The (New) Forest: First Update Adds Sharks, Better Ponds

Not pictured: the forest.

Is an early access release shit? Not in The Forest. The survival horror survival sim is about building shelter and gathering food to survive against the elements, where one of those elements is “naked slick cannibals”. Even in its first release it’s a fun time, and now there’s a new update coming today which introduces new features (sharks!) plus bug fixes.

As that post lists, there’s a bunch of new, interesting features and tweaks. When you get knocked out the first time, you now wake up in a random cave, rather than the same cave each time, which is great. You can now build a simple raft and while there’s no sail yet, that’s the first step to being able to travel around the island more broadly. Plus, birds can now be killed with fire, and who doesn’t think they’ve had it coming for a while now?

“Enemies will drag downed friends out of danger again” sounds like particularly neat behaviour for the cannibals, though I’m considerably less keen on the gender stereotyping (and phrasing) of “Females will sometimes freak out at dying family members.” ‘Females’ grieve, men avenge: videogames.

If you own or have been considering buying the game, the full list of The Forest updates is worth browsing. It’s still a long way from done, but “super deep ponds” are now fixed.


  1. melnificent says:

    Man Rawr, Woman wah.

    Why is this always the way it’s presented to society?
    Men grieve but society has conditioned them to try and not show emotion.
    Women will avenge, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” springs to mind.

    • puppybeard says:

      I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt that “freaking out” might mean going all berserker on the player in a “fuck with my lot and I’ll scratch your eyes out” sort of way.

      I’m waiting a while ’til I actualy play this one, but I hope that the devs are too clever for going all “fairer sex” on it.

      • joa says:

        What’s wrong with the idea that women have an emotional reaction to DYING family members? Has political correctness gone so far that we can’t have a depiction of women grieving, they have to go all Kill Bill about it?

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          Why don’t the men grieve?

          It’s the gendering of the reactions– the contrast of the two. Men and women don’t have different sets of emotions.

          Anyway, as puppybeard says, maybe no one grieves! Hooray?

          • TheRealHankHill says:

            They do if they have been conditioned to, at least outwardly. We don’t know what the hierarchy of the cannibal society is or what kind of social conditioning they have, yet here we are judging the devs without any insight. I think this is political correctness gone too far.

          • joa says:

            Men grieve in a different way to women. Men like to hide their feelings because it’s uncomfortable having others know what you’re feeling. It’s not that complicated.

          • alw says:

            and why do men find it uncomfortable? Is there, like, a gene that men lack for being able to discuss emotions?

          • satan says:

            (replying to alw)
            I wrote out a really long reply but it was full of low hanging anecdotal fruit…
            So I’ll just say in a word, maybe. All over the world, regardless of any other factor (e.g. income/age/social status), men would sooner reach for the bottle than reach out for help (there’s been some great research done on this but my university days are behind me).

      • puppybeard says:

        Like GunnerMcCaffrey says, it seems a bit silly that it would only be the women, if that is the case. The cannibals don’t strike me as the “stiff upper lip” type.

  2. Gap Gen says:

    “Is an early access release shit? Not in The Forest.”

    A bold attempt.

    • SomeDuder says:

      Does a bear crap in said Forest?

      Wait, what are we talking about? Can we just make Internetcomedy about Forests instead?

  3. RedViv says:

    The one constant in the universe, females are trouble.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Men being so emotionally repressed by their culture that they are forced to funnel the trauma of the loss of a loved one solely into physical aggression is more a representation of the trouble men can present.

  4. phelix says:

    Oh, um, so I’m a male, so I should not freak out if a close relative dies in front of me? Stuff like this makes games easy targets for mass media vindication. Yet again.

    • Bull0 says:

      Totally with you, but I found unintended humour in “freak out AT dying family members”. “Steven, for fuck’s sake, if you’re going to bleed to death can you do it OUTSIDE the hut?”

    • TheRealHankHill says:

      Are you a cannibal? Are you part of that society? Do you know what kind of social conditions they have? No? Then I wouldn’t look too far into it.

