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The Stanley Parable co-creator announces a tea-brewing sim that's secretly not-so-cosy

Ivy Road's Wanderstop gets pretty bleak for a shop-keeping sim, but who's surprised?

Alta sits on a bench and stares at the ground in a screenshot from Wanderstop's debut trailer.
Image credit: Annapurna Interactive

When the Summer Game Fest trailer for "narrative-centric cosy game" Wanderstop said it was from the creator behind The Stanley Parable, I thought I had surely entered a different dimension where The Stanley Parable was actually a wholesome shop-keeping sim rather than a zig-zagging office-based nightmare. Then Wanderstop started to get rather bleak, and I finally stopped pinching myself. See for yourself.

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Wanderstop casts us as "fallen fighter" Alta, who clearly has some unfinished business in the arena she left behind. In the meantime, she's trying to live a very different life running a tea shop and tending to customers in a lush forest that wouldn't be out of place in any number of similar sim games - Slime Rancher, Dreamlight Valley, My Time At Sandrock, take your pick.

Alta seems like an infinitely more interesting hero for a (seemingly) wholesome game because she just doesn't want to be here... at all. "I'm not really the patient type," she says while doing chores in service of the Almighty Cuppa, "but I'm surviving." Living a cosy life doesn't forcibly extract a smile from her face, and I imagine that friction will almost definitely come into play. Well, the trailer ends with Alta continually telling herself that she's happy, actually - thank you very much, intrusive flashbacks - so make of that what you will. Things probably aren't gonna stay cosy, though.

The game's Steam page details the more typical craft-y-management type stuff we can expect, from gardening and harvesting to experimenting to create different brews for travelers with unique tastes. The tea shop apparenlty "demands patience" and rejects "those who have come only in pursuit of growth unchecked." Alta better brew up a strong, strong mug, then.

Davey Wreden (who co-created The Stanley Parable and The Beginner's Guide) and Karla Zimonja (who co-developed Gone Home and Tacoma) first announced their new studio Ivy Road back in 2021, with Annapurna Annapurna Interactive on publishing duty and Minecraft composer Daniel 'C418' Rosenfield behind the decks. We didn't have much info about their debut game at the time, but in hindsight, the co-founder's funky tea party announcement video should have been a clue.

No release date yet but it's "coming soon" to PC (Steam) and PS5.

The flurry of summer games events are now underway! Hit up our Summer Game Fest 2024 hub and our Day Of The Devs roundup for all the news worth caring about from the shows so far.

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