That hiking game from Peter Molyneux is coming to PC

"You have died of Volcano"

What’s the auld rascal up to now? The Trail: Frontier Challenge [official site] is a multiplayer hiking game by 22Cans, the studio headed by Peter Molyneux and responsible for the troubled and still-in-early-access civilisation builder Godus. It’s been out on iGizmos for some time, but now it’s coming to Steam, say the developers. I haven’t been keeping track of it but let’s look at this trailer. Oh, it’s a walking simulator. But, er, not like that.

So it’s sort of a walking game but also sometimes a racing game but also an inventory management thingy but also there’s crafting and fashion and town building and other players and shooting pigs with slingshots. In other words, I have no idea how to classify it apart from to say it sure looks like a game you play on iPad. But here’s what some of the blurb says:

Join pioneers from across land and sea in an epic journey across an undiscovered country! Walk down the single track path of destiny at a calm and measured pace! Get out there and make your mark upon the world, adventurer!

And you are not alone in your travels! Every person you meet on The Trail is another player who will trade with you at campfires located along the way.

“The single track path of destiny”! Don’t you dare explore. There are different player classes – “Lumberjack, Hunter, Cook, Tailor, and Explorer” it says – and the aim seems to be to fill your backpack with expensive trinkets and earn money on your journey so you can invest it in a town somewhere. That seems fairly straightforward and at odds with the usual over-ambitious nature of this particular creator.

Making walking games that aren’t trad walking sims seems an interesting avenue to me. I live a mostly sedentary life but I did once walk the Camino de Santiago backwards. I had to throw out stuff in my backpack to make it lighter partway through the weeks-long hike and years of sorting vidyagame inventories had trained me for that moment. One evening I met a woman who had a tiny pack, which she told me housed just two shirts, two pairs of shorts, and two pairs of underwear. I have never felt more like a noob meeting a high level player.

I might do the Romeria in August, which is a much shorter walk. It’s a crazy day when loads of main roads in Costa Rica close down so that everyone can go on a mass pilgrimage to the town of Cartago to see a little black statue of the Virgin. Games don’t really do “pilgrimage” but maybe they should. I remember looking at the twisted, rigour mortis-ed corpses of the pilgrims in Dark Souls 3 and thinking: “I want to play their journey!” Am I strange? No. I’m normal.

Anyway, sorry for rambling (ha ha ha). The Trail: Frontier Challenge is due out on Steam sometime in Summer.

52 Comments

  1. MonkeyJug says:

    Looks gorgeous but judgement will be reserved until a later date. Likely a year with a 2 as its third digit.

  2. Beard_Arthur says:

    You mentioned “Godus”, but who can possibly forget their amazing, stupendous, life-altering, social multiplayer experiment “Curiosity – What’s Inside the Cube?”?!

    The “prize” of which was being a god in Godus and getting a portion of the profits of said game (which the winner has never ever seen).

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      To be fair, I doubt Godus has actually made any profits.

  3. Halk says:

    Peter Molyneux? 22Cans? Free to play?
    Triple no thanks.

    Go back to Godus and change that guys life, like you promised.

    • Anti-Skub says:

      It’s incredible that Molyneux managed to go from the video game equivalent of Stanley Kubrick to the video game equivalent of Uwe Boll. How does someone go about losing that much respect? It’s almost impressive.

      • Jeremy says:

        This is a PERFECT analogy. Well done.

      • wombat191 says:

        you mean he went from straight up torturing people to making shit products like kubrick and uwe boll?

        he did make the odd decent game back in the day hes always been batshit crazy and left field. the only reason those games became decent were due to other people saying NO to him in development

        • Hoot says:

          I agree. Dungeon Keeper and Theme Hospital were the products of an entire team, Molyneux might have been the creative lead or whatever but the Bullfrog team definitely reigned the crazy bastard in, which is why those games were amazing.

          I honestly don’t know why everything he tried now is this hyper stylised, left-field, pretentious shite. I want my game to you know, be a game. Not a statement. And certainly not a statement very few people give a shit about.

      • Ejia says:

        FWIW I didn’t hate the Dungeon Siege movie.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          The Dungeon Siege move was great, in a bad, but enjoyable way. I loved seeing Ray Liotta overact and Jason was perfect for the role as Farmer.

