Forest of Sleep

An experimental storytelling/adventure game inspired by Eastern European fairytales

Ed Key and Nicolai Troshinsky are excited to announce Forest of Sleep, an experimental storytelling/adventure game inspired by Eastern European fairytales.

You guide a group of three children through a forest, travelling between kingdoms and landmarks, helping strange people with peculiar requests, and sitting down to sing around a campfire in the dark woods.

Playful interactions with characters and objects lead to reactively-generated stories - ambiguous but with a strong sense of pacing, coherency and drama. The game features no text and relies on a cinematic language to suggest and communicate situations and relationships.

Characters, locations and interactions range from the magical to the mundane with absurd fairytale logic that forms patterns in response to your choices.

We’re drawing on influences from late-20th century eastern european traditions of illustration and animation - in particular the work of Janusz Stanny, Stepan Zavrel and Yuri Norshteyn - using hand-made pieces combined procedurally in code to create rich, tangled scenes and strange characters.

There’s a simple resource management system involved in travelling around the map, but rather than being a do-or-die mechanic, this is more about creating a rhythm to the journeys and steering you through the possibility space of the story. You’ll want to do well, but depending on the situation, passing out from hunger is more likely to be an excuse for the game to move the story forward in a new way rather than a simple “game over”.

The story system that will tie the game together is still at an early stage, but the aim is to combine ideas of plot structure and pacing with emergent associations to create playable “dynamically improvised” short stories with recurring characters and motifs. Using a cinematic language of juxtaposition, framing and “skipping the action”, we’re hoping that the game can show you just enough so that a fun part of playing is filling in the gaps with your own interpretation. We think we know what we’re doing. We’ll see …

We’ve been working on the game on-and-off since mid-2014 and we’re aiming to release on PCs and tablets in late 2016.

Further collaborators to be announced.

Twisted Tree Games is the label for games developed and published by Ed Key and co-creators. Ed's previous game was Proteus (with David Kanaga and the Twisted Tree logo is by Dick Hogg.

We’ll have more details in the months to come.

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