MMORPGs seem to be a dime a dozen these days. But how many dungeons will you crawl through with your friends, and how many goblins armies will you vanquish before you get that itch to try something new? Well luckily for us, we now have Wander to look forward to: an inspiring achievement in gaming which promises to be a non-combat, non-competitive MMORPG that’s focused on the cooperative exploration of a mysterious island.
In the world of Wander, life begins as a tree, and it continues to evolve as you explore the vast and dazzling rainforest world. When the adventure begins, there is an incoming storm gathering on the horizon, and your character can be transformed by these weather conditions once they hit the coast of your home. You can also alter your overall course in the game by finding rare flowers which grant special powers and other attributes. As players work together with others online, they can discover new secrets, solve environmental puzzles, and slowly piece together the game’s mystical plot. The gameplay varies from completing main story quests, to testing your skills in swimming, flying, and climbing challenges, to just taking in the many sights and sounds.
The premise of Wander is extremely unique in a world of fast-paced competitive multiplayer experiences, and the game’s designer Loki Davison gives us some further insights on why this kind of MMORPG has been greatly needed: “We think that post-apocalyptic shooters and 2D puzzle games are great, but a game in which people can collaboratively explore and appreciate beauty together is a significant game, and one that is missing from the current gaming landscape.” Team members working on Wander have also been a part of such wide-eyed indie adventures as Dear Esther, so if anyone knows how to truly capture the full immersion effect of a game world, it’s definitely them.
Some early alpha footage of the game-in-progress shows the seamless transitions between each one of the different creatures that you can play as in Wander: the majestic griffon flying through shimmering rings over the island’s coastline; a shadowy water dragon patrolling the depths of the sea; and a tiny wood elf wandering through the jungle clearing. But my favorite aspect of the game so far is the eerie tree-like forest creatures, which are both frightening and absolutely captivating to stare at as they scamper through the island scenery on their rickety branches.
Wander is currently seeking approval on Steam’s Greenlight program, and is set for release on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms on July 19, 2013 during PAX Australia. You can also contribute to the game’s Indiegogo campaign, if you want to help Wander become even more mesmerizing. I know I’ll be definitely checking this one out, so maybe you and I will cross paths again as fellow spooky tree people in the forest this summer!
Greenlight Spotlight is a featured series on Gamezebo that profiles Steam Greenlight candidates that deserve your vote. We’re doing this in the hopes of calling attention to interesting projects that would benefit from distribution on Steam, so please, if a game looks like something you’d want to play, don’t hesitate to lend it your support!