If Sony’s PlayStation 4 lineup is anything to go by, 2016 will be the year games go to infinity. The headline grabber is No Man’s Sky, of course, but for those not keen on space travel, there’s another option that’s also crazily ambitious. Wild is many things—an adventure game, a survival game, a riding on the back of a bear and skidding his bum along the side of a mountain game—and, like No Man’s Sky, it’s a game of infinite exploration.
The idea, at least for now, is that players—taking on the role of a shaman—must simply survive. As day turns to night, the world of Wild becomes nasty, and those without shelter or means of protection will succumb to the animals that roam at night. How exactly players will build that protection is something of a mystery for now, although I’m told that climbings up trees is a good place to start. Indeed, much of how Wild will work still seems to be completely up in the air. Every explanation for how the game works is prefaced with the phrase “In the current build…”
But that’s not to detract from what is one of the most interesting and exciting games to have come along in years. Survival games aren’t all that rare these days—particularly for PC gamers—but one with the scope of Wild is. It’s a solo experience, but it’s also a multiplayer experience. The animals that roam the world might be AI characters, or they might other players who’ve channelled their own shaman’s spirit into the body of an animal to either help or hinder you on your journey.
You can do the same, of course. As shown in the Paris Games Week stage demo, the shaman can meditate, and take over an eagle’s body to swoop down from the sky and capture a snake. Or the shaman can summon a bear, clambering onto its back to traverse the world—complete with an amusing bum-sliding animation—or use its strength to fight enemies. There are no swords or weapons (again, at least in the current build) or anything other than animals that can help you survive.