Melbourne-based four-person development team House House was out to ruffle some feathers when it announced yesterday the release date for possibly the best-titled game ever – Untitled Goose Game. Yes, you read that right – Untitled Goose Game.
You’d be excused for thinking the name is the fruit of the utmost laziness or possibly crippling writer’s block after depleting every last bit of creativity into close to a three-year-long development cycle. In reality, the name stuck after a teaser trailer, released on YouTube back in 2017, exceeded House House’s wildest expectations. Despite the studio putting out a call for the public to submit their best attempts at naming the game, it was already too late – the goose was here to stay.
And what a goose. In Untitled Goose Game, the player takes on the role of a positively horrible goose. Bordering on sociopathic, said goose wakes up one summer morning with one thing on its mind – make life as miserable as possible for the inhabitants of a small village.
Although I am loathe to assign arbitrary genre stereotypes to such a quirky and charming game, Untitled Goose Game broadly features elements of stealth, sandbox games, and puzzle-solving with a hefty dose of slapstick comedy thrown in.
Colorful piano motifs loft pleasantly alongside our gamboling goose as it dunks sandwiches in ponds, sets a farmer off on a veritable wild goose chase, honks obnoxiously at every opportunity, and engages in a spot of minor thievery.
The whole affair is framed in a welcome simplicity that allows a lot of creativity in how the player ticks off a set of loose objectives (incidentally written in exquisite cursive – no small feat for a thumb-less avian outcast) that are achievable through open-ended steps free of rank and file constrictions.
Against all expectations, the formula seems to be striking a chord with many gaming fans. The trailer has racked up over half a million views going from a niche joke to a viral sensation, and the unique name has helped spread the word beyond sympathetic communities that revel in these small-budget oddities that push the medium beyond its contrived boundaries in original ways. Untitled Goose Game taps into the sheer pleasure of being as antagonistic and irritating as possible – something that evidently appeals to many people.
The unforeseen interest primes Untitled Goose Game for a successful launch.
Initially slated for release in 2018, then early 2019, House House has stamped the game with a definitive release date of Sept. 20. It lands on PC and Mac via an Epic Game Store exclusivity deal and on what is the most befitting of platforms, the Nintendo Switch.