When Cliqist covered Shape of the World back in the halcyon days of 2015 – back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and prehistoric humanity had to contend with just seven Fast and the Furious movies – we praised its “gorgeous vistas”, “beautiful abstraction”, and invited you to keep up with the project’s Kickstarter. The campaign for Hollow Tree Games‘s relax-ploration sim was an ambitious one, but the crowds came, saw, and indeed funded. The final tally for the game was an impressive CA$ 79, 367. Backers showed their love, and everything was looking shipshape for Shape of the World.
Judging by frustrated comments from backers, Hollow Tree were fairly lackluster over the course of this year in terms of Kickstarter transparency. Finally, in mid August, supporters of Shape of the World got the news they’d been waiting for.
“The big news is that we’re celebrating my new partnership with Plug In Digital and Seaven Studio who are helping me port the game to Steam, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. With this announcement comes a more realistic release date: Early 2018. This one’s for real! Thanks for your patience, folks.”
This update also included a shiny new trailer, which you can view below:
Which, of course, was followed by a series of regular updates which completely satisfied backers, and not a single negative word about Shape of the World was ever uttered again.
Bent out of shape
Radio silence persisted for a few months, until the face behind the game – Gears of War VFX artist Stu Maxwell – created a TIG devlog on November 18th. It’s not clear why backers weren’t officially updated via Kickstarter, but the devlog was a repository of previously released information regarding Shape of the World.
Promising “an organic and mysterious ecosystem” to explore, player actions will alter the procedurally-populated environment. A dynamic score that changes with the visuals will, according to the Dev, “match your psychic journey and completely immerse you in the world”. A world said to be inhabited by “curious creatures, ephemeral flora, and grand monoliths”.
Maxwell was again silent for a few weeks, until the announcement came that he’d be demoing Shape of the World at PSX 2017.
Not a ton of coverage is currently available, but the site Handsome Phantom caught up with Maxwell for an interview and some gameplay footage, which can be found below:
In the interview, Maxwell lays out the design ethos behind the game, saying
“It’s that relaxing experience that you’re sort of looking for after work. I always want to play games after, like, a super-busy day, but I know that it’s going to take a lot of investment.”
Maxwell goes on to say that he was inspired by playing Flower with his non-gaming friends.
“They didn’t have to be good at games. It was fairly simple to play, but super enjoyable”
The designer is hoping to provide some joy, colour and relaxation into the gaming landscape, as an alternative to hyper-violent and grey experiences. From what we’ve seen so far, the title certainly has a unique and peaceful ambiance.
Shaping up nicely
So far, an unspecified 2018 release date is expected. As part of the same devlog post in which the PSX showing was announced, Stu Maxwell said that the team would:
“Pull together a postmortem on what we did right and what we could have done better, post show. While I’ve done some more general shows before it will be interesting to see just how much traction the PSX gets for smaller more experimental games like Shape of the World.”
So there you have it. We’ll be keeping you all updated with any new information on the game. For now, Shape of the World looks like it’s finally taking shape.
Of the world.
Because that’s the name of the game, see?
Hey, you like Zelda? Here’s a game like Zelda.