Gorgeous Walking Sim Shape Of The World Hits Kickstarter

Shape of the World [official site] is certainly the flashiest walking simulator I’ve seen. Its world appears before you as you walk, ground rising up, rocks falling down, and trees unfurling. It’s gorgeous, and doesn’t sound half-bad either. Flashiness takes time and money, though.

Developers Hollow Tree Games have launched a Kickstarter seeking $75,000 Canadian (£39k) to help finish up development. Look, look how pretty this is:

The world isn’t static, either, as it’ll fade away and reform in a new shape behind you. That music’s also a touch responsive, reacting to what’s going on around you. It looks and sound splendid but I’m still baffled by those collect-o-spheres. They seem like an unnecessarily intrusive Game Thing in such a clean game. What do they even do? As I often say, it seems loads of folks want to make walking simulators but can’t help cramming in The Sort of Things Video Games Should Have, Right? Relax, let the collect-o-spheres go.

Hollow Tree Games say they’ve been working on the game for a year and Kickstarter cash will help speed it along, shooting for a July 2016 release. They say “have additional funding sources in mind if our estimates turn out low” and it seems seems they’re sniffing around publishers too.

Pledging at least $20 CAD (£10.50) would get you a copy when/if the game’s finished. Kickstarter’s this-a-way if you’re curious.

30 Comments

    • The Dark One says:

      I love the tidbit that because the growth is procedural and only exists in a small radius around you, you can walk in a circle and end up in a very different forest.

      Reminds me of the “walking between shadows” bits of Roger Zelazny’s Amber books.

  1. sicbanana says:

    Mmmh! I’m really looking forward experiencing such abstract dreamscapes in VR, in the not-so-distant future!

  2. GameCat says:

    Proteus on steroids and LSD. I love it.

  3. Zallgrin says:

    I think the collect-o-spheres introduce new elements into the world and basically allow you to dictate the rate at which the world changes. If you want to keep wandering through a golden forest, then don’t pick them up. If you want something new – get those squishy balls.

    Anyway, I love this and i love the video. *throws money at Kickstarter*

  4. twaitsfan says:

    Without marijuana, Proteus wasn’t quite enough for me. Perhaps this will. Or perhaps it will just entail more marijuana.

  5. Spacewalk says:

    It looks a bit like a free-roaming version of Area 5 in Rez.

  6. GallonOfAlan says:

    It’s like that part in the Simpsons film where Homer is in a dream state with the Native American woman – the game.

  7. Dawngreeter says:

    This looks really interesting.

    On a slightly different note, I have a question about terminology because I seem to have been out of the loop on these things. Walking simulator was, as far as I remember, used pejoratively by *those* people. Are we now taking it back or has it already been taken back, and it’s just a plain term to use? Or something else?

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      yhancik says:

      My feeling was that it has already been taken back ;)

      • zentropy says:

        I’ve been quite fond of calling them Feel Em’ Ups, also courtesy of Alice I believe… ^^

    • Zallgrin says:

      People started is using as a neutral term almost immediately after similar games compared to Dear Esther appeared. If one wants a exploration game, it’s much easier to use the term “walking simulator” rather than explain in a paragraph what type fo game you mean.

      Personally, I really don’t care about the origin of it anymore, since it’s highly useful to me.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      I’ve been using it enthusiastically: link to rockpapershotgun.com

      • Dawngreeter says:

        I’m very glad that’s the case. As Zallgrin pointed out, it’s a handy term. And it fits.

        • HuvaaKoodia says:

          I too welcome the usage of the term. People shouldn’t be afraid of utilizing accurate and useful definitions.

          Interactive fiction is another one I would like to see gain wider adoption.

    • Geebs says:

      Walking sims began as a genre when a lone developer, working late into a dark and stormy night, was struck by the thought: “wait! What if we could walk to the monsters?”

  8. tnzk says:

    I didn’t mind Proteus at all in the end, but I think I’m done with pretty walking simulators.If I’m gonna walk, I need some incentive, like in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.

    Luckily, there’s been a lot of hardcore PC games that have come in recently to tickle my hyperactive fancies.

    • Pizzacheeks McFroogleburgher says:

      I’m with tnzk on this one. Surely anyone can come up with a pretty walky game. I’d rather have an ugly one where you could climb trees, or where there’s a bad guy at the end of the path needing his face shot in.

  9. deadwanderer says:

    It’s a minor thing, but my goodness, I adore the little “squiff” that plays when you pick up an orb. It’s perfect.

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      particlese says:

      I had the exact same thought, except that my onomatopoeiagenic skills are severely underdeveloped.

  10. shapeoftheworld says:

    Lead developer Stu here. Thanks everyone for the comments! I also embrace the term Walking Simulator, especially on a site like this, though there are places where the term discourages people. Cubism was intended to be a derogatory term but Picasso ran with it and it stuck in a good way!

    Regarding the collect-o-spheres, I think Alice’s critique is very fair, though Zallgrin is correct in identifying one of their purposes. It may be true that they’re too gamey for my game, but through playtests I’ve found that they help keep players going by providing a little reward and some guidance. I’m going to continue to work on this part of the design since I don’t want players to become TOO guided – it’s their journey.

  11. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Omigod it’s like that part at the end of Prey with the self-assembling hallways, times infinity!! And way prettier, too. Thanks for breaking my Kickstarter hiatus with this. ^_^

  12. Marclev says:

    Can someone explain in a nutshell what it is that you actually do in these sorts of games, beyond walking around looking at the pretty scenery? Without wanting to be too cynical, and never having played one, they seem I can’t help but fee like “walking simulator” sounds like someone made a genre out of the bits of RPGs that you skip with fast travel, because they’re so tedious, especially if the developers don’t “cram in The Sort of Things Video Games Should Have”.

    • Marclev says:

      Damn the lack of an edit button, try again:

      Can someone explain in a nutshell what it is that you actually do in these sorts of games, beyond walking around looking at the pretty scenery? Without wanting to be too cynical, and never having played one, I can’t help but feel like “walking simulator” sounds like someone made a genre out of the bits of RPGs that you skip with fast travel, because they’re so tedious, especially if the developers don’t “cram in The Sort of Things Video Games Should Have”.

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        Harlander says:

        Often they’re like an art installation that you wander around, looking at the cool stuff, finding out what happened in the made-up place, that sort of thing. Sometimes there’re puzzles. Sometimes you mess with alien-looking thingumies and devices. There’s usually not as much walking for getting from A to B as your “stuff you’d fast-travel over in an RPG”, with the notable exception of Eidolon