 2:30 pm.


The work of arty developer types Tale Of Tales tends to divide people. I would argue that The Endless Forest is probably their best work – an ambient forest MMO in which players take the role of man-faced deer. There is minimal interaction, and just a few odd puzzle things to do, but that’s hardly the point: it’s simply a strange, shared internet space, and the kind of oddity that makes our vast series of tubes worth exploring. Anyway, it seems that is doomed now, since it lost its backing. The studio are appealing for donations to keep it alive: “This is not just a question of finances. It is also a matter of principle. We believe that an artist and their audience can have a symbiotic relationship that does not require any interference from the outside. So in a way, we are taking this opportunity to prove a point. Please help us do so.”

So, will you?

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45 Comments »

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  1. mentor07825 says:

    Nope.

  2. NathanH says:

    Nah.

  3. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    I totally would, but my dog got this thing you know… Sorry dude, maybe some other time.

  4. Hotseflots says:

    Yes!

  5. Jesse L says:

    It’s not enough of an oddity, and I don’t feel it’s artistically strong enough to need preservation. There are better causes.

  6. agent1138 says:

    Ha!, no way, you deserve this ever since the Graveyard. (I made an account for this, because that game was a bigger waste of money than burning the money itself for the heat..)

    • Ross Angus says:

      But … but … The Graveyard is free (and always was, as far as I know). You can pay for it, and get one extra feature: death.

      The Path costs money. But there’s a demo.

  7. Terragot says:

    No.

    “there is minimal interaction” – Sorry, but then what’s the point? Avoiding regurgitating the “Go make films / music / books” argument, I’ll just say that I believe art in games isn’t found in the developer forcing you through hoops but through the lonely findings of the user or the collaboration of a team of players, or the surprise of a stranger, or of the virally of squads. Games by definition require some form of interaction from the user to allow the user to provide their own interpretation. We chose this medium for that very purpose, why not use it!? Draw Something has provided me with a more emotional response than any of the games these guys have produced so I think I’ll be ok playing these games and being looked down upon by snobby art elites like tale of tales.

    If these guys are artists then they really don’t hold their work in high esteem. Trading the inner workings of their soul, bleeding their heart out into an experience to be shared with others which is essentially the translation of their emotional being as worth a quick cash grab?

    Go on lads, start a kick-starter and further prove what an embarrassment the “artists” in our medium are.

    • RobinOttens says:

      Have you even played this game? “minimal interaction” in this case doesn’t mean the interaction that’s there is pointless. If anything, it’s the interaction in this game that makes it special.

      I believe art in games is […] found through the lonely findings of the user or the collaboration of a team of players, or the surprise of a stranger, or of the virally of squads. Games by definition require some form of interaction from the user to allow the user to provide their own interpretation.

      This is exactly what this game offers.

      An MMO where you try to communicate with other near-anonymous players not through chat, only through emotes and animations that don’t have any specified meaning of themselves. Jumping around, wagging your rear or scratching the ground at other players. This game feels like you’re playing a mute, man-faced deer trying to interact with the other forest-dwellers. And it was a pretty amazing and fascinating experience. At least, last time I played it, for a few hours, a few years back.

      I’d be sad to see it go, I don’t know if I’ll give them my money though.

    • aerozol says:

      Everyone who feels offended enough by the ‘lack’ of gameplay, or perhaps the inferred attitude of the devs and their community, to comment like this every time it comes up, needs to work on their self esteem.
      It’s ok to like different things. Feeling the need to convince other people that they can’t enjoy things that they enjoy because of how you feel, or what you think, no matter how ‘logically’ you try and make that argument, just doesn’t bring any valuable discussion to the table. Go play and read about some games you like.

      • smeaa mario says:

        You have a point. I hate how people turn into spoiled brats asking for a nice and clean beatdown when it comes to these guys. Disliking what they do is okay under all circumstances but why start kicking your can around especially for them? They do something different and you just cannot simply claim that it is rubbish. Difference is good and brings in freshness.

        It is understandable that some people would not like to support Tale of Tales but please stop acting like they are trying to grab your money right out of your pockets with forced DLC or something.

