Wander is a non-combat, entirely uncompetitive, indeed collaborative CryEngine MMO about joy. Pah. Everybody knows games are about murder, and that joy is just something that occasionally rises out of the blood mist, if you’re lucky.
Mainlining the joy directly sounds like cheating – like admitting that happiness isn’t something everybody else has to die for. Luckily, there’s plenty pretty about this GDC trailer to distract from Wander’s central lunacy.
MMO players know how to deal with tree-people – the forest has been poisoned, and the only way to sort out the maddened ents is to drain the sap from them with swords, right? Only the tree in this trailer isn’t maddened – it’s enjoying a contemplative moment on the beach.
In fact, every player begins Wander as a giant tree. Strange storms above the game’s rainforest have left you that way, and will continue to influence events as you explore the greenery. You’re looking for a rare flower with the power to alter your path – and are guided by, ah, opera singers. Immersive sound design is a big part of Wander’s ethos.
The idea is that you’ll come across other players as you explore, and work with them to unlock new parts of the game and piece together the plot.
The landscape currently encompasses a 64-square km area, and players will explore it in five forms: tree, humanoid, griffon, sea creature and Tasmanian tiger.
The Wander team switched to the CryEngine FreeSDK in early February. It meant dropping Mac support, but new gains in memory, hardware demands and all-round beauty.
Wander will get a full release for PC and Linux in mid 2014 – but you can access its beta already via a tiered payment system. The lowest tier includes a copy of the game for £15.55 / $25. Are you tempted by its promise of non-pokey purpose?