The sequel to the most ambitious cave-dwelling, cabin-building, and cannibal-clubbing game, The Forest is on the horizon. The Canadian-based developers, Endnight Games officially announced their next project back in 2019 at The Game Awards. “Sons of the Forest” is a promising survival horror game. And since then, they have only given us so many opportunities to get any further updates on this new installment, letting our imaginations run wild. Rest assured, though, because Sons of the Forest is getting its release in the near future. (2021 perhaps?)
In the meantime, let us delve into the details from the trailers and interviews that we already have, and see. How does Sons of the Forest relate to the first game? How far is it into development? Did Endnight Games find some obstacles in making the game during the COVID-19 pandemic? What improvements over The Forest can we expect the upcoming survival horror game to have? When can we expect the next trailer? And most importantly, when is the Sons of the Forest release date?
(This article contains potential spoilers on Sons of the Forest, and spoilers on The Forest.)
The Forest Sequel:
Sons of the Forest is the sequel to Endnight Games’ The Forest. It’s an upcoming horror survival game that already has a growing community of players waiting for its release. It takes place on a desolate island filled with angry, spine-chilling cannibals and mutants. You will have to either fight back or hide in order to survive.
The original game, The Forest (initially, 2014) was a massive success. It had already sold over 5.3 million copies by November 2018. And that was before they even released its Playstation 4 support. They kept it in early access for over four years, allowing themselves to improve every aspect of the game. They must have considered a sequel as an opportunity to perfect their craft even further, by promising us a follow-up that looks more terrifying and plays even better on an almost unprecedented level in the survival horror genre.
Sons of the Forest – trailers and interviews:
Sons of the Forest – reveal trailer
Endnight Games revealed the horror game at the 2019 Game Awards. And received a warm welcome from both an already-anticipating community of players and a newly-gained audience. And aside from a gameplay trailer that was revealed on Christmas eve of 2020, we’ve only had a couple of interviews conducted by Farket (Youtuber), and The Escapist Magazine in January 2021.
However cryptic the reveal trailer seemed, it gave us some great insight on Sons of the Forest. It begins with the player character in a helicopter, during what seemed like a calm before the storm situation. He’s checking out his tattoo that reads “Fight Demons,” perhaps he has an idea of what’s waiting for them. Then, his journey fell apart. A tree was literally thrown at the side of the helicopter, teasing at a new overpowered enemy. But a three-legged mutant female (which we will give further information) on later was the star of the trailer.
The trailer also showed us a couple of soldiers who were walking towards a cave entrance. One was wielding an axe, and the other a shotgun (thank god). It gave us hope for the return of multiplayer support. The trailer ended shortly after they ran into a bunch of creatures in the cave. The creatures had a strong resemblance to the cannibals of the original game.
Interviews with Farket
Months later, Farket (Youtuber), an avid player of The Forest, had a Q&A with the Sons of the Forest developers. Farket discussed everything that we could get out of the reveal trailer. They gave us more insight into Endnight’s upcoming masterpiece. They spoke of the new AI concept, how they utilized the latest unity engine for the game, steam workshop, how immersive will the new building system be? And most importantly, the possible release date.
Farket even went on and compared the indie developers to Howard Stark from the Marvel Universe. The current technology in hand seemed to be holding them back from their full potential as video game developers.
He also did a second Q&A with them after they released the official gameplay trailer. They discussed many more details regarding Sons of the Forest’s gameplay, development, setting, and characters. They also discussed whether or not they had issues working on the game during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Sons of the Forest – Gameplay trailer
A more revealing gameplay trailer came out by late 2020 (December, 24). It started by briefly finishing the helicopter crash from the first reveal, showing the soldiers struggling mid-crash. But then, the real fun followed. The trailer shows the player character staring at a large mountain covered in snow at a distance. And he carried a stuttering GPS device. Which could be taken as a hint at a larger map than the one in The Forest.
The gameplay trailer also showcased some of the new and fresh physics, like the improved tree cutting, the wind, the falling snow that covers a log carried by the player, the fog, and digging (yes! digging!) It also showcased some of the new AI, which looked astonishing to say the least. As a mutant resembling the female from the reveal trailer was peacefully waiting for you beside your home, a band of enemies were stalking you near your home, and another retreating enemy was backwardly crawling away from you.
The trailer also revealed some of the new weapons, like the handgun, the Taser and the modern crossbow. They did reveal more though, and we will go right into that, but first, let us talk about Endnight Games’ interview with the Escapist Magazine.
After congratulating them on their success with the previous game, the editor in chief of The Escapist asked them if that very success had rewarded them with any positive changes to the studio. And they did admit that while they have “stayed relatively small”, they did move into “nicer and bigger offices”. During the interview, they discussed many important aspects of the game, including the new AI tool that they’ve created, building and crafting, included themes in the game, multiplayer experience, the setting, the narrative style and more.
Sons of the Forest – plot and setting:
Endnight Games have been as cryptic and secretive as they could, regarding Sons of the Forest’s plot. But they did state that it is indeed going to be the sequel to The Forest. And as per the trailers, many speculate that the playable character will presumably be working for Sahara Therapeutics. The company that owns the peninsula on which the first game was set.
Speaking of which. That very island may not be the one that we’ll explore in Sons of the Forest. As an additional Sahara Laboratory, known as “Site 2” was teased in the ending cutscene of the prequel. You could see Timmy (playable character’s son) looking at a bulletin in his apartment. There was an island map on it, a location on its north-western peninsula is circled.
The first game had quite a rare narrative style. As it had little to no dialogue (except for cannibals’ humming), and even a lesser amount of cutscenes. Instead, the narrative in The Forest was a bit more direct than we usually discover in most games. Scripted moments tend to happen as you are still mid-gameplay, and you have to trigger them using puzzles, buttons, and more. Many did give this style quite a good reception, including both players and critics.
