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Why is Sons Of The Forest exactly like an early-00s b-movie thriller, though?

It would have a pro-wrestler or ex-American football player in the lead

"Have a go of Sons Of The Forest," my compatriots at RPS told me. "It's a great new survival game, with cannibals who live on an island!" And I was like, "wait, so until you turned up to they just eat each other? How do they have a sustainable population? What's going on here?"

Thus, in a spirit of pure scientific enquiry, I booted up Sons Of The Forest and immediately discovered that everyone has been lying to me, because Sons Of The Forest is not a survival game. Sons Of The Forest is very clearly an early 00s b-movie action thriller. The script was left in a filing cabinet in Slough in an empty office until the office was repurposed into a call centre, at which point it was found by a middle-manager whose paintball team thought it was awesome, and somehow he sent it to a game developer by mistake. This is what happened, and you cannot convince me otherwise.

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My evidence for this is [gestures] basically the whole game, but most especially the opening cutscene, which is entirely the opening to a terrible action film, except the camera is in first person, and in the movie version there would have been a lot of weird cuts at odd places, while the lead (played by, I imagine, either a former American Footballer or a pro-wrestler trying to go the Johnson/Bautista route, as Edge did with Money Plane in 2020). Because we open in media res in a helicopter, any dialogue would be badly synced ADR. I digress.

The main character is there with his squad, one of whom is gurning at you in an openly unsettling way, and will clearly be the comic relief for the rest of the film - and he is! It's your buddy Kelvin, who is the only other survivor of the crash and, having been deafened, obeys your aggressively written notes to shamble about building whatever. Imagine how many yuks this would be played for in the movie. Also, there would be a scene where the cannibals manage to track the survivors because Kevin dropped one of the notes. Classic Kelvin.

Kelvin, a soldier in black tactical gear, sits nest to another soldier with a covered face, in a helicopter flying over water
Stop staring, Kelvin. Boy, I hope Fisheye, who has a covered face and doesn't look up, survives this! | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Endnight Games Limited

The insta-crash, leading to waking up on a beach and discovering the bodies of your be-piked comrades? Opening your survival kit on the ground? Walking down a path and suddenly seeing a cannibal, who runs away into the trees - before you're ambushed later and have to try to beat the fucker to death with a rock? Those are all shitty action movie beats! There's even a woman in a swimsuit with constantly visible nipples.

Other compelling evidence: the fact that you are there to look for a missing rich guy called Edward Puffton and his wife and daughter Barbara and Virginia Puffton, and I refuse to believe anyone seriously wrote the name Virginia Puffton this side of 2005. Then, of course, there is the tattoo, which literally everyone has honed in on as the most embarassing thing they've ever seen: badly kerned script on the lead character's inside right wrist reading Fight Demons. It's so bad that I believe everyone who has played this game has a picture of it, because it's impossible to play that opening with going "WOAH-HO!" and hitting your shortcut command for a screenshot as soon as you see it.

A screenshot of Sons Of The Forest showing a man's body impaled on a spike, with a seagull worrying his head
The laptop in the opening of Sons Of The Forest, showing that an old white guy in a dinner jacket called Edward Puffton has been missing for 31 weeks

I believe that this is much more easily explained if we assume the movie script was called Fight Demons, and that the tattoo (which appears at around the point you'd expect the title to) would sort of imprint on the screen. Beat. Beat. Cut to Kelvin explaning how long Virginia Puffton has been missing. And later in the film it turns out that the main character got this tattoo because he was an alcoholic who passed out and thus wasn't able to save his wife and child... from cannibals.

In short, no, I have not been playing a lot of Sons Of The Forest very seriously, because I built a floor and then couldn't put my tent on it, which made me cross. However, I would very much like someone to make the movie version, because I would like to watch it a lot.

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Sons of the Forest

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Alice Bell avatar

Alice Bell

Deputy Editor

Small person powered by tea and books; RPS's dep ed since 2018. Send her etymological facts and cool horror or puzzle games.

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