You Can Do What To Whales In Windforge?

By Craig Pearson on September 18th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Big mistake, whale. Big mistake.
It’s been more than a year since Adam first picked up the whiff of Windforge on the tradewinds. It’s a 2D exploration game where you can craft anything then attach a balloon to it and call it a ship. Where you go from there and what you do is entirely up to you, which means I am intrigued. I thought I’d hunt it down: I took a great whiff of the air to attempt to triangulate its position. Big mistake. All I got was the whiff of rotting whale corpse and the urge to shout Europe at the sink. Explanatory trailer below.

Despite being in development for years, the game is still in the pre-alpha stage, so I’d imagine the jittery whale physics and odd animations can be attributed to that. The rest? That’s purely down to whatever evil genius at the developers Snowed In had an angry run-in with a sky whale. Still, I’ll give them points for recycling the corpse in an imaginative and environmentally friendly fashion. I just wouldn’t want them as neighbours, that’s all.

Just watch.

The developers are keen to point out that you’ll never be forced to kill a whale, hollow out its corpse, and use it as a bus in the game. It’s just an attention-grabbing video. Though there will be practical purposes to do so: when you kill one in game, the corpse will eventually fall out the sky. If it lands somewhere you don’t approve of, you pretty much have to ride it out of there.

If this is the kind of thing you’d like to see on Steam, let them know. It has grappling hooks, so I’m sold.

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45 Comments »

  1. pepperfez says:

    “If only you could talk to the sky whales,” he says, unironically.

  2. eQuality_Ninja says:

    not. cool.

    • Turkey says:

      They used to do this all the time back in the day. Read about it in a stempunk history book. It had dumb cogs on it and stuff so I know it was legit.

    • Shadow says:

      For some reason, I can’t help but think people would consider this substantially less uncool if the whale had been stripped down to the bone before being repurposed as an airship hull. There’s just something repulsive about using a mangled rotting corpse.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      It puzzles me why the devs thought this would be good for publicity’s sake. Then again, I don’t adhere to the adage ‘any publicity is good publicity’.

    • Boffin says:

      Actually. really. cool.

  3. Jakkar says:

    Ergh. The total lack of coherent animation during the ‘fight’ and the casual slaughter of big awesome creatures. Not nice. A 2d equivalent of attaching rockets to a Breen ragdoll in Garrysmod doesn’t impress, somehow. If the physics corpse was softbody it might be another matter.

    … If it were the next Dishonored, I’d possibly have just whimpered with desire.

    • colossalstrikepackage says:

      Speaking of Dishonoured, that Whale level completely ruined my ‘never kill’ policy. As soon as I saw what they were doing, I saw red, killed everybody and blew the place up. Then I took a break and went back to being a pacifist ghost.

      It was an awesome piece of game design to have such an impact on me. Just wish it hadn’t been so barbaric…

      • TCM says:

        Consider, for a moment, that you just evaluated virtual whale life over virtual human life.

        Like, really consider the implications of that.

        • colossalstrikepackage says:

          Done.

          Have you played said level? It’s not quite that simple. I put to you that it wasn’t what they were doing it to but what they were actually doing. There was nothing ‘human’ or even humane about it. So I put an end to the suffering as quickly as I could. This meant very directed violence. No matter what animal they put in that situation (us included) my response would have been the same.

          And ghosting through both games should tell you that I don’t take killing lightly. Not having to kill anything (annoying background plants included) was my favourite feature of Dishonoured.

          • TCM says:

            I have not played said level. It’s in the first DLC, right? I kind of got board of Dishonored after blinking through yet another area, with no reason to ever use another ability. Been meaning to revisit it with a few more restrictions.

            I just find it difficult to judge people who don’t have the cultural backing to even develop such a moral standard. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t judge people by our standards, but given the cultural context of Dunwall, it’s difficult for me to say that anyone would have found anything wrong with inhumanely slaughtering whales for oil. Similarly, I have to think that Corvo (or Daud as the case may be), as someone who lived there, would not have the same moral reaction as I would from seeing something like that.