      • The Random One says:

        Maybe he IS a cannibal! On the Internet no one knows if you’re a cannibal! You shouldn’t presume, but that’s just like you, STEVE.

  5. Brinx says:

    “Cannibals shouldn’t run underwater” is pretty good advice all around.

    • subedii says:

      Indeed. That’s because they’d be hunted down by this guy:

    • TheRealHankHill says:

      Of all the unnerving things in this game, the most terrifying was sitting on the boat watching 6 cannibals sprint underwater below me, trapping me.

  6. puppybeard says:

    My favourite is “Timmy taken scene a little more dramatic, better lighting, sparks “ because it sounds like their approach to increasing drama is better lighting and sparks.

    • Bull0 says:

      I mean… we’re talking about a game where you’re on an island fighting cannibals. It isn’t House of Cards.

    • Brinx says:

      Still not dramatic enough. Needs more lens flares.

    • The Random One says:

      Makes me think of those satires of children’s fantasy shows where every time the evil guy’s name is mentioned lightning flashes in the background.

  7. UncleLou says:

    Nice. I bought this because, in many ways, it’s exactly the kind of game I always wanted. It’s the “serious” version of Don’t Starve, it’s Lost in Blue on a bigger scale, it’s what the Tomb Raider reboot – very early on – promised but never delivered, not even remotely.

    I don’t know if this will ever be finished, but even now, it’s already been worthwhile for me, just to get a glimpse of that kind of game I want. That said, obviously I hope this will one day be much more than it is now.

  8. Schmudley says:

    Sharks. Presumably the developers are worried that there aren’t enough ways to die horribly in the game.

  9. Grottismo says:

    Don’t be dicks, guy can’t try to make a feasible tribal culture excuse for a gameplay mechanism without a ‘ohvideogames’. It’s a binary choice, you could argue it’s more original to go with option B but why? It makes more sense following how tribal societies work and in tune with the game aesthetic.
    Also, really now, this isn’t a videogame problem. It’s a social one, that maybeperhapsidk comes from the fact there hasn’t been more than a century since women were allowed to vote in most european countries(hey let’s go to south america!), so it’s normal if previous gender traits and roles are still in our heads.

    “Why is this always the way it’s presented to society?
    Men grieve but society has conditioned them to try and not show emotion.
    Women will avenge, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” springs to mind.”

    Has this thought ever come out of anyone’s head before? Doesn’t seem like that

    • The Random One says:

      Yes it has, at least once, by a certain William Congreve.

      And while I don’t think anything is wrong with trying to create a tribal society, I find it a waste to make it so women are emotional when isolated tribal societies are one of the few places in the modern world where one can find truly equalitarian or matriarchal societies.

  10. Wulfram says:

    I’m going to assume the ponds are better because they now contain sharks

  11. Mittens89 says:


    Why is it always one or the other?

    • Niko says:

      But video game males show an emotion! It’s called “anger”.

      • RedViv says:

        No, then you would have to cope with it. What they experience is not the “feeling” of “anger”, but a natural manshoot response caused by the glandum stercus, that part of the male brain that looks a bit like a tiny trilby hat.

      • Michael Fogg says:

        Don’t forget ‘grim determination’.

  12. Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

    Yes, there are early access games and they receive periodic updates. Not sure why RPS is obsessed with the Forest…Is there going to be a full post for every patch?

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      It’s been the top selling game on Steam pretty much since its release, so there’s probably a lot of interest in a post about this. They’ve had posts for updates to various other early access games too.

  13. Distec says:

    I don’t see the problem with the male/female behavior. Both genders have been socialized differently in various cultures throughout time, manifesting different behaviors. That’s without getting into psychological and biological differences. And since this is in service of a game, and this depiction is not inherently insulting or degrading to women, maybe we can wait and see before cocking our eyebrows and airing :concern:.

    It’s a game where you are in conflict with primitive, savage, cannibals. I don’t think this is fertile ground for that particular argument.

    • TheRealHankHill says:

      Hear hear, logic has entered the building.

      • The Random One says:

        It did, when the article was posted.