  4. Viral Frog says:

    Lost me at Molyneux. Drove me further away with every detail describing the game.

  5. Kneph says:

    This looks like it might suffer from “feature creep”. It showed potential in the basic core premise though. Guess Molyneux can’t contain his need to add stuff. Innovative does not mean “more”.

  6. ZIGS says:

    When is the gaming media gonna address the fact that Peter Molyneux/22Cans literally abandoned Godus and Godus Wars without sayign a word, and both games are still on Steam, incomplete, available for purchase?

    • Senethro says:

      What? Do you want a once a week reminder or something? It happened and the guys a jerk for it but he deserves less attention, not more.

      • TheBookThief says:

        Funny bit about that, there is a person on the steam forums for both godus and godus wars who runs a weekly report on how much time its been since the last update/communication with devs.

        • Stropp says:

          The last update from the Godus team was nearly 18 months ago. The 4th of February, 2016.

          Unless they’re in deep silent mode working on the game, it looks like it’s dead, Jim.

          There’s no way I’d buy into another Molyneux game at this point.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      Eurogamer did a very interesting follow up on it:

      link to eurogamer.net

    • Premium User Badge

      tigerfort says:

      I could have sworn that some “John Walker” bloke had done an interview with Molyneux on this very site about precisely that subject. You know, the one that (in)famously[1] started with him asking PM “Do you think you’re a pathological liar?”. There are also two links in the first paragraph of Brendan’s piece to RPS’ other coverage of Godus, so I hardly think he’s ignoring the issue.

      [1] but entirely fairly, IMO.

      • ansionnach says:

        Hmm… disagree strongly, there. No way to start an interview. Molyneux should have discontinued it at that point.

        • Hoot says:

          I think it was a perfectly acceptable way to start an interview, especially given that he actually IS a pathological liar. Or appears to be so strongly that it would be hard to prove he isn’t.

          Look at his list of recent accomplishments. Drove Lionhead into the ground after Black & White. Flat out ruined Fable (first one was great). Sold his schlock in the form of “Curiosity Cube” and then when the guy won it they gave him a shit prize he couldn’t even collect because the guy dealing with it left the company and Molyneux just didn’t replace him (lol…this guy, man) and finally sold Godus and is still selling Godus despite there being no updates for it in a year and half.

          Guy is a fuckwit. Plain and simple. I won’t buy anything that comes attached with the name Molyneux. His name is mud.

          • Deadly Sinner says:

            Yep. If he had lead with a harsh question for, say, Sean Murray (whose sins are much lesser,) no one would have been outraged. But Molyneux tickles many gamers’ nostalgia bone, so he’s treated with a different standard.

          • ansionnach says:

            It’s perfectly possible to challenge his record without resorting to personal attack. Even if you feel it is perfectly warranted, you can allow the facts to speak for themselves. I don’t think this kind of aggressive interview is warranted for any reason as basic decency should apply. There are those I wouldn’t interview, however, but that would be extreme situations where somebody ran off with a lot of backer money in what was a pure scam. In that case I’d call the police. I’ve read interviews with the man about most of his games down the years. Features often didn’t appear and he handled this terribly. I would consider a better approach to be to state the facts, say that a lot of people, myself included are very disappointed and ask him what is he going to do to rectify matters. There’s no need to give him preferential treatment or free positive publicity glossing over what happened. Before the interview I knew that Molyneux had a lot to answer for. After it, well, it didn’t reflect well on John in my opinion. Perhaps I clicked on the article with a degree of gleeful anticipation at the man being taken to task, but I was sickened to see him beaten to a pulp.

        • sneetch says:

          I would have hung up at that point.

      • ansionnach says:

        As for this game – it’s a very interesting idea.. I’d be interested in something like this done well, but as others have noted less charitably, the great games put out by the man may have required extraordinary talent from the team as a whole. This isn’t only a Molyneux issue but one many game designers have run into. Implementation is the hard part.

  7. Jeremy says:

    I didn’t even realize this game was by ol P-Mol himself. When it comes to mobile games, I have a lower threshold for quality, because, you know… it’s mobile. Even by those standards though, this game was just the worst. The mechanics were shoddy, and the “crafting” is terrible. I will say this, the opening scene and the scope of the terrain is pretty great, but then it immediately narrows into a single lane that’s surrounded by trees. I can’t think of a reason for why this game exists.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      I tried it, ’cause I still keep hoping he’ll come good one day. Bullfrog were the rockstars of my teens.

