Through the Woods blipped on my radar yesterday as I was cruising through Kickstarter looking for cool new games.
Usually I’m not one for horror games, simply because I don’t think it’s scary —nor fun— to play a quiet game in a poorly lit environment with loud noises being triggered every so often. That’s just annoying. But from what I’ve seen, read, and experienced of Through the Woods, it’s not shaping up to be a horror game by modern standards. It’s looking to go the extra mile to deliver an experience that fills the player with dread and despair, without fully relying on jumpscares for frights.
While they don’t say exactly what players can expect to be dreading in Through the Woods, Antagonist talks a lot about the importance of sound in the game, and the lengths they are going to to ensure that Through the Wood’s sound design is as memorable part of the gameplay experience as the frights are.
Antagonist explains that one of the key uses for sound in Through the Woods is for the player to determine the type of creatures that are roaming nearby. Some creatures can be scared away by shining the flashlight at them, others you’ll just need to run away from. With only a few seconds to react, the sounds of the game can make all the difference between life and death for the protagonist.
The protagonist’s name is Karen, by the way, and she’s out in the woods looking for her missing boy. She has a strong suspicion that “Old Erik” kidnapped him, but there’s no real evidence supporting her suspicions.
Through the Woods is a third-person game because Antagonist felt that a game taking place in first-person gives the player the impression that the game is about them, when their goal is to tell Karen’s story. By use of a removed narrative, Karen retells her story to an unknown man, as the player experiences it in real time. For example, in the demo, the game begins with Karen walking through the woods looking for her boy, and as she stumbles across clues she speaks of them to the person interviewing her.
It’s a really neat story-telling concept, and I’m looking forward to see how it plays out in the final version of the game.
The funding campaign is probably over by the time you’re reading this, but the game’s campaign page is still worth a look if you’re interested in learning more about the game.