            I dunno, I just find it difficult to justify the taking of a human life for something done to an animal, no matter what cruelties or tortures were forced upon it. Yes, it’s a game, fictional, so that’s an easier call for people to make, of course. I doubt anyone in reality would say that, for instance, modern illegal whalers should be given the death penalty. And it’s not that I didn’t kill people in Dishonored, on the contrary, I killed those who I felt deserved it — for what they did to other people.

            As someone who hasn’t played the level, mind, I can’t say if it’s any more horrific than 18th century whale slaughtering conditions.

          • Jack Mack says:

            Digital human life is very, very cheap.

        • equatorian says:

          And what, exactly, is the problem about that?

          He/she just has a different moral code than yours. And as long as it doesn’t lead to them hurting (physically or emotionally or with other methods) real people in real life, what would be the problem with that?

          Plenty of people have hurt each other over shiny rocks or pieces of tree bark with dudes’ heads painted on them, literally valuing those things over human life. Doing that without violence is culturally accepted and admired, though, and nobody tells them to reconsider their priorities. We have weird priorities and they’re all going to be different. Why not lie back, enjoy the ride, and try not to get your head clobbered by another dude’s priorities along the way?

        • Boffin says:

          Come on, considering the implications of something is far from saying that someone shouldn’t be thinking it or trying to force your values on them.

    • Viroso says:

      Did you enjoy any GTA game or maybe Saints Row?

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Sadly, I don’t think you can reconcile softbody whale physics with carving rooms and tunnels out of its insides. It would be nice, I agree.

  4. pupsikaso says:

    Wow, this looks like it could be so good. It’s pretty much what I was expecting from Terraria when I bought it (and was ultimately disappointed). Endless exploration!

  5. Mr Coot says:

    This is not the Skywhale! Where are its multiple huge pendulous breasts?
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/floating-in-wonder-with-skywhale-20130519-2ju9n.html

    Poseurs!

  6. InternetBatman says:

    I blubbered when I saw the whale die.

  7. Smion says:

    This beautiful creature must die
    This beautiful creature must die
    A death for no reason
    and death for no reason is murder

    • Ravenholme says:

      Looked to me like the whale was attacking him first.

      On another note: The art style gives me shades of Arcen’s A Valley Without Wind, only… you know… better.

      • Zyrxil says:

        I don’t know, I don’t think it looks any better than A Valley Without Wind. Both are games boasting about endless possibility, using stiff poorly animated sprites and an extremely poor art style. Both fail to recognize such stiff animation looks and feels wrong when it’s not used in combination with a pixel art style.

    • Earl-Grey says:

      It’s not natural, normal or kind
      The flesh you so fancifully fry
      The meat in your mouth
      As you savour the flavour of murder.

  8. Piecewise says:

    I was hoping for something more like
    http://www.keiththompsonart.com/pages/leviathan_data.html
    Then just sticking a balloon on it.

    Oh well.

  9. ehahnda says:

    Thanks everyone!

    If you want to find out more, check out our blog here: http://snowedin.ca/category/windforge/
    and our greenlight page here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=93149001

  10. dagudman says:

    This is why whales are endangered…

  11. Strangerator says:

    Some whales deserve to die: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr9BaRKrF7I

  12. rockman29 says:

    Not sure how I feel about this.

    I guess on a personal level, I think it disturbs me, that’s the most I can say. I would personally choose not to buy a game based on content like this, I don’t mind voting with my wallet.

  13. Chillz says:

    Wait, wha? I.. uh… just take my money.

  14. Theon says:

    Could someone explain to me what you find so horrible about whale hunting?
    No endangered whales are hunted today, the killing is swift and the whale is allowed to live its life out on the open seas (as opposed to pigs, cows, fish and chickens).
    Assuming you’re not vegetarian/vegan, there seems to be a rather huge paradox looming above your heads.

    Incidentally, are you the same people who cry because Chinese people sometimes eat dogs?

    (PS. I’m ever so slightly biased, being a Norwegian currently living in Japan.)

