Among the Trolls is a survival action game based around the elusive world of Finnish mythology. The game was presented at the 505 Games Showcase and we were able to get some more details about it from developers, Forbidden Studios.
Forbidden Games is a Finnish studio whose ranks include people that have worked on Skyrim, Fallout 4, and Vampire: The Masquerade. Their founder, Veli Kokkonen is also one of the original programmers of Unity Engine.
In Among The Trolls, you play as either Alex or Anna. They have traveled from the US to Finland to visit their grandparents, living in an isolated cabin. When you find the cabin, however, it has been abandoned and your grandparents have vanished. From there, you will be pulled into a world of Nordic mythology and danger.
Players will Embark on a quest to find their missing grandparents and learn how to survive in the wilderness, dealing with the supernatural creatures of Finnish mythology and the animistic nature of the world. You’ll follow in your grandfather’s footsteps and discover the rune-singer within.
The final goal of the game is to “find the family roots and eventually travel into the heart of the winter”.
Meeting The Trolls
While the term may now be associated with angry comments across Twitter, trolls have played a big part in Scandinavian culture and continue to do so in this game.
From the game’s title, you may expect them to be enemies however this is not the case. The trolls play a number of roles throughout the plot as NPCs. The key idea however is that you are in their world, playing by their rules.
“The whole thing about Among the Trolls is that the world itself belongs to the trolls and the other folk of the forests, and even partially consists of them.
In the ancient Nordic animistic worldview, all of these are just part of the world and part of the environment, but the trolls themselves work like NPC characters: they’re part of the storyline, and they’re not enemies per se for the player, but something that the player ends up helping, be helped by them, or the player is working together with them to solve certain mysteries of the world itself. So we wanted to take a stake in having the trolls not just being the enemies, as happens often in many games, but instead, they are part of the world itself.”
Game of Survival
To survive in this survival game you need to craft various tools, items, and weapons. You’ll need these to build new structures, as well as fight against enemies and hunt for food.
As you continue into the game, there will also be a building system that will allow players to work together to create larger structures like houses or even a whole village.
“With the crafting system, we are going quite similar to another kind of survival games, but we’ve been looking more into the ancient crafts, and taking inspiration on how certain things are done in the real world. For example, how you boil or dry distillate glue: making that as close as – while being fun to play – how you would make glue in the real-life as well, but making that part of the whole crafting system.
And with the building system… Well, a year ago, Valheim came out, we loved that Viking vibe, we loved building things in the forest, and we really loved the building system, so we took a little bit of inspiration out of that, and how to make the building “fun”. So it shouldn’t take too much time, and you should be able to build structures with your friends, and it’s pretty much this approach to “blueprint-based” building, where one of the players can become the architect that designs how the things are going around and how they are placed, while the other players can get the resources and actually build the structures.”
A shamanistic Twist
As previously stated the game is heavily entrenched in Finnish myology and that extends into the gameplay and the survival system. You won’t only need to care for your physical needs, but your spiritual ones as well.
“The player character must proffer offerings, consult the spirits, and make sacrifices to them to keep the woods and the folk of the forest happy.”
You can’t just run into the woods and start chopping trees down whenever you want. The forest will go dark and you’ll be attacked by corrupted creatures. For everything you take, you need to give back by appeasing the spirits. You can do this by placing offerings at sacrificial shrines called Cupstones.
There are even certain attributes that you’ll have to raise based on shaman magic: Väki, Lykky, and Sisu.
“On top of the regular character attributes that you’d expect to find in a regular survival game the player will be introduced to Väki, Lykky, and Sisu. With the mystical power of Väki, the player can practice the ancient art of singing spell poems: for example, to conjure rain or summon the northern lights to illuminate pitch-black winter nights. Lykky is a Finnish version of luck that affects the chance of success in most endeavors and reflects the character’s standing in the eyes of nature. Do not anger the forest! Sisu is a supernatural form of resilience with which you might be able to push through when all else fails.”
You don’t have to be alone Among The Trolls, as the game will offer four-player multiplayer so you and your friends can survive together.
“Among the Trolls supports co-op multiplayer with up to four players, and the whole story mode is included there, so you can play the story with your friends the same way as you would with the single-player version of the game. In addition to that, we will – during the early access – test and develop different kinds of survival modes as well, and different challenges.”
Early Access and Future Roadmap
The developers say that the game will be split into four chapters. The first chapter will become available for Early Access in 2022. Chapters 2-4 will release for the game every six months afterward.
The new chapters will expand the world and plot, as well as change the season for the game. Chapter one will start in late summer and with each chapter, the days will become shorter and colder moving into winter.
The devs say that the primary focus of early access will be balancing difficulty. They say they will add more difficult modes throughout early access including ones that will allow players to skip combat and focus on the story. They will also add a creative mode where players can craft and build with fewer constraints.
Among The Trolls will launch for early access on Steam in 2022. As of this article, Forbidden Games have not said if the game will come to other platforms. They have also said there will be no VR support during early access.