Given that it’s a sequel to 2018’s The Forest, it’s unsurprising that most of the mechanics in SotF are simply improved versions of what was present in the original game — and very few fans are likely to complain about getting to play The Forest 2.0. That being said, the most recent Sons of the Forest preview showed off a new element of Endnight’s upcoming survival crafting game: AI companions. Sharp-eyed folks had already noted that there appeared to be a few likely candidates for companions in some of the trailers, but the hand-on preview from IGN is the first official confirmation of companions being in the game.
As a crafting game, the core gameplay loop in Sons of the Forest is going to naturally involve a lot of busy work — chopping down trees, chopping those trees into logs, carrying those logs back to your base, and so on. While it’s a key part of survival crafting games, it can get tedious; this appears to be one of the primary reasons SotF will have companions. By using a notepad with interchangeable words and phrases, you’ll be able to direct your companion(s) to do chores like collect wood, either speeding up the process or letting you focus on other tasks.
That’s not all they’ll help you with, however. In the preview, we saw Kelvin point out an enemy sneaking up on the player. One of the other companions, who happens to be a many-handed mutant, can apparently take advantage of their multitudinous limbs to wield multiple firearms. In addition to offering different advantages, the various companions have different AI, and will therefore present different behaviors. Companions will rest when they’re tired, and drink when they’re thirsty. They’ll also react to the way you treat them, though exactly how you interact with companions has yet to be revealed.
So far, we’ve had confirmation of two companions, Kelvin and Victoria. Kelvin’s backstory is fairly goofy: He’s one of the soldiers who crash-landed with you on the island, but the crash has left him with a traumatic brain injury. He can’t speak, but he can still follow orders effectively, making him the perfect companion for anyone who got sick of Lydia’s constant commentary in Skyrim.
The other companion is Virginia, a three-legged and three-armed mutant that should be familiar to anyone who played the original game — she’s a lot more shy than Kelvin, and it sounds like the player will have to work to earn her trust. Doing so will earn you a powerful ally who can wield a shotgun and pistol simultaneously (and probably carry a lot of sticks at once).
Helping Virginia get warm may be how you begin to earn her trust
The companions are optional, and the developers have confirmed that if you don’t want to play with them, you can simply murder them — because that’s how you solve problems in Sons of the Forest. In addition to being a great way to lessen the grind for materials, they’ll make the game a lot less lonely for folks who can’t or don’t want to play online with friends. Having companions seems somewhat counter to the horror sensibilities that the first game had, but frankly, having Kelvin by our side isn’t going to make going into the caves any less scary.
Have any thoughts about companions being present in Sons of the Forest? Will you use them? Let us know in the comments! Sons of the Forest is slated to release February 23rd, 2023, for Windows PC.
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Unabashed FromSoftware fanboy still learning to take his time with games (and everything else, really). The time he doesn't spend on games is spent on music, books, or occasionally going outside.