|Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest|
|Series||Werewolf: The Apocalypse|
|Release||October 13, 2020|
|Genre(s)||Visual novel, role-playing|
- I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I started Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart Of The Forest (WtA:HotF). I’ve played both the World of Darkness (WoD) tabletop games and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, I’m familiar with the general lore and the setting of the IP, but I was going in to Werewolf blind.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse Will Take Us Deep Into Ancient Polish Wilderness. News 24 July 2020 22:24. We learned the first details about Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest. According to the information provided by the devs, the title will take us to the Bialowieza Forest in Poland, whose secrets we will learn in the course of our adventure.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Heart of the Forest throws you deep into a primeval wilderness in the center of modern Europe. It’s where the protectors of nature wage their ancient, neverending war against the forces of destruction. You play as Maia, who comes to Poland hoping to trace her family roots.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Heart of the Forest throws you deep into a primeval wilderness in the center of modern Europe. It’s where the protectors of nature wage their ancient, neverending war against the forces of destruction. Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest is a beautifully written, deep, and balanced experience. It’s tailored for World of Darkness veterans and newcomers looking for an accessible entry into this rich, acclaimed universe. They teach you to fear rather than to be angry, but fear solves nothing.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest is a visual novelrole-playing video game developed by Different Tales and published by Walkabout Games, released on October 13, 2020 for Linux, MacOS, and Microsoft Windows. It is based on White Wolf Publishing's tabletop role-playing gameWerewolf: The Apocalypse, and is part of the larger World of Darkness series.
The player takes the role of Maia Boroditch, an American woman of Polish descent, who has recurring nightmares about a forest and wolves, and travels to Białowieża in Poland to learn about her family history and the primevalBiałowieża Forest. The gameplay is text-based, and consists of reading narration while making decisions that affect the story's direction and Maia's personality. Actions consume rage and willpower resources, and affect what actions can be performed in the future.
The game is designed by Jacek Brzeziński and Artur Ganszyniec, and is themed around anger and activism in times of climate change and ecological disasters, portrayed through werewolf myths, and taking influence from Polish werewolf legends. The writing team, consisting of Ganszyniec, Marta Malinowska, and Joanna Wołyńska-Ganszyniec, began scriptwriting with creating Maia; they chose to create a female protagonist to go against the trend of women in horror stories being either helpless or femme fatales. Preview impressions of the game were positive, citing its atmosphere and immersion, its art style, and the weight of player choices.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest is a visual novelrole-playing game with tabletop role-playing game-style mechanics. The gameplay is text based, and has the player read narration accompanied by audio and illustrations. The player can move to different locations by selecting them on a map.
Throughout the game, the player makes decisions that affect the player character's personality and goal, how other characters feel about her, the direction of the narrative, and what actions can be performed in different situations. Performing actions consumes two resources – rage, which allows the player to be brazen, direct and proactive, but possibly less open and empathetic, and willpower, which allows the player to make hard choices – meaning that the player must decide what moments are worth spending them on. Willpower is regained by taking steps toward the player character's goal, which is chosen by the player in the beginning of the game. The player character's personality, her health, and the condition of her mind and body are updated on an in-game character sheet.
In addition to affecting character statistics like spirituality and cunning, the player's choices end up assigning their character one of five auspices based on lunar phases, shaping what kind of person she is within the Garou werewolf society and what abilities she will have: the new moon is related to stealth and trickery; the crescent moon is related to spirituality; the half moon is related to balance and wise decision-making; the gibbous moon is related to story-telling and lore-keeping; and the full moon is related to viciousness and being a spirit warrior.
The story is set in Poland, in the World of Darkness, and has the player take the role of Maia Boroditch, a 24-year-old American woman of Polish descent. She has recurring nightmares of a forest, wolves, and blood, and feels a connection to the forest that drives her to travel to Białowieża in Poland to learn about her family history. There, she meets the guide Daniel, fellow student Anya, and the local resident Bartek, and explores the Białowieża Forest, one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe, visiting sacred spots including an ancient burial site, an abandoned wolf den, and a ceremonial place of power.
