Sons of the Forest is the highly anticipated follow up to Endnight Games’ breakout 2014 survival horror hit. Transplanting players into beautiful, dense forestry and forcing them to gather resources, build bases, and use their wits to survive the hordes of hostile mutants was a winning formula Endnight look to be replicating for this upcoming sequel. At the outset, Sons of the Forest looks like more of the same – beautiful woodland, base building, mutant enemies, et cetera. However, Endnight Games have refined almost every aspect of The Forest; Sons of the Forest will feature more in-depth building and crafting mechanics, plus new, more complex enemies.
Sons of the Forest map 4x bigger
Perhaps contributing to Sons of the Forest’s numerous delays is Endnight Games over-reaching ambition for the sequel, demonstrated none more so than in its staggering map size. Reportedly four times the size of its predecessor, Sons of the Forest’s open world features familiar climbs of dense vegetation and rocky beachheads and will be 100% explorable from the off, reflecting the vast scope Endnight is putting into this sequel.
Launching with co-op capability
Unlike The Forest, this upcoming sequel will launch with co-op capability already available instead of being added later. Scanning and scavenging the game’s vast island in teams will add an extra dimension as you all come to rely on each other for survival. After all, sticking together is key to staying alive in this beautiful, hostile world.
Only four player co-op confirmed
So, currently Endnight Games have confirmed co-operative multiplayer mode will only be available for up to four-player at launch. There’s no word yet on whether Sons of the Forest will feature eight-player co-op like its predecessor later down the line. Multiplayer mode in The Forest was a big hit with up to eight players fighting for survival in a single session. Here’s hoping the capability for more than four players is introduced in Sons of the Forest.
Sons of the Forest will feature an AI companion
For those who won’t be diving into Sons of the Forest with friends there is the opportunity to play with an AI companion who’ll tag along to help with the less glamourous tasks associated with base building. Named Kelvin, this AI companion is said to be an elite soldier who’s suffered severe head trauma. As such, he can’t speak but will happily take commands from the player who can instruct him to carry out repetitive busywork such as chopping down trees and gathering logs.
New AI system
Another headline innovation for Sons of the Forest is its much-improved AI system for friends and enemies. Thanks to a new tool dubbed by Endnight as ‘V.A.I.L.’, AI in Sons of the Forest will be much more reactive to player actions, with NPC’s and enemy factions alike able to display complex behaviours – from showing fear, anger, or frustration and their ability for those emotions to affect decision making, right the way through to enemies being able to launch sabotage missions and co-ordinated attacks on the player’s base.
New enemy and cannibal types
Alongside improvements to AI, Sons of the Forest comes stuffed with a raft of hostile new enemies, including – of course – more cannibals, most of whom will stop at nothing to eat the player. Regular cannibals are spread throughout the game’s vast island environment; glimpses in the game’s reveal footage shows a regular cannibal retreating at the sight of the player holding up the skull of its slain brethren. But there’re cannibals unique to the environments in which they reside too such as cave-dwelling cannibals. Allegedly the most hostile cannibals in the sequel will be the masked cannibals, who’ll show brutality not only to the player but other cannibals too.
New mutant types
Sons of the Forest also comes with upgraded mutant enemies too; we’re treated to sights of conjoined mutants, stretched-mouthed mutants, and blob-like mutants in the game’s trailer footage. There’s also the sight of the tri-legged mutant from the first game – a twist which Endnight describe as a mutant that’s neither hostile nor friendly, but they can be scared away or manipulated into sticking around for unique interactions.
Enhancing immersion in Sons of the Forest’s environment is its dynamic weather system with changeable seasons. In a survival-centric video game changing weather can have potentially drastic effects on whether the player lives or dies – snowy winters could make sourcing food via hunting a drag, for instance. Players will need to make the most of the fertile summer months as once reliable food sources dry up, they’ll need to stockpile, running the risk of enemies sneaking into camp to steal vital food supplies.
Overhauled building mechanics
Base building is still going to be the core focus in Sons of the Forest, and for this sequel the building mechanics have received a significant overhaul. Gone is the ghosted outline of a structure ready for placement, and instead a much more organic, creative process. Building blocks can be placed wherever the eye sees fit, with the player have more say on intricate details, for example players will be able to carve out windows themselves or sharpening pointed fences.
New digging mechanic
During an announcement trailer for Sons of the Forest, a shovel can be seen mounted to the wall of a helicopter. Since that trailer’s reveal, Endnight Games have confirmed shovels and thus digging will play a part in Sons of the Forest. Unlike its predecessor, which didn’t feature any diggable ground at all, Sons of the Forest will give players opportunity to dig for cool and interesting stuff – from buried resources to hidden bunkers, the shovel will play an important part. It’s also possible digging will expand a player’s building capability, benefit certain traps, or even bury bodies.
New crafting mechanic
Crafting has received an overhaul for Sons of the Forest too, most notably in the new 3D printer. The implications for such a sophisticated piece of technology are far-reaching, from printing elaborate items and customised gear from resources scavenged across the island. There’s already evidence of the 3D printer being put to good use in the game’s trailer, with the printer crafting a replica cannibal mask that can be used to infiltrate a cannibal stronghold.
Weaponry in The Forest comprised mostly melee items, although spears, bows, and a handful of projectiles also featured. Combat in Sons of the Forest is still said to centre mostly on melee but for the sequel guns will feature a lot more; guns such as pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Of course, with this being survival horror, ammo will be scarce so it’ll be up to the player whether bullets should be used only in life-or-death situations.
Huge graphical improvement
What is immediately apparent with Sons of the Forest is the graphical update. Now, The Forest was a good-looking game anyway despite a lacklustre attention to detail, but the sequel blows its predecessor’s looks out of the water. Endnight Games have created a much more intricately detailed world rivalling AAA titles.
Sanity system dropped
The Forest featured a sanity system whereby certain actions raised or lowered the player’s sanity. Eating fresh organic food, chilling whilst listening to music, or sleeping raised sanity, whilst chopping limbs and feasting on human remains lowered it. The system wasn’t deeply entrenched in The Forest’s gameplay loop though; indeed, the only discernible effect was on the ability to build effigies. Endnight Games clearly had plans for sanity to have direct consequences on gameplay at some stage, but alas, it has been dropped for the sequel as they’ve confirmed they couldn’t find a satisfying way to integrate it into the game’s survival horror gameplay.
Launching as PC exclusive
The Forest is currently available to play on PC and PlayStation. Whether Sons of the Forest makes it onto consoles is still in question, for right now the game will launch to PC only. Endnight Games are showing plenty of ambition with this sequel, so it seems reasonable to think it’ll land on consoles at some point.