By Jack O’Dwyer
Have you watched a leopard stalk its prey? It creeps forward, belly to the ground, hiding beneath the tips of grasses or lurking around a corner. It stops for just a second to sniff the air, then flicks its tongue over its fangs. You can almost see the cat smile—its prey is nearby. Silently, it positions itself so its prey is in sight. The muscles tense underneath its fur.
It bunches together, eyes narrowed. Claws extend fully—nearly into the soil beneath its paws. In those moments, have you ever wondered what’s going through the leopard’s mind?
Now, you don’t have to wonder at all.
“FERAL,” a prototype single-player game just released this past December, puts you directly in the paws of a big cat surviving in the jungle. Your objective is to last as long as you can hunting other smaller animals and sources of water in order to feed your cubs. Each kill gives you points which you can use to upgrade aspects of your predator and make it easier to take down prey.
The game was designed by a team of students at Supinfogame Rubika, a French school established in 2001 that is completely dedicated to video game design. It was programmed in C++ by Sébastien Fouque, a fifth year student at the school. The levels were designed by Hugues Barlet and Louis Gauthier with Franck Fitrzyk as the technical designer. Chloé Ravallec was the lead 3D artist on the project, Mickael Verbeke served as the art director, and Romane Govin provided the animations. Jérémy Gaucher designed the sounds that went into the game. These, of course, are only a select few of the names that brought “FERAL” to life.
It’s important to note that, as it stands, the game is still in its formative stages. The build available for download from its website is a prototype build and thus has its limitations. The map is not very expansive and the gameplay is a bit repetitive after a while—if you can keep it running. There is currently a bug in this version that causes the game to crash after a certain amount of time. Despite these issues “FERAL” looks incredibly promising, and the team appears dedicated to continuing its progress with the development to make it into a full fledged product.
At this point, “FERAL” is only available on Windows operating systems. It is recommended you have an Xbox controller or gamepad in order to play. You can download the demo for free at row.itch.io/feral. Just be careful. You aren’t the only beast at the top of the food chain, after all.