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A lot of times video game fans play games based on movies, games based on toys, and games based on comic books. However, it's really rare to have a game based on a novel -- especially an older novel like Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Well, for the guys and gals at Game Innovation Lab, creating a video game based on Henry David Thoreau's work has been a passion project for the last decade.
In a post over on the PlayStation Blog, game director Tracy Fullerton explained that Game Innovation Lab has been tirelessly slaving away at perfecting every nook and cranny in Walden, A Game in order to bring the novel to life within the realm of interactive entertainment. What's more? This project will actually see the light of day soon on the PlayStation 4.
So how do you turn a novel into a game if it isn't strictly going to be a visual novel? Well, that was part of the challenge that Game Innovation Lab had to overcome, by getting innovative and creative with the way gamers interact with the game world and play out the elements from Henry David Thoreau's written work.
Essentially, it maintains the tenets of the book by focusing on living out life in the woods, covering the basic elements of survival; keeping yourself fed and staying warm at night. You'll be placed in the role of a very young Henry Thoreau, finding fuel to stay warm, building a shelter to stay housed, and hunting down food to stay fed.
But it's not just another survival game. One of the things the developers are doing differently with Walden, A Game compared to other survival games out there -- such as DayZ or Rust -- is that you'll also have to contend with all-new challenges that come with seasonal changes. That's right, the game starts players off during the summer, and those players will have to change and adapt your ways to the different seasons. Obviously, summer is easy, fall becomes a little more difficult, but winter is where the real difficulty comes into play, given there are fewer animals to hunt, fewer amounts of food to gather, and it's harder to stay warm.
Regardless, it's not just about capturing the mechanical aspects of surviving within the framework of a game based on Thoreau's work. The developers also wanted to capture the aesthetics depicted within the book, and they did so by sending audio teams to Walden Pond to capture natural sounds from the surrounding area to use within the game, as well as photographs for reference material in order to build out the environment around the real life location.
What's more is that the object of the game isn't just to survive, but also to fulfill a quest for inspiration. So you'll have to delve deep into the open-world sandbox in order to find "inspiration." The developers don't really explain how inspiration is found, but there will be traditional narrative quests as well to help fill out the gameplay direction.
Many PS4 owners are excited about the possibilities of Walden, A Game, and a few asked about possible PlayStation VR support to help bring the immersion to life. The description reminds me a lot of Everybody's Gone To The Rapture, but we'll likely learn more about the game and get some gameplay footage closer toward release.