Save The Whales. Or Drill Them. In Windforge

By John Walker on November 13th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

One of the best looking games I saw at GDC in March this year was Windforge. And then I didn’t tell you anything about it. Why not? Because hacking around on an early version, it still felt too soon. Drilling flying whales for building materials is obviously enough to ensure classic status, but the timing wasn’t yet right. With the game now looking to hit its final strait, and a new version of it heading our way to pick through, the timing feels right. Oh, and they’ve launched a Kickstarter to get it finished.

Windforge is yet another game that at first glance looks a lot like Terraria. But it’s something decidedly different. It’s far more focused on exploration via airships, describing itself as a “Steampunk building block RPG”. Which means, yes, there’s a storyline in here, despite a fully destructible procedurally generated world. How will that all hang together? That’s what I’m still waiting to find out.

Until now the team have been in that so very common indie position of having to take on contract work to afford to keep afloat, and of course that takes them away from their first passion. This is one of my favourite reasons to see a Kickstarter happening – ensuring the cash is in place so a dedicated team can just focus on the game without worrying about the bills. Here’s the pitch video:

I’m not the best at calling Next Big Things, although I’m taking Rogue Legacy as a major win. But I can smell it on this one. If the wind blows the right way, and it all holds together, I can see this one grabbing wide attention. It’s a $15 pledge to get a copy of the game next year, and I’m pleased to say there’s no foolhardy “earlybird” nonsense for once. (Everyone else: telling someone who’s giving you free money that they could have gotten the game cheaper if they’d only heard about it for the first time a week ago – it’s not exactly ingratiating.) Also, give this one a thumbs up on Greenlight.

, , , .

14 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    This is absolutely a beautiful time for games. I’ve dreamed of a free-roaming road trip game where you have to maintain your vehicle in fine detail – houseboats, spaceships, buses, whatever. Airships is definitely a good choice. I’ll be funding this through the roof.

  2. uncleezno says:

    An artist mentioning ‘The Rocketeer’ as an influence is great. And who would ever want to kill whales?

    • irongamer says:

      Depends on your world view, but yeah it feels odd in a video game. Their plot could be interesting and is sort of timely given what is happening in the world.

      Lots of uses of whale products, especially in the past.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_whaling

      There are still entities that are interested in using whales to make products today.

      “Companies in Norway, Japan and Iceland are betting heavily on the lifting of a commercial whaling moratorium, and are working to develop new whale-based products ranging from golf balls to hair dye…”
      http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1880169/nations_push_to_develop_new_whalebased_products/

      • madconductor says:

        I’ve seen a lot of people (if youtube comments count) with problems that you can kill whales in this game. I simply don’t get it. Not real real life, not real whales. It really is that simple. If you will kill people in games you should have no issue killing whales in games.

        I even saw a few suggestions that the whales should be kept in the game because they’re “beautiful” but that they should be made invincible. Talk about limiting player choice for insane reasons. Though, obviously, the devs won’t be taking that suggestion.

        • uncleezno says:

          Clearly we killed whales in the past for a specific reason – whale oil. And yes, this is a video game and they’re not real whales. But I don’t like when cruelty to animals is depicted in films or TV – most people don’t. It makes me, and plenty of other people, uncomfortable. It’s called empathy.

          • Premium User Badge

            Bradamantium says:

            Er, it’s a video game. This is a medium in which countless billions of aliens, orcs, and yes, people, have given their digital lives for the sake of entertainment. Even if murdery games aren’t much your preference, it’s kind of expected that death is a thing that happens in a great many games. I get empathy. I’ll probably feel a pang of sorrow for the unassuming skywhale that dies so I might be King Bradamantium, Air Pirate Supreme What Travels inna Whale Corpse…but to act like there’s some stronger precedent for feeling bad about killing whales in a genre full of killing is a bit silly.

          • noodlecake says:

            So I’m assuming you’re vegetarian?

            Also humans are a type of animal, and they are a type of animal people generally empathise with more (as we see killing people as worse than killing other species of animal) so by that token games where humans are killed should make you feel more uncomfortable.

          • Drinking with Skeletons says:

            And before that for food. In fact, some indigenous peoples are exempt from international whaling bans and allowed to perform subsistence hunting. This is one of the reasons why it’s known that some whales can live for upwards of 200 years; the age of old spearheads embedded in their bodies from long ago.

          • Phasma Felis says:

            I’m not sure that killing an aggressive bullet-spitting skywhale counts as “animal cruelty.” More like “self-defense.” Or have they changed that behavior since the last video?

          • ehahnda says:

            I don’t know if this will sway your opinion at all, but Windforge definitely isn’t a game about slaughtering whales, and you will never be forced to kill whales if you don’t want to. They are actually friendly unless you attack them.

            The whales play an important part of the story and fiction in the game. Whale oil is the primary source of energy for everyone on the planet, so whale hunting plays a significant part of the game’s fiction. In fact, there is so much whale hunting going on that the whales are in danger of going extinct. The game starts with you being hired to research a forbidden ancient technology, in order to find a new energy source to replace whale oil. You might even be able to argue that this will indirectly save the whales.

          • ehahnda says:

            By the way, I should also point out that even though the whales are friendly unless you attack, they are by no means defenseless. In fact they can do quite a lot of damage if you aren’t prepared for them. If your’re curious, check out this early video we did of a whale trashing a ship: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT4T0HCbmpQ

        • ix says:

          I think it all depends. When I play a video game and the people are depicted as real people, rather than caricatures, then it does tend to make me uncomfortable. Especially if that is linked to some sort of ideology that I don’t agree with. I increasingly dreaded shooting people when playing BF3 single player for instance, because the whole nationalistic angle made it seem wrong somehow, while I generally have no problem with Planetside 2, until they started promoting real-life war recently. I can see how people would have trouble with whaling in some ways, depending on how it is handled in-game.

  3. noodlecake says:

    This looks awesome. And of course you should be able to kill whales. As a vegetarian and animal lover generally killing any species of mammal in a video game is okay to me.

  4. ehahnda says:

    Thanks a lot for writing this article!