        • Distec says:


        • TheRealHankHill says:

          Trying my best to not sound rude or anything but I immediately face palmed upon reading the gripe regarding this issue. It struck me as rather illogical to judge a society you know nothing about other than that they want to kill you. Once the devs post saying specifically that they did this b/c woman are weak and men don’t show emotion ever you’ll have something to complain about, for now people are making a mountain out of something that isn’t even a mole hill.

  14. Optimaximal says:

    Aren’t there certain hormonal differences between males and females that means each is more prone to differing emotions?

    Maybe it’s just another ‘badly worded sentence’ thing?

    • joa says:

      No. On RPS we don’t believe in hormones and science is made by men to oppress women anyway.

      • Cockie says:

        Or on RPS, we acknowledge that, when talking about people, the individual spread is much larger than any difference between the average man or woman and that is therefore silly to characterize someone with such a stereotype.

        • Distec says:

          Instead of getting too deep into the generalities of what RPS discusses, let’s focus on the title that’s the subject of this newspost.

          This game is not characterizing “people” as stereotypes. For all intents and purposes, and presuming there is no shocking reveal later on, these are pretty much humanoid critters loosely modeled off of tribal structures. It is not stereotyping when you acknowledge that many such cultures do or did establish differences and roles between genders. You might think that’s unfortunate, but then the problem isn’t with the game, really.

          Its implementation here – as a way of diversifying behavior among primal savages – is far removed from the insensitivities of Watch Dogs’ fridge women or Lara Croft’s chest. No sense barking up this tree. There’s no sense in comparing the plight of the modern woman to a fictitious “fast zombie”.

          • Cockie says:

            My comment was aimed at the “hormones and emotions” thing rather than the article itself. :)

          • Distec says:

            Ah. Wasn’t sure if you were referring to the stereotype mentioned in Graham’s piece. For what it’s worth, I agree with you!

        • joa says:

          Typical postmodern rubbish. Sure there are outliers. Do they negate the general differences? Absolutely not.

          • Cockie says:

            I’m clearly not going to convince you so I’m not even going to try. Have fun using that as a reason to stereotype people!

    • puppybeard says:

      I liked the Witches in Left 4 Dead. They cried all the time.

      –edit: if you’re not sure what I mean, turn on moderate safe search before searching for images on google. Some people, honestly.

    • RedViv says:

      Yes, and in fact, one of them has in general far more wildly unpredictably fluctuating levels of hormones that make them prone to sudden emotional drifts, which logically and totally scientifically should mean that they are not fit to be in positions of power.
      So please, havers of Y chromosomes, leave your posts now.

  15. woodsey says:

    I think I’m convinced enough that a prehistoric tribe of cannibals has hadn’t the latest the update from Feminist Weekly in a while to not be annoyed about them having a patriarchal society.

    There are much more deserving games to bring this argument into, and people will only get more pissy about it being brought up in those cases if its brought up in unnecessary ones.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      FACT: Men did not have emotions until the steam engine was invented

  16. Michael Fogg says:

    Teh Forest looks interesting, but one thing that bothered me in some ‘first look’ video was the fact that you hack’n’slash your way through entire groups of those cannibals. Quite hilarious too, with all those limbs flying. It doesn’t really add to the sense of vulnerability needed in a survival game.

    • trjp says:

      Trust me – that isn’t happening in the current version

      In fact any attempt to attack them will result in your being their next snack – they are hard-as-nails – effectively unkillable at the start of the game (unless you cheat – there’s a dup bug and a limited-use flare pistol IIRC?)

      • TheRealHankHill says:

        They’re incredibly easy to kill with molotovs. I just create like 8 of those and I can hold off ten of them at once if I have to.

  17. trjp says:

    Go look-up the meaning/etymology of the word hysteria” – I don’t think we’d have a whole word in the language without some suggestion that women are a bit more prone to panic/less evolved to whack the thing causing the panic.

