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Monday, March 27, 2023

Expert conclusion: The first patch for Sons of the Forest makes us optimistic for the future

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Does the great first patch raise false hopes or does it certify a rosy future for the Early Access title? We analyse the innovations.

The first patch for Sons of the Forest is here and players are excited: new building elements and items, fresh story details, a first small boss fight. While many were mainly expecting bug fixes, the game instead makes a decent step forward in all areas.

Reason enough to take a closer look at the new content, draw a first expert conclusion and analyse the signal effect of the patch. Is this a positive trend that certifies a rosy future for the game, or merely the afterbirth of an Early Access launch decided on very short notice?

A prime example of Early Access – or does the patch raise false hopes?

In view of the short-notice switch to an Early Access launch, it is natural to assume that much of the content has been in the pipeline for some time, but was simply not ready by the deadline.

This would be supported, for example, by the fact that the binoculars, which have now been added, were already discovered in advance by dataminers in the game files. At the same time, however, neither the ice pick was part of the patch, nor the hang glider or boss fight part of the leak.

Of course, there is always half-finished content in a developer’s studio. But if you delve deeper into the patch notes, they seem tailor-made for the community in many places. In the first two weeks of the game, the community was particularly critical of the story gaps, the long walking distances and the lack of boss fights.

Also missing were gates for protective walls and locks for doors, but found extremely creative solutions for these gaps. Both have now been added, along with many other requested features and bug fixes.

The fact that the first new story content specifically takes the wind out of the sails of wild fan theories about the identity of the hostile person in the silver waistcoat also speaks for a reactive update. Along the lines of “Sorry guys, but the antagonist is not Megan from The Forest. “

More clarity and comfort

If we look at the changes made in their entirety, the result is an all-round successful picture and it is noticeable how close the developers have their ear to the pulse of the community.

For example, the different fatigue levels of the co-op players can now be handled better thanks to the more than doubled recovery rate while sitting (instead of ordering all eight players to bed). On the other hand, fires burn down faster and shotgun damage has been halved because both disproportionately lowered the survival factor.

The new boss fight not only fulfils a fan wish. In the same context, the confusion about the whereabouts of the wanted billionaire family is also alleviated – so here two mutants are killed with one stone.

If you want to see the whole thing in action, we have a recording ready for you. But if you want to avoid spoilers, you’d better close your eyes from the second half onwards.

In addition, there are more frequent and clearer mission overlays that, after finding our team, send us straight back in the direction of the family we are looking for and from there onwards. You can tell that the development team at Endnight has grown and matured considerably since its predecessor. Many decisions seem elegantly and promptly linked to the needs of the current playerbase.

If the studio keeps up this pace (and the new 14-day timer in the main menu suggests it will), Sons of the Forest could shed its Early Access training wheels significantly sooner than its predecessor. Not to mention that publicly posting the next patch carrot like this is a smart move to keep fan anticipation and motivation blazing.

Editorial conclusion

Endnight really knocked my socks off with this update. I was too influenced by other Early Access games that trickle their content down to us very slowly over months and years, and are only too happy to starve the original purchasers to death on the long arm.

Think of the sprawling update cycles of a Valheim or the nine-year EA phase of a 7 Days to Die. Of course, one patch alone doesn’t paint a clear trend, but I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb when I call it a damn strong opener.


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