    • Theon says:

      Also, out of all the meat you can eat, whale meat is the easiest on the environment. It is also very delishious.

      The only whale hunting which to me seems undefendably grizzly is the Japanese dolphin hunts. Normal whale hunting is pretty humane stuff, if you consider the taking of animal lives for the sake of great taste humane.

    • Jack Mack says:

      Who said anything about whale hunting? We’re talking about killing a whale so you can hollow out it’s corpse and ride it around. It’s a growth industry.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Now, bear in mind I think crying over the self-defense killing of an imaginary man-eating flying whale is a bit silly. But back in the real world:

      “No endangered whales are hunted today”

      That is definitely not true. Here’s just one example.

      “the killing is swift”

      Hardly. Nothing short of a naval torpedo can reliably kill a large whale instantly, and that would destroy too much valuable meat. Modern whalers hunt by blasting the whale with grenade-bearing harpoons until there’s enough holes in it that it bleeds out. It’s swifter than the old methods, but it can still take up to half an hour to die if done improperly, which isn’t anyone’s definition of humane.

      I’m not a vegetarian. I’ve got no problem with eating any animal that was raised and slaughtered humanely. Hell, maybe you’re fine with inhumane slaughter. It’s your conscience, not mine. But at least get your facts straight, for fuck’s sake. You guys are supposed to be better than us Americans about uncritically swallowing everything your government’s bullshit, remember?

      • Theon says:

        Okay, while I must admit I’m somewhat ignorant when it comes to Japan’s procedures, I can at least vouch for my own country; In Norway we only kill minke whales, and while there’s an estimated population of 103 000 animals (2008 IWC) in the North-East Atlantic, Norway only slaughters 300-700 animals a year. Also, this is a quote from the Wiki site on the minke whales:
        “The IUCN Red List labels the common minke whale as Least Concern.[11] The Antarctic minke whale is listed as Data Deficient.[12] COSEWIC puts both species in the Not At Risk category [1]. NatureServe lists them as G5 which means the species is secure on global range [2].”
        “In 2012, the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission agreed upon a population estimate of 515,000 for the Antarctic minke stock.[13] The Scientific Committee acknowledged that this estimate is subject to a negative bias because some minke whales would have been outside the surveyable ice edge boundaries.”

        When it comes to the actual killing, the modern grenade harpoons, manned by people who have to go through strict training, kill instantly in more than 80% of cases. What about the other 20, you might ask – and rightfully so, but bear in mind that this is much higher than the rate for ex. deer hunting (which, incidentally, in your britlands and murikas, is not held to the same standards as hunting in Norway).

        Now, it is still brutal, that is true, but do you honestly believe that cows and pigs live better lives than whales? Chickens? Do you know HOW chickens are produced, and why they’re not called hens? -They are literally transported on bands, then fed until they reach burst-limit in a cage so small they can’t even stretch their wings out, only to be slain before they’re as much as a year old. Here’s a picture of what they call “free range”: http://gronnhverdag.no/var/ezwebin_site/storage/images/aktuelt/katastrofal-dyrevelferd-i-kyllingindustrien/100937-15-nor-NO/Katastrofal-dyrevelferd-i-kyllingindustrien_articlefull.jpg

        I also find it pretty strange that the britbongs claim superiour values while they allow something as macabre as fox hunting, in 2013.

    • aldo_14 says:

      Japan’s ‘scientific’ hunts kill a mixture of Fin (classified as ‘threatened’ on the endangered species list), Sperm (vulnerable), Sei (threatened; on endangered list), Brydes (unknown status*), and Minke (least concern).

      So out of those 5 species caught under permit, 2 are endangered, one close to endangered status, and one has too little data to draw a conclusion.

      *Some local surveys indicated significant population dropoffs when commercial whaling switched to this species after other more commercially popular species declined. Population estimates are about the same level as, IIRC, Fin or Humpback whales.

  15. MadTinkerer says:

    The all-too-cruel secret epilogue to Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening…

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