Heart of the Forest was developed by Different Tales and published by Walkabout Games, and designed by Jacek Brzeziński and Artur Ganszyniec, who previously directed and wrote The Witcher. The writing team included Ganszyniec, Marta Malinowska, and Joanna Wołyńska-Ganszyniec, and the game's audio was directed by Brzeziński, with ambient tracks composed by Przemek Moszczyński, and melodic tracks by Robert Purzycki; the soundtrack also includes the song 'Vaukalak' by the Belarusian music group Irdorath. The visuals, which include a mix of edited photographs, paintings, and illustrations, were created by Ireneusz Konior, Rafał Kucharczuk, Monika Lipińska, Magdalena Pankiewicz, and Waldemar Zdziebko.
Adapting White Wolf Publishing's tabletop role-playing game Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the game was designed to adapt the experience of playing the tabletop role-playing game, with the game serving as the gamemaster guiding the player; it is however designed both with fans of the series and those new to it in mind. The game is themed around anger, activism and 'savage resistance' in times of climate change and ecological disasters, portrayed through werewolf myths, and explores how rage can get things done. The Polish setting, which is entirely based on real-world locations in Poland, was decided on to emphasize the 'world' in World of Darkness, showing that all parts of the world are reflected in the series' setting, not just the United States; the setting was also chosen as the developers saw the deforestation in Białowieża as something thematically appropriate to discuss in a Werewolf: The Apocalypse adaptation. Also matching the Polish setting, the game takes influence from Polish werewolf legends.
Scriptwriting began with the creation of Maia as a character. The developers knew from the start that they wanted to write a game with a female protagonist, to go against the trend of women in horror stories being relegated to damsel in distress and femme fatale types of roles, and show that it is a universal type of story that does not rely on characters having a certain gender. This choice was also in part made because most of the writers on the development team are women.
The game was announced in June 2020 with a teaser trailer during the Future Games Show, and was released on October 13, 2020 for Linux, MacOS, and Microsoft Windows.
The game was well received by both players and critics.
Werewolf The Apocalypse Forms
Preview impressions were positive, praising its atmosphere, immersive writing, art style, and the weight of the player's choices.Comic Book Resources liked how the game is set outside of the United States, a common setting for World of Darkness stories.
- ^ abcdefghijkWald, Heather (2020-07-24). 'Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest is a dark origin story with a supernatural twist that you shape'. GamesRadar+. Future US. Archived from the original on 2020-07-24. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
- ^ abcdefgHetfeld, Malindy (2020-07-24). 'Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest is an RPG with tabletop mechanics, coming 'Q4 2020''. PC Gamer. Future US. Archived from the original on 2020-07-24. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
- ^ abcdefgCaicoya, Bea (2020-07-27). 'Everything We Know about Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest'. Comic Book Resources. Valnet, Inc. Archived from the original on 2020-07-28. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
- ^ abGonzálvez, Marco (2020-07-26). 'Impresiones de Werewolf: the Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest para PC'. IGN (in Spanish). Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 2020-07-27. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
- ^ abCastagnola, Stefano (2020-07-24). 'Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest, una nuova visual basata sul Mondo di Tenebra'. IGN (in Italian). Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 2020-07-25. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
- ^San Simón, Jaime (2020-07-24). 'Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest saldrá en el Q4 de 2020'. Eurogamer (in Spanish). Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 2020-07-25. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
- ^'Check out some of the cool indie games in GDC Summer's Indie Showcase!'. Gamasutra. Informa. 2020-07-21. Archived from the original on 2020-07-23. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
- ^Nelipa, Svetlana (2020-10-13). 'В Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Heart of the Forest включили белорусскую песню'. Igromania (in Russian). Igromedia. Archived from the original on 2020-10-13. Retrieved 2020-10-13.
- ^Sheehan, Gavin (2020-07-26). 'Walkabout Announces Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart Of The Forest'. Bleeding Cool. Avatar Press. Archived from the original on 2020-07-27. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
- ^ abClayton, Natalie (2020-06-14). 'Ex-Witcher devs announce Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart Of The Forest'. Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 2020-07-09. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
- ^ abCaicoya, Bea (2020-07-22). 'Every New World of Darkness Project, From Video Games to Comics'. Comic Book Resources. Valnet, Inc. Archived from the original on 2020-07-23. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
- ^Wilson, Mike (2020-08-20). 'New Dev Diary For 'Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of The Forest' Explores Polish Origins [Video]'. Bloody Disgusting. Archived from the original on 2020-08-22. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
- ^Nelipa, Svetlana (2020-10-01). 'Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Heart of the Forest выходит 13 октября'. Igromania (in Russian). Igromedia. Archived from the original on 2020-10-01. Retrieved 2020-10-01.