      I never got past the tutorial. It goes on forever, and it’s dull

  8. Avus says:

    Let the con begin, again…

  9. Premium User Badge

    weregamer says:

    Molyneaux? Yawn, tell me when the game is out because whatever he says now will be unrelated to what ships.

  10. cpt_freakout says:

    A pilgrimage game would be great. Cross Journey’s wonderful ambience with something like Banner Saga’s feeling of an inevitable march towards something great (I know it was certain doom in BS, but bear with me). Set it in a Catholic context, add some psychogeographical elements to travelling, and it might even be educational!

    • Gomer_Pyle says:

      You could have hazards, too, to make things more interesting. Bandits, wild animals, dangerous weather, etc.

  11. TheAngriestHobo says:

    I live a mostly sedentary life but I did once walk the Camino de Santiago backwards.

    That’s a really long way to walk backwards.

  12. Shazbut says:

    I like Peter Molyneux

  13. FredSaberhagen says:

    How do you feel about turtles?

  14. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    This game looks terrible. I want to throw rocks at it.

  15. Spacewalk says:

    Peter Molyneux Tells Gamers To ‘Take A Hike’.

  16. racccoon says:

    Looks real fun apart from the tiny steps, which look hilarious, but, maybe, it does go with the theme of the game. :)

  17. ffordesoon says:

    Isn’t this the game Molyneux said had “the potential to change the world” just before he decided he was done talking to press for a while?

    What am I saying, it’s Molyneux. He would have said Fuzion Frenzy “might very well change the way our brains process information” if he’d been working on it. Probably follow that line up with his patented “But I shouldn’t say that, I always get in trouble…” Then, with a kindly smile: “But I really do believe it.”

    I feel for the guy, in a way. Even when he’s swearing off ever talking to press again, he can’t help but promise the moon. I feel worse for the suffering bastards working under him, of course, but the dude has a problem.

  18. Ent says:

    I played the mobile version. It looks like it should be relaxing, but it was not for me. My mind was focusing on picking up new stuff and managing the fiddly inventory, rather than enjoy the scenery. Maybe it was just me being minmaxing, but anyway it actually stressed me more than darkest dungeon (at least DD is turn-based and you have time to make decisions) so I stopped playing.

  19. mercyRPG says:

    As everyone adores cleaning toilets, Molly’s next game should be a Multiplayer Cooperative Toilet Cleaning Simulator with Smell Expansion Collectors Box Items. Bonus: Hiking simulator DVD included in the Toilet Simulator’s Steel Box.

  20. Chairman_Pow says:

    I very much enjoyed this game for the short while I played on a friend’s phone (mine is too old to run it).

    Calming with a steady, if gentle, sense of progression where I found simply looking around satisfying. I didn’t make it to any of the town stuff and it seems that I played for such a short amount of time nothing had the opportunity to drag.

    I’m looking forward to dropping back in and seeing what more (if anything) it has to offer. I think it’s well worth a half hour of anyone’s time to explore and experience something a little different. See if it clicks with you.

  21. Treners says:

    I’ve played it a bit on my phone and tablet. It’s okay as a mobile game to play on the bus or something, with a nice aesthetic, but not much beyond that.

    • Chris says:

      The most damning thing about Godus, was when PC users bitched about collecting cards, they solved the problem by introducing stickers. Fuck Molyneux with all 22 of the cans.

      • Treners says:

        I was referring to the Trail (which I now realise wasn’t obvious) but sure, I’ll take your word for that, I never paid attention to Godus as a game, only a folly to read about.

      • xyzzy frobozz says:

        All two of the Toucans?

    • Treners says:

      The Trail, I mean. Not Godus. The Trail is fine I guess, Godus is nothing.

  22. Jay Load says:

    I actually thought he’d retired from game development entirely after John’s interview. But now that I think more it was retiring from the Press aspect of it, wasn’t it?

    Shame.

  23. xyzzy frobozz says:

    How about finishing Godus ya sh*t c*nt?