Starting today, you can become a horrible goose if you so choose by downloading Untitled Goose Game, for Nintendo Switch or computer.
Announced in 2017 the confusing-but-accurately-named game gained popularity due to the absurdity of the trailer’s premise:
It’s the second game from the Melbourne-based House House. Gameplay allows you to command a sneaky goose as you play pranks on townsfolk. Unassuming animal role play is a stark contrast to the battle royale and team based combat titles that often define a the industry.
How do you play a Goose game?
The game begins with a scene of a park with an onscreen instruction to press a button to honk. You press it and a honk emanates from a nearby bush. You can tell the bush is honking because squiggly white lines animate from it like in a comic-strip. If you keep honking, your beaked head emerges. You are now a goose.
Moving around the area you continue to learn your other abilities: you can run, you stretch forward your neck, you can grab things with your tiny beak, and you can also flap your wings. With your newly learned skills, you can make your escape from a fenced in and littered creek to swim around a nearby pond.
Outside the ponds boundary, there’s a bench with a sandwich and apple. If you hang around for a minute, you’ll wiggle your tufted tush. A clocktower strikes three in the distance and you’re instructed to check your to-do list. In a cursive, your assignments read:
- get into the garden
- get the groundskeeper wet
- steal the groundskeeper’s keys
- make the groundskeeper wear his sun hat
- rake in the lake
- have a picnic
These are your goals. But you can also just wander around honking.
In Untitled Goose Game, there’s no health bar, no lives to lose, and no points to collect. You can wander aimlessly, or follow your instructions. The to-do list seems to be a means to keep you exploring, learning new ways to frustrate the populace of the small town, while figuring new applications for your goose’s abilities.
How did this Goose game come about?
Untitled Goose Game started as an inside joke. One day on Slack, Stuart Gillespie-Cook, one of the four team members, posted a stock photo of a white goose stating: “Let’s make a game about this.”
They soon had a working-concept animation of the goose walking they used to test its interactions with rocks and people. They released a trailer, assuming it’d be a small one-off game. But, Michael McMaster, a developer at House House, told gamesindustry.biz, “it turned out that people were really into the idea, so we made the decision to expand on it and do the premise justice.”
In an interview with Nintendo Life McMaster said, “I think it has a lot to do with how threatening they are, in a kind of mundane way.” While the team had never encountered a goose in real life, shared experiences on the internet showed them it wasn’t some niche bird.
As for the name, they actually couldn’t think of anything better. When the House House team submitted the title to a Texas games festival in 2017, it still didn’t have a title, so they submitted it as a “Untitled.” Since then, they’ve played around with other names, but Untitled Goose Game just stuck.
Should I be horrible goose (in an “Untitled” game)?
That’s up to you. Assuming you’ve read this far, though, you’re either considering being a goose or you already are one. Do you want to spend a weekend harassing hapless townsfolk with a honk and waddling gait?
The game is available for download on the Nintendo Switch console, as well as Mac and Windows computers through Epic Games.