Badgers! Once, when I was young and riding in a taxi with my mum through some countryside, we ran over a badger. Shocked by the impact (badgers make quite some noise when they travel under a black cab) we stopped, and my mum politely asked the driver to back over the badger to make sure it was properly finished off. It was probably an act of kind humanity, but I've had and remain to have my suspicions.
11th September 2013
23rd May 2013
My first cub perished in the noonday sky, which is no place for a badger to die. We ran through the long grass, hiding from a predator in the clouds, its winged shadow black and circling. It knew we were somewhere down here, scuttling about. But long grass is good at keeping secrets; it only talks in whispers. Then the long grass ended and there was no way to reach the safety of the hollow log without first making a terrified dash from cover. My first cub, slow with infancy and hunger, was last in line. He squealed and squealed as the talons broke his fur. Staring out from the end of the log, we watched him die in the air. And then there were five.
In Shelter, the third release from Swedish indie game developer Might and Delight, you play as a badger, but that is a great deal less important than the fact that you play as a parent. This is a game about custody, about being the carer of things smaller and weaker than you. It is a game that draws upon those maternal or paternal anxieties that stretch down, past the conscious mind deep inside us, to something more primal. Your aim is straightforward and ancient: lead your offspring to shelter, keep them safe, keep them fed. And when you fail in that aim - when you fail as a parent in your most important duty - the grief is close to unbearable.
My third cub perished on the midnight ground, which is a more reasonable place for a badger to die, but no less painful for it. I didn't see what took her. I didn't even hear her go. I was too busy foraging, searching for another answer to the cubs' unrelenting question: "When do we eat next?" An apple butted down from a branch, a turnip dug from the topsoil, a murdered frog: it's never enough. The cubs fade with hunger, in the physical sense that they tire, but also in pigment, growing paler as time passes without food. Finding shelter from the cold is all well and good, but hunger is the real killer. That, the eagle and whatever monster took my third-born away. And then there were three.
Pid developer Might & Delight is releasing its upcoming survival badger game, Shelter, on PC and Mac on 28th August.
Forget survival horror - let's talk about survival badger.
Indie dev Might and Magic, maker of Pid, wants to recreate the dangerous world a mother badger and her set live in. But until this gameplay trailer we had little idea what kind of game that would translate into.
Now we can see mother badger creep tentatively around a wood with a set of whickering cubs. She hides in the swaying grass from encircling predatory birds above. She can sneak around, pouncing on unaware foxes, and she can ram trees for the fruits they provide.
The developer of retro platformer Pid has announced its new game.
Shelter, from Stockholm-based Might and Delight, is a third-person adventure game described as an "original emotional experience", and is due out on PC and Mac at some point in 2013. There's a Steam Greenlight page, too.
The teaser trailer, below, doesn't give much away. You play the mother of a litter of cubs forced out from the safety of their home to find new shelter in a "beautiful but dangerous world". Apparently the harsh reality of nature plays a pivotal role in the game.