Way To The Woods is one of the best-looking games on the horizon, which is surprising when one considers that all its art was created by the 16-year-old Anthony Tan.
Based in Melbourne, Tan recently teased a few images from this upcoming adventure "about two deer in a strange place" on Reddit when applying for an Unreal dev grant from engine creator Epic Games. Hello Games founder Sean Murray, currently heading up development on No Man's Sky, praised Tan's work on Twitter calling it "the most gorgeous thing you'll see today."
According to the Way To The Woods FAQ, this will be a third-person "lovingly hand-crafted" adventure, as opposed to a procedurally-generated affair. Tan cited his inspirations as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Life is Strange, and The Last of Us. So far the developer is only targeting a PC release, but is "really gunning for console as well".
"We haven't begun the whole indie game funding trip yet but that will be happening soon. The release of the game will depend on that!" the developer explained.
As for how Way to the Woods actually plays, Tan told Eurogamer via email that it's "like The Last of Us, without all the action-y bits."
"Right now it's mostly walking around, looking for food, solving puzzles, going forward. I hope once we throw in the wolf chases it'll get a bit exciting!" he explained of this early build. "Our ultimate goal is some kind of awesome meld between The Last of Us and Journey, especially trying to achieve those 'goosebumps' moments those games have."
Tan clarified to IBTimes that Way To The Woods is in pre-alpha and he's been working on it for about a year with his programmer Jarad Baker, and composer/sound designer Jeremy Warmsley. If Epic Games accepts the grant proposal, the Way to the Woods dev team could receive up to $50k with no strings attached.
Despite Tan's minor status, this isn't his first time developing video game assets as he provided 3D art for Dyscourse and Snuggle Truck developer Owlchemy Labs' upcoming VR title Job Simulator.
"It took me about a year to learn the bulk of the program," he said of Unreal Engine 4 on Reddit. "Also very few people are naturally anything! It's all about taking the time to learn things, and having fun!"
You can keep up with Way to the Woods' development on its official blog, where there are plenty of other gorgeous in-development images.