Michel Ancel, the guy who brought Rayman into this world, has now brought his world to us. During Paris Games Week, Ancel was on hand to give gamers a much closer look at his newest endeavor, WiLD, after having left players wanting for more last year at Gamescom 2014.
WiLD appears just that. Its main emphasis is on open-ended gameplay in a vast world just begging for the player to explore and experience however they wish. The demonstration given by Michel showed a stunningly beautiful world marked by impressive vistas, vibrant with life, color and danger.
Muhammed Ali once said, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” In this game, you may be able to do both. As a young Shaman, male or female, living in Ancel’s untamed, WiLD world players will be able to assume control of the animals they encounter, bending them to their will, be for good, bad or otherwise. Riding a horse for faster transit, scouting the camp of ominous looking tribe with a rabbit or soaring above it all as an eagle are all possible in this ambitious new title from Wild Sheep Studio.
Taming an animal, and later controlling it, will require patience and tenacity of varying degrees depending on how dangerous the animal is. Bears, for example, can easily ruin your day, while frogs might make you jump for joy (no word yet on what happens if a female shaman kisses one though). Ancel himself said, “For hours and hours at the beginning of the game, you will be killed by the bears.” One might also have to summon the deity who represents these animals and perform certain task(s) in return for dominion over, or knowledge of, their cherished subjects.
Multiplayer was not a part of the demonstration in Paris, unfortunately. In a decision faintly reminiscent of the Willpower (magic) system in Fable, with each new animal under his or her control a player’s character will display a new tattoo, letting others know how experienced, or inexperienced, they are. Mr. Ancel has also made it clear he wants to incorporate some of the features displayed in Bloodborne’s multiplayer. A player can invite others into his world for assistance or cooperation, but hostile players can also enter your territory, perhaps disguised as a non-threatening animal, transform into something more deadly and ambush your shaman. In this game, you never know what Mother Nature has up her sleeve.
No release date has been given at this point, so those of you who simply can’t wait to ride a bear across the green fields of what looks to be Neolithic Europe will just have to wait. Ancel said in the gameplay walkthrough on YouTube, “Inspiration for WiLD really comes from my childhood. I was spending a lot of time in the wild, nature.”
While it’s great that his inspiration has obviously translated into passion for both him and his team at Wild Sheep Studios, we can only hope that his childhood memories are both fond and innocent, otherwise gamers are in for one hell of a WiLD ride.
WiLD gameplay walkthrough with narration by Michel Ancel and studio team members.