Where Has the PS4 Exclusive WiLD Gone?
Michel Ancel's PS4 exclusive drove people wild and then quickly disappeared.
If the PS4 is known for anything (apart from trying to segment its playerbase) it’s its range of exclusive games, those that can only be found on the black box. After an underwhelming start, it can now boast a handsome selection of titles that you won’t find anywhere else – 2018 looks like it might be Sony’s year again after an okay but mainly VR focused 2017.
With so many new games announced over the last few years, it’s typical for some to fall by the wayside. While Sony’s recent rapidfire approach to revealing new games at conferences gets rid of a lot of the PR speak and brings the attention where it’s needed, there’s the flipside in that, sans a trailer to religiously pick apart, they remain tight-lipped until the game is on shelves. How much do we really know about Days Gone, Death Stranding, and God of War?
One of the biggest “victims” of Sony’s no-frills marketing is Michel Ancel and Wild Sheep Studio’s WiLd. Revealed at gamescom 2014 with a trailer and then a follow-up video at PGS 2015, it seems like it might have lost itself in the wilderness.
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Billed as a procedurally generated survival game, you’re dumped into prehistoric times and told to explore and make some animal friends along the way. One of WiLD’s biggest hooks is that it allows you to take control of animals with “shamanic” powers to help in your fight against other tribes – it sounds like a very upmarket Tokyo Jungle and I am here for it.
And the innovation for WiLD doesn’t stop there. The ambitious title will also feature online play so that you can assist your friends, dynamic weather, and an absolutely gargantuan open-world. The main concern with the latter is that it may be a little underpopulated to justify such a massive expanse, so it could a whole lot of wandering. Considering we’ve heard next to nothing in the years since its release, it’s almost impossible to tell.
The synopsis for WiLD:
“Use your instincts and intuition to thrive in an incredibly hostile environment. Learn how to control living creatures, and venture into your friends’ game worlds to help them survive.
“Experiment with your surroundings in your quest for survival – a simple plant could just as easily save your life… or bring about a swift death.”
Could WiLD’s scale be stymieing its development? Ancel doesn’t seem to want to rush his games, which is evidenced by the incredibly slow burn to the reveal of Beyond Good & Evil 2 at E3 2017, itself far away from a release date. With Ancel’s attention split between two big projects, concerns were shared that WiLD might have been cancelled. The last mentions of of WiLD at all this year came back in January when Ancel shared a photo to his Instagram account and in June when he was allaying fears that it had been canned:
“Expect strong updates during the coming year.”
Games being revealed and then dropping promptly off the radar is nothing new. Sometimes developers and publishers show their hands far too early and raise the hype to unsustainable levels – just look at how desperate people are to learn anything new about Cyberpunk 2077, nearly five years after it was initially teased. But WiLD feels different. It’s not a marquee title and appears to be more of a grand experiment than something that will appeal to everyone. Since it was revealed, I have heard very few excited whispers about it following the anticipation fizzling out, which is a similar story for Media Molecule’s Dreams. However, while Dreams will be springing back to life at PSX this year, the same can’t be said for WiLD – it’s still in No Man’s Land.
Sony aren’t known for abruptly pulling the plug on projects, but unless we hear more about it at PSX 2017, we might have to wait for somebody else to let us become a bird and then a bear in the same minute.