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Gent, Belgium, 19 November 2008
The Path is an independently created horror game inspired by the ancient folk tales of Little Red Ridinghood, but set in the present day. Six sisters live with their mother in an urban apartment at the edge of a gloomy forest. Each of them is sent on an errand to their grandmother on the other side of the woods. A straight path connects the city with grandmother's house. It's a safe journey. But will the girls be able to resist the temptation of leaving the path?
Production of The Path takes place at Tale of Tales, a development studio founded by media artists Auriea Harvey (US) and Michael Samyn (BE) in Belgium. To celebrate the approaching beta stage of the project, Tale of Tales is releasing screenshots of the game in its current state of incompleteness. Images of work in progress that nevertheless clearly demonstrate the aesthetic style of the game.
The screenshots are on display in the gallery section of the project's website:
The Path is a game of exploration, discovery and introspection.
Atmosphere and immersion are at least as important as any other element on the game. Designers Harvey and Samyn wholeheartedly embrace cutting edge 3D technology but reject the notion that it needs to serve some form of photographic or cinematic realism. They are in search of a beauty that is unique to the medium of realtime 3D, simultaneously recognizing its potential for simulation as its artificial, synthetic nature. "It's about what you feel, not what you see." is a favorite motto.
"You control the avatar, but she also has a life of her own -directed by Drama Princess, a home-brew alternative AI system. The foliage onthe trees turns out to be careful arrangements of gothic ornaments. What first seemed like sound effects, is in fact a continuously changing musical soundtrack -created by Jarboe. Random signs of decay on the screen become helpful hints for navigation. The entire forest feels natural but closer inspection reveals its artificiality. This is not the real world. You have entered a fabrication, a story, a memory, a dream."
This extends to the three dimensional environments as well. The main area of the game, the forest, is never the same. It is re-arranged every time you play. Things are in different places, objects appear and disappear. Giving the feeling of exploring a dream more than any factual reality. The same applies to the final destination of the protagonists.
Grandmother's house changes according to what you have done in the forest. Furniture appears or moves. New rooms are added, put together in impossible ways. What seems like a cozy cottage on the outside, turns into a nightmarish labyrinth upon entry.
Painting with the aesthetic palette of realtime 3D rather than using the medium for the simulation of reality, The Path could not have been made without contemporary technology. Yet it clearly sets itself apart from any other Next Gen game. The hand of the artist shows. Sometimes messy and strange, sometimes verging on the sublime. Harvey and Samyn are not in complete control. A large part of the attraction of game technology is its potential to surprise. Rather than locking down the look of each and every scene, The Path contains systems that alter the aesthetics of the game in ways that the creators may not have expected. To some extent, the players themselves can decide what things look like. Walking down the path, for instance, changes the time of day. Depending on where you enter the forest, you will be wandering through a bright and misty environment or a dark and spooky one.
An early demo of The Path was nominated for "Excellence in Visual Art" in the Independent Games Festival of 2008. Other games by Tale of Tales include The Endless Forest and The Graveyard. Both are available for free download.
The Path is scheduled for release on PC in Spring 2009.
Production progress can be followed on the development journal:
Production of The Path is supported by Creative Capital, Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds, the Flemish Authorities, Villanella and Design Vlaanderen.
You may download the screenshots and display them on your website, providing that you offer a link to our company website ( http://Tale-of-Tales.com ) or the game's website ( http://Tale-of-Tales.com/ThePath ):
If you need any other materials, feel free to ask: firstname.lastname@example.org .