April 24, 2024

The Wandering Village: Creating Onbu, The Giant, Walking Ecosystem

My team and I have spent the last three years of our lives making a strange game about building a city on the back of a giant roaming creature called Onbu. We named our game The Wandering Village, and decided that the relationship between the small villagers and the huge animal should be the focal point of the game experience. The player takes on the role of the leader of the village, maintaining the health and happiness of the human population and their masses. This is often a balancing act as the wants and needs of the two entities do not always align.

One of our biggest inspirations for the game is the 1984 anime ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ by Hayao Miyazaki. World of The Wandering Village heavily inspired by the setting of the anime, a post-apocalyptic world where poisonous plants are spreading and gradually making life on earth impossible. This adds a survival element to the game. The village and Onbu are dependent on each other and they must find a way out of this mess together.

With Onbu – which means backpack in Japanese – as an integral part of the game, our team strived to come up with a creature design that is memorable and cute at the same time, while at the same time fitting into life and making biological sense.

In its earliest design states, Onbu was a beast made of flesh and blood. We wanted the player to feel like tiny fleas on the back of a giant dog. The players would remove scales of hair and skin while putting their crop in the hide of the animal. However we realized that this might be a bit off putting for some people (including members of our own team) so we decided that Onbu should be turned into a creature made of earth and plants.

We wanted the player to feel like tiny fleas on the back of a giant dog… however we realized that this could be a bit off-putting…

Another challenge was finding a good general shape for the huge animal. Our art team explored all directions: Starting with a turtle, moving on to a boar, elk, armadillo and even a six-legged maned wolf. While many of these designs looked great, we always had one big problem with them – how do we create the background so that the player can easily place their city on it? Ideally, it would have to be completely flat, given the art style we had decided on. Here, the ‘land and plant’ decision went into our hands again as it made a lot more sense to model land creatures this way.

So far, we’re very happy with the development progress and look forward to continuing to work on the game with our community. We have lots of plans for the coming months and would love to see you along for the ride.

The Wandering Village out now on Game Pass, and is available exclusively on Xbox consoles.

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The Wandering Village (Game Preview)

Fawn Stray Studio


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$24.99

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This game is a work in progress. It may or may not change over time or be released as a final product. Buy only if you are comfortable with the current state of the unfinished game. In a world where mysterious plants are spreading across the world, releasing toxic spores as they grow, a small group of survivors seek shelter on the back of a giant wandering creature they call ‘Onbu’. Become a leader, build their settlement and create a symbiotic relationship with the creature to live together in this hostile post-apocalyptic world that surrounds you now. Build your village A functional village is the basis of your survival. Take your setup and extend it over the back of the creature. Planning and optimizing production chains to use the limited space as efficiently as possible. Create a society that can overcome any challenge. Live on the back of the creature Living on the back of another organism has its own challenges. Will you live in symbiosis, connecting with the creature and living on mutual trust? Or will you be a parasite, only aiming to ensure a better life for the townspeople? The choice is yours. Discover different biomes Travel through many different biomes and adapt your village to their unique opportunities and threats. Scout your environments and send foraging missions to collect rare resources and ancient artifacts. Research new technologies The remains of the ancient world hold long-forgotten knowledge, but the villagers can find it. Find and research these technologies, but use them wisely, because progress can be a double-edged sword. Survival in the wastelands Make sure that both the villagers and your Onbu survive, although poisonous spores, merciless weather, bloodsucking parasites and many other challenges mean that the odds are often stacked against you. Full details on the latest status of the game, how you can give feedback and report issues can be found at www.thewanderingvillage.com.

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