  8. CKScientist says:

    I remember an article on somethingawful about this:

    http://www.somethingawful.com/d/mmo-roulette/endlessforest.php

  9. Mattressi says:

    A one-sided transaction of money is a ‘symbiotic relationship’? Well, if that’s what they want to do with their bodies, that’s fine, but I’m not sure what it has to do with PC games…

  10. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    Harvey&Samyn can’t make a proper game or tell an actual story in one, so hell no.

  11. Fearzone says:

    Is there no art in gameplay? Anyway, all they need to do is add a chatbox, and different skins for your human headed deer in the player shop, and it will do fine.

  12. Premium User Badge

    equatorian says:

    You know, I’d like to help this game since it’s just such a wonder to explore, and I’m an explorer type.

    But no. Not unless they say they’ll increase the contents of what is THERE to be explored. I like my magical Princess Mononoke-esque forests like any person with a heart, but there’s just not enough content there.

  13. Stupoider says:

    They’d have me think it was deep because you communicate by what, gestures?

  14. Kaira- says:

    Sure thing. One of the more interesting devs in my opinion, so why not.

  15. Frank says:

    No. And I’d say the same to Introversion and all the other over-hyped “indie” developers from the early 2000’s.

  16. Dervish says:

    Tale of Tales: making art so good they have to beg people to pay for it.

    And what, they can’t find 165 Euros/month between them to pay for it themselves? Way to stand behind the supposed importance of your work.

    • Hotseflots says:

      Because we all know Vincent van Gogh was so well-off during his life.

      • Dervish says:

        Yes, what’s surely appropriate here is a comparison to one of the most famous painters of all time. Please don’t feed their egos.

        Aside from the wildly different circumstances–I hardly think the problem here is lack of exposure–Tale of Tales have been deliberately antagonistic in labeling almost all games artistically bankrupt. But now they won’t front the money for their own project? It’s not a case of struggling artists against the philistines; add them to the long list of modern artists trying to convince people to subsidize their paint blotches.

        • Chris D says:

          The point is not that Tale of Tales=Vincent van Gogh but that if the most famous painter of all time was strapped for cash then it proves the “If they were any good they’d be able to pay for this themselves” argument to be nonsense.

          • Dervish says:

            No, you’re mixing the two statements together.

            #1 is pointing towards the sort of cognitive dissonance people have where they simultaneously praise Game X as art, a breath of fresh air, what the industry really needs, top 10 of the year, etc. and think its price of $20 is too expensive.

            #2 is the idea that if Tale of Tales really believes this is an important service to the public, they would cough up some of their own dough.

            I didn’t say all good games sell well.

          • Chris D says:

            Fair enough, that’s exactly what I did.

            Still not sure about 2, though. Desire to provide a service doesn’t automatically give you the means to do so.

          • Dr I am a Doctor says:

            Nothing by Harvey-Samyn duo is a good game.

      • Sivart13 says:

        If one of the Tales developers volunteers to lose an ear I’ll give them $10

  17. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    Put in deer mating and I might support this. Uh-huh.

  18. Blackcompany says:

    If they really wanted the game to survive, they would let everyone play deer for free.
    .
    Then they would sell the Wolf character add-on in the cash shop.
    .
    Now that’s “interaction.”

  19. Vartesz says:

    I’d rather not. It hasn’t been updated since years and Journey does everything they tried to accomplish through non-chat communication way better.

    • Torgen says:

      Journey is PS3-only though, isn’t it? I really want to try it after reading about it on Penny Arcade.

      • Vartesz says:

        It sadly is part of a three-games contract between Thatgamecompany and Sony, so it is quite unlikely that it will come out on PC. Time to bother a friend who owns a PS3 ;).

  20. DK says:

    If they REALLY wanted it to survive, they’d hand out the code and let people host their own servers. There you’re precious “art” is now alive forever. But then it’s not *yours* anymore, is it, Tale of Tales, and you couldn’t have all those stupid people who don’t know what art is have their mitts on your “art”.

  21. Matzerath says:

    I knew before I peeked in here that there’d just be a horde of ‘witty’ types donating exactly 2 imaginary cents.

