While Wild will never tell you to go anywhere, or do a particular thing (there isn’t even a HUD), its survival systems are geared towards pushing you to interact with animals, and making them your allies. At the start of the game, this is easier said than done. With no allies to start with, you’re left hunting smaller animals, or those that are easier to catch, like a frog or a rabbit. And when caught, they must be brought to an oft-guarded divinity stone, where the animal god (a snake in the stage demo) will set a task before you can summon their power.
But I suspect the camps will stick around. If nothing else, needing to discover camps and shelters will encourage exploration, and in a game where “everything” can be explored, keeping people interested is just as important as giving them a vast world to explore. And if you’re wondering how a tiny studio like Wild Sheep is making a seemingly infinite game—even with the backing of the legendary Rayman creator Michel Ancel—look no further than procedural generation, or least something very similar.
“The tech means that the game is actually infinite,” explained Ancel, “but infinity can be very boring. The world is made up of a lot of different technologies, so you could say that [it’s procedurally generated]. I will say that, as a developer, we are helped by the technology to create a game world without spending time creating every single piece of grass, so there is a big system in place helping to create things. It’s a balance between homemade things, and generated things. But yes, we use a tool to generate the world in real-time.”
I wonder whether—after we’ve all tried to survive yet another night in Wild Game torrents, or explore our 10,000th planet in No Man’s Sky—infinity will be quite as appealing. Maybe, by the end of 2016, we’ll be clamouring for a good ol’ fashioned scripted campaign. Or maybe, just maybe, Wild will keep us interested. It has the tech, it has the ideas, and it’s just weird enough that it might actually work… “in the current build” at least.