Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Finite Forest: Tale of Tales Begs To Keep "Art" Alive

The self-described team of artists (rather than games developers or designers) Tale of Tales have long courted the periphery of PC games community. Their string of releases including most famously The Path have all been controversial for one reason or another; usually whether or not they are games at all, and thus deserving of some people's attention or money. (For the record: it doesn't matter and yes they are.)

Now the group, led by husband-and-wife team Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn, are asking for donations to keep their first release alive. The Endless Forest requires €165 a month to keep the servers alive. Historically it has been supported by arts charities and communities donations but now that money is running out and the servers are in danger of being shut off for good.

First opened in 2005, The Endless Forest is a peaceful non-combative non-constructive non-verbal social world where players are anthropomorphically-faced deer frolicking around a forest and the ruins, follys and natural features found within. There is no way to speak or communicate in text with other players in this world. Instead, being deer as they are, they use body language (kneel, sit, leap, run around in circles...) and barks. There are no goals, enemies or dangers. Its an extraordinary experience and free to play.

I detailed my personal thoughts on the situation in the comments thread for Rock, Paper, Shotgun's article on this, and I cannot put it better than I did then:
The things is… I would love to. I’d love to be able to throw the whole €165/m at them just to know Endless Forest is still around should I one day want to go back and wander the forest for a couple of hours…

But I can’t. My money is exceedingly tight and I have to be very careful what I put it towards.

What surprises me is that they are [primarily] requesting regular, repeat payments. Yes, they can be cancelled at any time so technically a person could give a single payment but the impression is a significant element. [Also, one-off payments can in fact be made from the Donate page]. Should ToT ask for people to throw, oh, a one off amount of €5 in return for a simple unique visual effect upon their deer I am sure they would make their money for the next 3 months almost immediately. Handled correctly, it could be a great opportunity to build interest in Endless Forest again, their old releases on multiple platforms and their future projects.

Hell, they could ask for pre-orders of 8 (yes, that’s the name of their next big project) and I’d be throwing money at the screen. At least some of that could keep TEF alive.
TEF is free to play and can be downloaded from their website. If you are generous enough to donate, you can do so from this page.

1 comment:

  1. The money is just one facet of the issue. We could of course find other ways to get it. But we want the players to carry some of the responsibility for the amusement they get from the game, without needing the game to become commercial.