- Developer: Twisted Tree
- Publisher: tbc
- Based in Cumbria, UK
- Release date: tbc
- Platforms: PC / Mac / Linux, others tbc (aiming for tablet version)
- Website: forestofsleep.com
- Regular Price: tbc
Forest of Sleep is a procedurally generated graphical storytelling game, inspired by Eastern European folktales, beautifully hand-illustrated and animated, with a specially commissioned dynamic soundtrack of folk music from the region.
The game begins with children telling stories around a campfire. In the morning they find they have woken into their fantasy world. They set out on an adventure, but things do not always go as planned!
The unique aim of Forest of Sleep is to combine centuries-old ideas of plot, structure and character with frameworks for procedurally generated stories. Through playing the game, players create their own folktale adventure; delightfully animated, beautifully soundtracked, and carefully and engagingly paced.
Throughout the process of making the game, producer Hannah Nicklin has been undergoing interviews with the team to help explore and explain the different approaches each team member brings to the game, and how our thinking has changed as time has gone by. You can read the following:
- A Hawk and a Hacksaw on how they worked on the music
- Martin Kvale on the sound design
- Hannah Nicklin on the social history of storytelling, and how Forest of Sleep falls into this tradition.
Forest of Sleep is born out of a central collaboration between Ed and Nicolai Troshinsky, who have built a team around them, all of whom influence the design and development of the game. Forest of Sleep didn’t really come alive in its current form until Ed began to bounce ideas back and forth with Nicolai, grappling with the question of procedural generation in stories. Initially, he and Nicolai kept talking about ‘a roguelike in a forest’:
“We were talking about making a kind of game where you go through several encounters, it was a very glib description of it, but that was our thinking: a roguelike in a forest. Then there was some point at which Nicolai and I started talking about generating stories.” ~ Ed
This shift happened gradually over 2015, made up of design discussions, mockups, useful disagreements and several conceptual iterations until they reached a common and agreed upon understanding of what they were setting out to make. Something that Ed says is “more complicated but hopefully also more interesting than the original idea”. As the idea grew between Nicolai and Ed, it became more about stories, and creating a reflective space to play in, to create your own connections and meanings for things.
“That’s a question for procedurally generated content: how does it come to mean something for someone playing? This is a philosophical rabbit hole that I’m quite obsessed with: “how does meaning arise from partial randomness inside a system?” ~ Ed
It’s important to state, however, that at the heart of the Story System in Forest of Sleep isn’t an intention to replicate a human storyteller, but rather to make an instrument that the player plays with. We don’t want to build a game that can make up a story in the same way a human can, but rather to explore the player’s storytelling instincts through a system that allows story and meaning to emerge.
- Ed Key – Co-Designer, Developer
- Nicolai Troshinsky – Co-Designer, Art and Animation
- Hannah Nicklin – Creative Producer
- Chris Butler – Developer
- Martin Kvale – Sound Design
- Joonas Turner – Sound Effects
- A Hawk and a Hacksaw (Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost) – Music
- Aubrey Hesselgren – Additional Development
- Kerry Turner – Consultancy
Forest of Sleep is in part supported by a grant from the UK Games Fund.
Awards & Recognition
- Now Play This 2015
- Gamecity 2015
- Fantastic Arcade 2015
Request Press Code
We will put a system in place for press codes closer to launch, in the meantime, email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions/want to be put on our Press & PR list.
About Twisted Tree
Founded by game designer Ed Key, Twisted Tree collects his collaborations with others and new small experiments. Previous work includes the award winning Proteus, made in collaboration with David Kanaga, while current work includes Forest of Sleep – a procedural storytelling game made in collaboration with Nicolai Troshinsky.