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Way To The Woods - What We Know So Far

Way to the Woods, affectionately known as "The Deer Game," became the darling of Reddit back in 2015 when developer Anthony Tan—then 16-years-old and still in high school—shared screenshots of the project on the Unreal Engine subreddit. The post exploded, with users fawning over Tan's artistic style. It eventually reached the front page of the website where it caught the attention of Yooka-Laylee publisher Team17. The game has been in development ever since.

What is the release date for Way to the Woods?

Though originally slated for an early 2019 release, Way to the Woods will now launch at some point in 2020. Tan, now 20, has spent the last several years learning how to make games, including a stint at Owlchemy Labs in Austin, Texas. Though officially a Microsoft-supported project, Way to the Woods is still an indie game being created by a small team. Tan has also experienced some personal setbacks during the development process, including the death of his father earlier this year. Despite these challenges, he continues to push towards the finish line.

What is the plot of Way to the Woods?

Way to the Woods is a third-person survival game that centers on the journey of two deer—an adult and a fawn—across a post-apocalyptic world. Rather than focusing on the human experience following the collapse of civilization, Tan wanted to explore the animal perspective. "What kind of story can I tell with a non-verbal character? How can I remind people of the other life on the planet aside from people? In a zombie movie, what is a bird doing? What is a deer doing? It's interesting to me," said Tan in an interview.

Tan drew inspiration from Hayao Miyazaki when creating his deer game, specifically films like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away which, though dark at points, inspire bravery and optimism in an increasingly cynical world. Journey also played a role in his quest to create an inspiring and emotional game. "The story I want to tell is how to find the joy in the journey [and] the destination," revealed Tan.

Is there a trailer for Way to the Woods?

Microsoft showcased a Way to the Woods trailer alongside some of the world's biggest gaming franchises during their Xbox presentation at E3 2019. The video offered a nice change of pace from all the guns explosions, providing a glimpse of the out-of-the-box mechanics and quirky denizens, including glowing fish and giant cats, that you'll find in the game. The trailer also showed off a portion of the game's original score by Aivi & Surasshu, the composers for the show Steven Universe.

Which platforms will Way to the Woods release on?

As an Xbox backed project, Way to the Woods will release for Xbox One and PC and will be part of the Xbox Games Pass at launch. There's no word on whether the title will eventually come to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, or Google Stadia.