Returning to one of the early works that (helped) put them on the map, Tale of Tales recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to ensure their pioneering online game The Endless Forest flourishes in its second decade. For those not familiar with the title, it’s kind of an ‘ambient’ MMO where players become a deer in a surreal forest. In its own quiet and understated way it is one of the more influential games produced in recent memory, and co-designers Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn don’t just want it to continue to exist in its current state – it’s been active for more than ten years and has attracted over 170,000 players – they want to rebuild it with new tools.
Originally, in response to a commission for the Luxembourg Museum of Modern Art in 2003, we had designed a full-featured if somewhat surreal multiplayer online game. But when, after releasing a first phase of the game with a much smaller environment and far fewer features, we noticed how many players were extremely creative with inventing ways of playing in this very minimal game, we abandoned most of our ideas in favor of developing the game further in collaboration with the players. Not only did their activity in the Forest inspire all sorts of ideas but many players also actively designed things, some of which are currently implemented and enjoyed by all. We intend to continue that creative method.
The duo’s crowdfunding pitch is really detailed about their plans for the work. The Endless Forest will be (re)built with Unreal engine, be released on all major platforms (PC/Mac/Linux), and also rope in the expertise of several close collaborators (Lithuanian artist Lina Kusaite, animator Laura Raines Smith, and musician Gerry De Mol). Commendably, the game will remain free for all. As would be expected, Tale of Tales are offering in-game deer schwag aplenty for backers.
Indiegogo | Tale of Tales
Tale of Tales are one HOLO 2’s featured artists, as profiled by Simon Parkin and photographed by Rick Pushinksy. In the feature they shed light on the significance – and aftermath – of their recent game Sunset.