- ^ ab'Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest for PC Reviews'. Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
- ^Bischoff, Jens (2020-10-14). 'Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest: Der Wald ruft' [Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest: The forest is calling]. 4Players (in German). Computec. Archived from the original on 2020-10-14. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
In our preview for Werewolf: The Apocalypse- Heart of the Forest, I talked about the sudden demand for the Werewolf IP in the video game spectrum, how it tackles environmental issues, and my love for the WoD setting. After finally playing through the full game the past week, I’m glad that Different Tales was given the chance to make this reactive visual novel as it provided for a short but very enjoyable experience that tackles the real-life issue of the degradation of natural resources due to anthropogenic activities.
You play as 24-year old Maia Boroditch who is plagued by ominous dreams and traveling to a remote village in Poland to discover her bloodline’s dark past. For reasons unknown, she is drawn to Puszcza Białowieska, one of the last primeval forests in Europe is situated just outside the village. Most of the plot revolves around Maia exploring the various locales in and out of the village to find out more about her family while also taking part in the environmental protests surrounding the forest that’s gaining steam rapidly. Sooner than later, Maia discovers that she doesn’t come from your typical European family. What follows is a series of events that will shape her destiny as well as the fate of the Białowieża forest.
For a visual novel based on the WoD, Heart of the Forest nails the writing and atmosphere while tackling larger real-life issues in a meaningful manner that you don’t see much in games of this genre. The story is highly reactive, meaning that your choices have the gravitas to drive the narrative in different directions to make for a highly replayable experience. Sure, the characters aren’t really that memorable – but the real star is the Puszcza forest and the emotional synchronicity between nature and the Garou. Throughout the journey, players will get the chance to shape the personality and Auspice of Maia as well as the direction of the protests. The first hour of the game is easily the best, as it seamlessly transports the player to the eerie European countryside as well as introducing the ecological themes without coming across as a blatant political statement. The final sections of the game do feel a bit rushed and each playthrough clocks in under 3 hours. But, the branching storyline and permutations sort of make up for it. I also appreciate how noob-friendly the game is for newcomers to the Werwolf setting thanks to the context-sensitive glossary.
Complementing the narrative of Heart of the Forest is the superb audio-visual presentation. Each frame is presented to the player in the backgrounds of highly detailed abstract art on which consequent scenes are superimposed. It’s backed up by high-quality ambient sound effects and ominous music. Kudos to the art team and the sound designer for making each frame carry the mystic qualities of the source material. It’s easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing visual novellas I’ve ever played. I’ll let some pictures do the talking.
Since it’s based on a tabletop RPG, Heart of the Forest does try to incorporate elements from the source material in its choice-driven narrative. Rage, Willpower, and Health are the three main resources in the game – represented in the form of individual bars. The higher your Rage, the less empathetic you become and give in to your primal feelings. Willpower is the exact opposite – helping you keep your urges in check, as well as thinking rationally. Dialogue options give the player chance to spend or gain these resources. Complementing these are Personality Assessment skills such as Brave, Inspiring, Analytical, Spiritual, and Cunning. Each decision you make in the game affects the two attributes. as well as the proficiency of your skills – ultimately leading to the formation of specific character archetypes aka auspices, which determine the ways you can approach any character, obstacle, or situation.
There are also other reactive elements in the game such as your goals as well as your relationship status with various NPCs and the forces of nature. However, the main drawback here is that there are so many of these crammed into the criminally short campaign that the checks do not come up as often as you’d like. Furthermore, dialogue options do not telegraph Personality Assessment point gains effectively. It becomes a matter of choosing a dialogue option you like and seeing whether it gives you a point in the respective skill or not. Another complaint I have is more of a subjective nitpick – I wish there were more werewolf segments in the game. I don’t expect it to be a power fantasy at all, but seeing how you can choose from different Gaoru forms at one point makes me think that more could have been done with it. The story comes to a halt when things start to get really interesting as the game comes across as the first chapter in an episodic series. I hope Different Tales release a DLC that continues Maia’s adventures in the future.
Werewolf Heart Of The Forest
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest is a short experience backed by high replayability and stellar audio-visual design. Don’t go in expecting a werewolf power fantasy and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The game instead tackles environmentalist themes by using Werewolf lore in an effective and thoughtful manner. I really hope Different Tales follows this one up with an even better Werewolf game.