Doggy Survival Sim Home Free Hits Kickstarter Target

Home Free has hopped the brush fence, leaped through the tyre hoop and darted through the collapsible pipe tunnel of crowdfunding to clear its Kickstarter target. 1901 people have thus far rubbed the game’s tummy, raising $50,540 at the time of writing. If this isn’t fast becoming clear: it’s a game about dogs. You control a dog trying to survive in a randomly generated city by stealing food from bins and humans and other dogs. It looks lovely. Watch the pitch video below.

There’s no shortage of in-development survival games, but there’s very few survival games set in urban environments and none that I can think of which star dogs. That’s what Home Free promises; a game in which “to survive the big city, you’ll need to decide how best to satisfy your doggy hunger.”

The features listed on the Kickstarter page are largely focused on offering an authentically doggy experience, and the wonderful animation in the above video is a large part of the appeal for me. It’s a game which can use the word “gambol” to describe your mvoement and it’s not hubris. If the video is any indication, you can totally gambol, as well as “chase, wrestle, cavort.” This is a much more appealing fantasy to me than similar animal survive-’em-ups like Shelter, in which your time was mostly spent trying to corral badger cubs with bad pathfinding away from passing eagles.

Home Free’s dogs might be so believably hoppy and happy because they’ve been worked on for a long time, and were previously seen sniffing each other’s butts in Dog Park, a simpler multiplayer game about four doggy friends playing together. That was playable at GameCity and other similar events over the past last year, and it’s included here alongside the more ambitious Home Free. Both games were primarily made – designed, programmed, animated – by Kevin Cancienne, who is maybe best known for being involved with mobile game Drop7, but who I am most excited to learn was co-developer of the Science & Industry mod for Half-Life.

If you’re interested in backing the Kickstarter, $15 is the lowest tier and will net you a digital copy of the game when it’s released, with a projected delivery date of November 2016.

28 Comments

  1. Synesthesia says:

    That looks lovely! Will I get sniped by other unseen doggies?

  2. Somerled says:

    “You control a dog trying to survive in a randomly generated city by stealing food from bins and humans and other dogs. It looks lovely.”

    You monster.

  3. int says:

    Can you do it main character style?

  4. kud13 says:

    Looks lovely indeed, but is there an ultimate goal? Are you trying to find your way home, or is it just about surviving as long as you can? (which will eventually get depressing)

    • LionsPhil says:

      Pausing the video at exactly 1:52 will reveal the answer.

      • frogmanalien says:

        Thank you for making me pause at 1:52 and all the other moments of the dream sequence (future, elephant fight, etc.) – that made me doubly pleased I’ve already backed this!

      • kud13 says:

        I must admit, now I’m intrigued.

    • benjamin1345 says:

      In the first update for the Kickstarter, the developer shared the story of his pit bull, Princess, who he adopted about ten years ago. She’s the inspiration for the game and the model for the dog in the trailer. And she, like the dog in the game, was abandoned by her previous owner. My genuine hope is that if you get through the city, you get a new “forever family” or something along those lines.

  5. LennyLeonardo says:

    Why aren’t there more animal simulators?! This looks great.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      There is Tokyo Jungle. Not on PC though sadly.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      I really agree: more animal sims that are not half-baked novelty physics sandboxes, please! There’s a lot in animal movement and behaviour that would be super interesting to explore interactively.

      • LionsPhil says:

        If you go back to Ye Olde DOS Games, there was Wolf and Lion, but I don’t think either were very good.

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          Ninja Dodo says:

          Will have to check those out. I generally find I’m disappointed mainly by the feel of movement in these kinds of games. This dog sim is the first I’ve seen that actually makes an effort to observe how these animals move and to replicate it in the mechanics. Navigation is 90% of the fun in this sort of thing.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        I always thought a M&B style sandbox RPG where you managed a wolf pack would be fun. Agonising winters and glorious springs. Fighting off rivals, accepting loners, pups growing into alphas, politics, that kind of thing.

    • HERP DERP NANOMACHINES says:

      All simulator games that feature humans are “animal simulators” you speciesist fuck.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        You’re so right. I meant to say “non-human animal simulators”, of course. I feel so stupid. STUPID!

        I am so angry with myself I am bent over in rage. My spine is realigning. I can feel my tail growing back. Where is all this hair coming from? My big toes are… opposable. Want fruit, insect. Lights? What that in shine glass? Hair man? Ogh.

  6. SuicideKing says:

    Now THIS is interesting!

  7. Challenger2uk says:

    I scrolled down to find no puns, I am barking mad!

  8. Eight Rooks says:

    Looks great, as has been said multiple times, and also kudos on that high-end tier for Add Your Own Dog Into The Game, Like, Your Real, Actual Dog Who’s Licking Your Dangling, Nerveless Fingers Right Now While You Agonise Over Whether You Can Afford To Spend That Much To Immortalise Him/Her. Evil genius right there.

  9. Llewyn says:

    What a beautiful thing but, as I expected even before watching the trailer, I think it would be far too sad to actually play.

  10. Steed says:

    Oh man, the opening to the video is heartbreaking :(

  11. commentingaccount says:

    This game makes me happy and sad at once. I think I’d prefer if it wasn’t procedurally generated and you always had a set ending. This way, you’d always know that the dog you’re playing as would find a home.

    Less realistic, I know, but as someone who has had two dogs run away and never come back, and has had to give up a few dogs as well… Just hits me hard, man.

  12. NephilimNexus says:

    Ah, the game that Fallout 4 should have been! I like it!