An Endnight developer stated that this game will be “an expansion of the visual storytelling” in The Forest. “There will be very little dialogue and a focus on players uncovering the story versus being forced to sit through long cut scenes”. Which makes you think that these guys really do listen to their fanbase.
Sons of the Forest – gameplay:
Endnight developers reassured us in their interview with The Escapist Magazine, that their main focus for the new game was the AI. They even went on and created a new AI tool called V.A.I.L. They said that this new tool allows them to create extremely complex behavior. Allowing their in-game characters to be tired, angry, hungry, thirsty, bored, etc. And these behaviors reportedly influence their decisions.
It really shows how much they’ve grown from a small indie studio ever since The Forest came out. And their success from that game is definitely earned. On that note, their effort on AI on that game itself was incredible. Complex behavior was shown throughout every single encounter. A single cannibal could stalk you behind the bushes. A whole group of 4-7 cannibals would hunt you or raid your home. A Virginia would also batter down your walls after noticing your home. They’ve already showcased some changes in the AI system. A cannibal was attempting to steal a log, and one cannibal was choking another. So, with that considered. What should we expect from Endnight, now that they’ve upped their game with this new tool?
Building and Crafting
Among the things that start out really interesting once you begin playing The Forest are the building and crafting systems. The building system in The Forest is known for its complexity and variety of options. It was a bit buggy for a while in early access, but those bugs were never reasons to call it bad. You always managed to find a way around those bugs to avoid error.
The building system is quite incredible. It allows you to modify your buildings (provided that you know your way around it) and transform an average base into a spectacular fortress.
Improvements over The Forest
With Sons of the Forest, however, Endnight were quite reassuring in their interviews, stating that they have augmented each and every system in the game, including the building system to make it “more satisfying and immersive”.
One thing that catches your attention in the gameplay trailer is digging. We couldn’t dig in the first game. And based on Endnight’s answer when Farket asked them about this new addition to the franchise, digging will be featured quite a lot in Sons of the Forest. Digging will reportedly help you find some underground bunkers, and craft some traps. Also, if Endnight deemed it fashionable, you will also be able to dig graves to bury your fallen enemies (or allies).
It seems that crafting is noticeably better than it was in the prequel. Based on the trailers and interviews, the crafting and building systems are more visual than ever. From cutting a single log to make a small bench, to reducing a wall’s height so that you could make a window or a smaller wall. But Endnight didn’t stop there, they have some new additions to the crafting options, such as new traps, lethal and non-lethal weapons, solar-powered utilities, and more. In addition to that, they’ve gone and made us a new crafting tool. A 3D printer by which you can build items in different colours, depending on the colour of the resins that you provide.
It is no rare thing to say that the combat system in The Forest was quite exceptional. It was affected by various elements in the game. You could craft weapons like clubs and spears and improve their stats by adding additional resources to them. You could find more advanced weapons as you progress further in the game like the Chainsaw, the Katana, and the Crossbow.
As for Sons of the Forest, however, some of the above could be changed or improved, especially seeing as they had already showcased some new weapons like guns in the trailers for the game. In addition to that, they promised an improvement in melee combat over the prequel, “with much more accurate collision on the weapons, better blood and damage effects and also smarter enemies”.
One element in The Forest that was a complete waste in the game is the “Sanity” system. It had no effect on gameplay. It only adds the option to build effigies if your sanity is lowered by killing, dismemberment, etc.
Endnight Games have confirmed on several occasions that Sons of the Forest will have “the full multiplayer experience on launch.” It is also showcased in the reveal trailer of the game. You can play along with 3 other players in the first game, as you all explore the peninsula, craft and build a base together, and beat the game. In addition to that, they promised some new features in the game. So, we will have to wait for further news or another trailer to find out.
Sons of the Forest – development:
The game is still in development. They released the prequel in its early-access stage and it received more support with constant updates for up to 5 years from the developers till its last update was released in September 2019. And the game already seems quite far into development. So, we don’t know if Endnight Games will release the game as a v1.0, or go the same direction as they did with its predecessor and release it in its early-access stage.
The Escapist Magazine asked the developers if they were going to support the game even further after its release, and they confirmed that they are planning to do so.
Covid-19 and other obstacles
Farket asked Endnight developers in their second Q&A together if the Covid-19 pandemic has had any influence on the development of the game. They did not hesitate to admit that they are “a pretty small team.” It actually helped them adjust to the on-going situation and made it easier for them to switch to working mostly remotely.
What to expect:
Many sites have already made predictions of the system requirements for Sons of the Forest. Endnight, however, did not make anything clear about the specifics of hardware that will be needed to run the game.
Farket asked them about the next trailer and sneak peeks. They said that they were getting close to showing new footage was. They did admit that they were hoping to do so much earlier, but “2020 has had its challenges”.
Playstation and VR support
It is a good presumption to say that Sons of the Forest will likely release on PS5. However, we are not sure if Playstation support will be on the game’s launch. As Endnight Games hadn’t confirmed any platforms other than PC so far. However, the previous game did not support Playstation or VR until four years after its launch.
Endnight announced May 7, 2013, and then they launched it in its early-access stage just a year later in May 30, 2014. As for Sons of the Forest itself, a 2021 release was teased at the end of the gameplay trailer. However, Endnight Games do not want to pre-maturely set a release date that they will not be able to commit to.
Games to play while you wait
Sons of the Forest is nearing its 2021 release. However, many survival horror lovers who played the first game are growing impatient while waiting for this much-anticipated game. All we could do now is either wait for further information on the game. But, other survival Horror titles that the fans try while they wait are Stranded Deep, Dying Light, Soma, and more. They are all worthy of your time while you wait for Sons of the Forest.