The Forest launches this April, after four years lost in the woods

The Forest

Four years in early access, a highly active player-base and enough sales to make it a regular front-page bestsellers fixture on Steam, The Forest has done very well for itself, considering its lengthy public development cycle, and crowded genre.

While not quite as ambitious as the excellent (and recently finalized) Subnautica, The Forest puts its own narrative-driven, oft-horrific spin on the survival sandbox genre. Development on the game has shifted gears in recent months, and developers Endnight Games are planning for it to leave Early Access this April, accompanied by one massive final update.

For those who haven’t been keeping up with every survival game to come and go (and who can blame you), The Forest builds on a simple concept: Your plane has crashed in a deep forest (shocking, I know), and aside from your child – who is dragged away by a mysterious figure – you’re the only survivor. As per genre standard, you must cobble together shelter, weaponry and tools from whatever you can find lying around.

What defines The Forest is that it’s as much Survival Horror as regular Survival. It’s not long before the game takes on a slightly Lovecraftian spin, with the woods being inhabited by tribes of cannibalistic mutants, and the caves that run under the hillsides contain some creatures that really should not exist. There’s also a number of plot threads to pick up as you explore, and the deeper you dig, the more aggressive the locals become, requiring increasingly advanced fortifications if your camp is to survive each night.

The game has been arguably ‘complete’ for some time, and even has full online multiplayer, but according to the developer’s blog post on the upcoming version, they’ve got a lot planned for the final release, including reworking how heat and cold affect you, and giving you more reasons to fight against the cannibals head-on.

One thing that catches my eye is mention that they’ve got ‘really fun and crazy surprises’ planned regarding the ending. Given how wild the current final act of the game is already (a lengthy sequence I do not dare spoil for anyone), I can’t begin to imagine what they’ve got cooking, but I can’t wait to see.

The Forest is available now on Steam for $15/£11, although Endnight do plan on increasing that to $20 once the game launches in April, so get in early if you want it a little cheaper.

12 Comments

  1. davebo says:

    I’ve been playing this co-op with a friend for years and having fun. Once they finally added the end of the story we played it, then check in once in a while for any significant updates. It’s a shame that the era of early access often leads to people playing unfinished games to the point that they’re done with them years before the game is actually finished, but this is one early access title I don’t regret getting.

  2. Viral Frog says:

    Ah, good news! The Forest is one of the only survival games I’ve ever found myself enjoying next to Terraria and Minecraft. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t completely forget it existed until now though. I played about 10 hours or so a year or two back, decided it was great fun but I wanted to wait for it to be finished, and here we are. Excited for 1.0 launch!

  3. Moonracer says:

    Looking forward to this. I’ve had it in my inventory for years, but didn’t want to invest too much time until it was more complete. But from what little time I did play it was quite a lovely environment to visit (minus being harassed by mutants).

  4. KinichAjaw says:

    I remember reading about The Forest ages ago, and seeing the initial trailer made me wish I had a pc that would support it.
    I have one that will now and bought a copy during the big steam winter sale. I’m glad it’s finally getting released.
    Between that and We Happy Few I’ll be busy surviving for a long time to come.

  5. JacksterBro says:

    Congrats on the progress but this update broke multiplayer for me sadly. error —-> “Unity Player [version: Unity 5.1.4f1_36d0f3617432}”

  6. Artist says:

    Dear Dominic Tarason, how is The Forest less ambitious than Subnautica, when it has the more complex systems?
    Also, I think “after four years lost in the woods” is a pun went wrong, because it somehow gives the impression that it was not under constant development.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      The Forest has fewer systems at play, but they’re more detailed, but Subnautica’s scale and layered gameplay make it a much meatier proposition when the two are stacked up.

      That’s not to say either is superior, just that one is bigger, which may not always be a good thing.

  7. racccoon says:

    Having revived this many times from its birth I doubt whether i can be bothered to revive it again.
    The whole disappointing thing about these steam crap’ass early access games is, they are disappointing with there nerve & audacity to go on forever ever using constant supply of new players like cash pawns. This really has f’up gaming.

  8. JustAchaP says:

    I thought it was already out of Early Access

  9. virtual.light says:

    This game is beautiful, if it had a peaceful no horror mode it would be the ultimate camping simulator. Rather sad that everything has to have zombies or monsters to be financially viable.

    • Nelyeth says:

      Ehrm… Subnautica? I don’t think I’m teaching you anything new when I say it’s currently extremely successful, while also being one of the most peaceful games I’ve had the pleasure of playing (also cue Slime Rancher, Stardew Valley, Abzû…).

      While some developpers do scream “ZOMBIES” in your face to sell more copies (*cough* Metal Gear Survive *cough*), a lot are just trying to make an original and polished game, and I think The Forest’s in the latter category.

    • misfit says:

      It does have a peaceful mode so you can just happily explore and base build without the threat of cannibals etc.

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