Me and my team have spent the past three years of our lives making a weird game about building a city on the back of a giant, wandering creature called Onbu. We named our game The Wandering Village, and decided that the relationship between the little villagers and the giant animal should be the focus point of the game’s experience. The player takes on the role of the village leader, maintaining the health and happiness of both the human population and their giant mount. This often becomes a balancing act as the two entities’ wants and needs don’t always align.
One of our main inspirations for the game is the 1984 anime ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ by Hayao Miyazaki. The world of The Wandering Village is heavily inspired by the anime’s setting, a post-apocalyptic world where poisonous plants are spreading and gradually making life on the ground impossible. This adds a survival aspect to the game. The villager and Onbu are dependent on one another and need to find a way out of this mess together.
With Onbu – which means piggy-back ride in Japanese – being such a central part of the game, our team tried its best to come up with a creature design that is both monumental and cute at the same time, while also fitting into world and making sense from a biological perspective.
In its earliest design states, Onbu was a beast made of flesh and blood. We wanted the player to feel like tiny fleas on the back of a gigantic dog. Players would harvest hair and skin scales while planting their crops into the animal’s hide. However we realised that this might be a bit off-putting to some people (including members of our own team) and so we decided that Onbu should be turned into a creature made of earth and plants.
We wanted the player to feel like tiny fleas on the back of a gigantic dog… however we realized that this might be a bit off-putting…
Another challenge was to find a good general shape for the giant animal. Our art team explored in all directions: Starting of with a turtle, moving on to a boar, an elk, an armadillo and even a six-legged maned wolf. While many of these designs looked cool, we always had one major problem with them – how do we shape the back so the player can freely place their city on it? Ideally, it would have to be completely flat, given the art style that we had decided on. Here, the ‘earth and plant’ decision played into our hands again since it made much more sense for an earth creature to be shaped this way.
So far, we are very happy with how the development is progressing and are looking forward to keep working on the game together with our community. We have lots of plans for the coming months ahead and would love to see you coming along on the ride.
The Wandering Village is out on Game Pass now, and is available exclusively on Xbox consoles.
The Wandering Village (Game Preview)
Stray Fawn Studio
Become their leader, build their settlement and form a symbiotic relationship with the creature to survive together in this hostile, yet beautiful post-apocalyptic world that now surrounds you. Build your village
A functioning village is the basis of your survival. Build your settlement and expand it over the creature’s back. Plan production chains and optimize them to utilize the limited space as efficiently as possible. Create a society that can overcome any challenge. Live on the creature’s back
Living on the back of another organism comes with its own set of challenges. Will you live in symbiosis, bond with the creature and survive on mutual trust? Or will you become a parasite, only aiming to ensure a better life for your villagers? The choice is yours. Discover different biomes
Travel through a multitude of different biomes and adapt your village to their unique opportunities and threats. Scout your environments and send out foraging missions to gather rare resources and ancient artifacts. Research new technologies
Remnants of the old world hold knowledge that has long been forgotten, but can be unearthed by your villagers. Find and research these technologies, but use them wisely, as progress can be a double-edged sword. Survive the wastelands
Ensure the survival of both your villagers and your Onbu, even though poisonous spores, merciless weather, bloodsucking parasites and many more challenges mean that the odds are often stacked against you. Full details on the latest status of the game, how you can give feedback and report issues can be found at www.thewanderingvillage.com.