Artist/Musician/Coder Christopher Smith hoped for Year In The Trees to be a quick Unity experiment somewhere circa 2016. He’s stuck instead with turning it into a full game and no one’s complaining.
The pretext being an abandoned cabin burrowed in the heart of an enchanted woodland, the entrance to which unfurls itself annually to the wandering. Strangely these wanderers hail from a singular bloodline, each unravelling the inherited piece’s mystical history just a little more before passing.
In the shoes of one such pixelated descendant of the cabin you’re pitted against a life of crystalline runes, treetop libraries and serene sunsets that have come to be inhabited by a civilization of witches, woodmen, wildlife and scoundrels.
How these denizens influence your legacy is contingent on your Year In The Trees. Skills are to be developed, resources farmed, meals cooked and a basic sustenance scraped across a hand-crafted, procedurally generated narrative.
Be the pokey neighbor keen on joining the cult next-door, or the hermit fostering an arsenal of magic against friend and foe; only remember that death is permanent with players offered to leave behind a little more than a few treasured items for subsequent runs.
As you’d imagine Year In The Trees must come packed with a plethora of crisscrossing mechanics that in between juggles of a day-job, an indie music career, and handling all aspects of game-design solo, offers a considerable challenge to implement.
In a way it seems to have pushed back Smith’s plans to release an alpha build from the Winter of 2017 to some time this year.
On one hand the delay has turned out to be in favor of a completely reworked user interface, visuals and environmental vistas that are now more accurately demonstrative of the breadth of his game’s world and vibrancy as opposed to the old trailer above.
On the other, it’s admittedly presented another stumbling block in the form of the average viewer being unappreciative of the sheer depth of core game-play.
What better way to make sense of it all then to retreat to the woods? The artist find himself applying to the non-profit accelerator program of Stugan yet again that might let him do just that in the hope of sprucing up the game’s soundscape among other things.
— Luno (@lunoland) December 30, 2017