    That’s no reason to force people into those roles – BUT – games need some stereotyping, it’s how we’ve evolved the culture, language and format of gaming.

    e.g. Imagine RPGs without any pre-judgement of character

    “Choose you race – it doesn’t matter, they’re all as strong-willed as the others!”
    “Choose your class – but don’t feel constrainted by it – if you want to be a rogue who uses a 5′ long sword and wears super-bright neon, GO FOR IT”
    “You are pitted against ORC ROGUE – he wishes to discuss fashion and knitting”

    Gaming wouldn’t have been as much fun without SOME stereotyping, would it?

    I mean cannibals are people too – you’re judging them entirely because, unlike you, they fully honor that which they kill

    This is my design…

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      It’s more an issue of unit differentiation: you want enemies to behave a bit differently so you need to adjust your tactics. Doesn’t need to be done in a stereotypical way, but it is good to have behavioural variety.

    • puppybeard says:

      It’s a minor one, and the game isn’t finished yet. For all we know there’s someone working on the grief animations for male characters right now.

      In general though, if you’re not careful with stereotyping, it can be boring, silly, or worse.

      I’m sure we could talk about historical attitudes to mental health all day, but I don’t think the devs are at fault in a big way. Let them finish the game and all that.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      I’m not sure why you would bring up female hysteria to support your point, since it’s been proven to be nothing but just a catchall diagnosis for epilepsy, anxiety attacks, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, conversion disorder, etc… things that men also suffer from.

      • trjp says:

        Oh hell yes, of course, but for almost 2000 years people believed there was a actual illness, unique to women, which led to them behaving – well – “hysterically”.

        For anyone too lazy to Google – “hystera” was Greek for uterus – hysteria is therefore a condition perhaps caused by having one – thus one which only women could suffer…

        Man Flu doesn’t exist either – but enough people believe in it for the term to exist.

        Thus I think it’s fair to assume that a woman might be a bit more prone to panic and a man a bit more prone to ‘call in sick’ in the event of a cannibal holocaust ;)

        • thebigJ_A says:

          People also believed diseases were caused by gods.

          I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume *anything* based upon old superstitions, and makes less sense to validate stereotypes simply because they’re really old…

    • The Random One says:

      I think the fictitous RPG you just described is Skyrim. I think I remember being approached by an orc scribe who asked me about my clothing.

  18. bangalores says:

    But can it save?!

    • Deadly Habit says:

      The closest thing is the No More Birds mod and it’s workaround

  19. TheRealHankHill says:

    Ughhhh, come on people. Anyone who has spent more than an hour with this knows the females are just as deadly as the males. 90% of the time I’ve died it’s been a woman bludgeoning my face in.

    • Deadly Habit says:

      But.. but they have a deviation in their AI behavior which the men don’t have by showing emotion which is offensive to me! They should all behave the same to make for more predictable and bland encounters!
      Also this cannibal tribe is clearly a patriarchy and male power fantasy since the women are topless and they don’t fulfill the roles of “skull with light on stick bearer” or “octo-severed-arm backpack”.
      We need to bring more attention to this! #downwiththecannibalpatriarchy

    • fish99 says:

      …and in the game?

    • The Random One says:

      Uh, yes, you are right, which is why a mod that would make female cannibals less dangerous would be a bad thing?

      • Distec says:

        What do you mean less dangerous? Do any of us know what “freaking out” actually entails here?

        • TheRealHankHill says:

          No one knows what freaking out entails. I figure it means they will go into a fit of even more rage and smash my face even harder. This politically correct crap is getting just a bit out of hand. BESIDES that, we know literally NOTHING about the society/ social structure of the Cannibals. Feminism wasn’t exactly a thing in civilization until recently so yeah…..

  20. racccoon says:

    With the save option came into place a few weeks ago I bought in. And I have had a good time only dying once and having one life left after the cave plunging. My main focus now is to build an enormous barrier around the plane, the plane is the haven, which I’m doing, its a slow process as the NPC’s are un predictable. Fire is their worsed enemy, so I use it well, I like to see them burn and die without me even touching them, I can then get about my business, its a really good game, a lot of fun messing about chopping realistic trees and and creating ways to stop the invaders. Very nicely made game. & REALISTICALLY priced. :)