Winter Burrow is a Charming Combination of Cozy Game Comforts and Survival Elements

Summary

  • Play as a mouse exploring a snow-covered forest floor.
  • A cozy take on the survival genre with woodland animals and pies.
  • Restore your childhood Burrow and find your lost Aunty.

My mom took my siblings and I to a place in the forest called Fox Hill when we were children. We spent the whole day playing in the forest, building small houses out of twigs and leaves and imagining that we lived there. This fascination and love for nature has never left me. I still go on hikes and camp under the stars to this day.  

With Winter Burrow, I want to create that place I imagined as a child. I wanted to stay there as long as I could. To be a part of the miniature world and the enchanting life that happens between the gnarled roots of the trees. As a father, I’m happy to be able to give that back to my children. Both with trips out into nature from when they were very small and now seeing them play Winter Burrow and getting lost in that world. 

It has been a long and bumpy process from the first initial idea to where we are now. Our team is amazing and it’s very important for me to stress that making games is a team effort. There would be no Winter Burrow without them. Their own experiences playing outside as children and expertise in their respective fields has been integral to the game so far. No matter where we are all from, our childhood adventures feel like a universal experience we all share. 

When I first started working on the game I had just left a project that got way too big and took way too long to make because we tried to reinvent everything. While reinventing the wheel can be rewarding, I promised myself that the next time I would make a game in a genre that I already knew well, and that happened to be survival games. It will probably surprise some people that the first inspiration for Winter Burrow was the zombie survival game 7 Days to Die, which I had put hundreds of hours into at that point. I imagined a game that was something like that, but with squirrels, hedgehogs, moles and mice crawling in the trees and digging in the ground, rather than humans surviving a zombie apocalypse.  

I chose mice because they seemed like the one kind of animal that had broadest and most suitable selection of skills for this type of game. I also realized pretty quickly that it would make everything a lot easier if the game was 2D, which meant quick prototyping and smaller production scope. However, even in 2D I wanted the game to feel like a big endless world, so I chose an isometric camera angle to be able to easily create that.  

These choices led me in the direction of David Petersen’s comics Mouse Guard, and Klei Entertainment’s Don’t Starve, which was one of the few 2D survival games that I already knew. As a part of my research I started playing Don’t Starve again, but really wanted to keep my progress after I died. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who was looking for a similar experience that wasn’t as difficult and thought, “there might be something to this” – a survival game that had challenge, but was much more forgiving and approachable.  

I was also playing Animal Crossing and totally loved the game, but wanted the ability to explore and to have a bit more challenge and consequences. It suddenly dawned on me that Winter Burrow could be a hybrid of these two games. Something that combined the elements of both cozy and survival games.  

In early 2021 I was very lucky to get some public funding for the game and started working on a  simple prototype with a small team. We utilized all the third party assets that we could to quickly get an idea of what it could look like. Thematically, we wanted the game to mainly revolve around the contrast between safety and danger. That feeling of being under a warm blanket when it’s raining or snowing outside. We wanted to explore this feeling and the connection between the safe warm burrow and a cold harsh wilderness. 

From here, Winter Burrow practically shaped itself. The more we added, the more things just seemed to make sense, and the more we got naturally inspired to bring in the next things. We played around a lot with the balance between the hardcore survival genre and the wholesome life-sim. This involved trying out different directions for the game and even though they seem like detours today, we are happy that we tried them out because it helped us understand the game and its core vision better. 

When we started showing the game to Noodlecake and Xbox for the first time they immediately understood what we were doing. They have supported us from the start and gave us confidence to believe in the game and what we were making. A big thank you goes in their direction.  

We are super happy to finally be able to announce Winter Burrow and we look forward to telling you more. Feel free to Wishlist the game and join our Discord for ongoing updates.  

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