  22. Premium User Badge

    Devan says:

    I’d never heard of this game or its developer before today. I do like the “symbiotic relationship” bit, but of course they’d have to have enough people getting enough value out of the game to make it work. If they don’t get enough donations, perhaps they could turn it into an offline game, since as far as I can tell the player to player interaction isn’t a big part of the experience?

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      That’s completely wrong. Player to player interaction is what the game is all about, even if it isn’t in the conventional way.

      If it was an offline game then it would defeat the purpose.

  23. kastanok says:

    The things is… I would love to. I’d love to be able to throw the whole €165/m at them just to know Endless Forest is still around should I one day want to go back and wander the forest for a couple of hours…

    But I can’t. My money is exceedingly tight and I have to be very careful what I put it towards.

    What surprises me is that they are only requesting regular, repeat payments. Yes, they can be cancelled at any time so technically a person could give a single payment but the impression is a significant element. Should ToT ask for people to throw, oh, a one off amount of €5 in return for a simple unique visual effect upon their deer I am sure they would make their money for the next 3 months almost immediately. Handled correctly, it could be a great opportunity to build interest in Endless Forest again, their old releases on multiple platforms and their future projects.

    Hell, they could ask for pre-orders of 8 (yes, that’s the name of their next big project) and I’d be throwing money at the screen. At least some of that could keep TEF alive.

    • kastanok says:

      UPDATE: I have just noticed that one can actually make a one-off payment from the Donate page itself. While better than I described, the key impression doesn’t really change I think.

  24. Professor Paul1290 says:

    It’s strange, I don’t think it’s a good game or anything like that, but I feel like something is going to be “missing” if this goes away.

    I was never really that much into it, but it’s one of those game where I’ve taken for granted the idea that it would always be there.
    Maybe once every other month I’ll have a bad day and think “maybe I should play The Endless Forest for a few minutes to calm down”, then I’d do just that. I wouldn’t really play it much at all beyond that, but for that purpose it worked just fine.

    Now it looks like eventually I’m going to have a bad day and think “maybe I should play The Endless Forest for a bit” and suddenly I’m going to find that it’s GONE.
    Sure there are other things I could do, but that would still be kind of terrible.

  25. wisnoskij says:

    The Endless forest actually has some puzzles? and apparently buildings as well.

  26. badvibration says:

    Honestly, it hurts me that a lot of you are pissed off just because Tale of Tales exists. This developer is not begging for help, they are merely asking for some support from their fans. They’re not asking anything of those above who are talking about their games not being games and not being worth the $5-10 they cost. So your self-righteous replies about them being so self-righteous are arbitrary. Tale of Tales are self-righteous, I’m pretty sure everyone knows that by now, so get over it.

    I’m going to subscribe. I’m going to subscribe because even though I don’t play TEF anymore, I have an ex-girlfriend who found meaning in her life through it. I’m going to subscribe because even though Tale of Tales are kinda pricks (mostly just Samyn as he’s their marketer i believe), they have the most loving and nice community I’ve ever been able to be apart of – the only community i know of that constantly goes out of their way to make you happy. I’m going to subscribe because I still remember how beautiful it was just to get lost running through a virtual forest. How beautiful it was to interact non-verbally with another human being, through the body of deer.

    I’m going to subscribe because Michael and Auria are my favorite developers. So you can bash them all you want, say that everything they do is pointless, meaningless, but just know this. Whatever the hell they have created or haven’t created has had a significant impact on my life. One I’ll never forget. So I, and a few others above me, are happy they exist.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      That sounds like a good enough reason to me.

      I might not find The Endless Forest to be a that impressive as a game, but I do find it very relaxing, pretty, and at times adorable and cute.

      It started up as a screensaver and wasn’t paying attention to it much, but when I came back there was a reddish deer with unusually large antlers hanging out near the pond. Two fawns came along and ran circles around him a few times before casting a spell that gave the adult deer a mask. The adult deer let out a sound that didn’t sound like a deer at all (masks change your voice) and they all started rolling on the ground laughing.

      It was just the cutest thing.

      It seems so sad that it seems like everyone else wants to stomp all over this little spot of happiness as if its very presence offends them.

  27. Premium User Badge

    Bahumat says:

    I won’t, but I know my wife will. She adores that game; probably still fires it up a few days a month.