Nowadays, animal simulation games – which let players explore the world from an animal’s point of view – are all the rage. If a critter can be conjured up in the mind’s eye, there’s probably a sim based on it. With games like Wild Horse Simulator, Cheetah Simulator, and the ridiculous – and incredibly popular – Goat Simulator already cluttering the marketplace, it’s well past time for one of nature’s most majestic creatures, the bear, to get its virtual due as well.
Enter Farjay Studios and its upcoming game, Bear Simulator. In March 2014, the founder of Farjay Studios, John Farjay, started a Kickstarter campaign for Bear Simulator, with the goal of raising $29,500 by mid-April. Low-level backers were offered simple, silly rewards for supporting the game. $15 bought a copy of the game, while $20 gave players’ bear avatars sunglasses to wear while playing. Top-tier supporters could suggest ideas for in-game assets, like a spooky set-piece at the $750 pledge level, or a custom-made edible health item at $1000.
A solid grand is a lot of money to spend just to make a digital bear eat a bowl of macaroni and cheese, yet at least one person thought the opportunity was worth it: Bear Simulator annihilated its original Kickstarter goal, and ended up $100,571. That capital allowed Farjay Studios to deliver on its wild promises, and Bear Simulator comes with realistic sound effects, natural ambient noise, high quality models and textures, beehives, Mountie hats, and Lost-influenced shadow monsters.
Bear Simulator’s tagline is “Explore stuff, eat stuff, be a bear!” and no one expects the game to deliver an accurate portrayal of what a bear’s life is really like. Much like Goat Simulator, Bear Simulator looks like it’s going to be an absurd experience. In fact, the only thing really distinguishing Bear Simulator from Goat Simulator is the first-person view and the fact that the main character is a bear, not a goat.
Throughout the game’s production, Farjay kept his tongue planted firmly in his cheek:
Sure it may seem like a ‘dumb idea’ or a ‘really dumb idea’ but you can’t honestly tell me you’ve never secretly wanted to be a bear wandering around the forest. That’s just an outright lie…
It’s quite clear the fat cats in Washington with their stove top hats and contemporary jazz music don’t want us playing as bears. It’s about time to fight back against the tyranny.
As seen in the trailer, Bear Simulator lets players roam woods and towns, similar to games like Skyrim; players’ bears can walk on two legs, or run on all four. Bear Simulator includes a melee fighting system to defend against the aggressive, hostile animals that roam the multi-environment world.
Farjay Studios has yet to officially release Bear Simulator. The game missed initial launch window, November 2014, and it’s reasonable to wonder if it’ll ever be finished. A couple of months ago, after a lengthy hibernation with no communication, John Farjay assured both fans and Kickstarter supporters that the game is “very much alive.” With any luck, Bear Simulator will be released sometime in 2015.
Are fans of Goat Simulator excited about this spiritual successor? Would anyone else out there actually drop $1000 to design digital food for a virtual bear?