Untitled Goose Game Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things [Preview]

Stealth games are usually fraught with self-serious violence. Yes, you can see a guy crap himself in just about every Metal Gear Solid, but that’s usually between all the murder you can see and do. The genre has rarely asked itself if it would be better suited by some asshole goose rather than some gravelly asshole. This all changes with Untitled Goose Game, a stealth game that is initially as hilarious as it sounds.

Other than that time Old Snake rudely vomited all over the floor inside Outer Haven in Metal Gear Solid 4, stealth heroes usually leave the environment as pristine as possible. Get in, get out, and be as much like a ghost as possible. The goose in Untitled Goose Game is not as polite. Let me not mince words: the goose is total dick.

Untitled Goose Game Preview: Goofy Goose

untitled goose game

And that dickishness is the core of this game. It drops you into a small level and gives you a checklist of mischievous tasks to complete like stealing the gardener’s keys, dragging his rake into the lake, and making a picnic (by taking food). But the gardener, in this specific stage, wasn’t a big fan of a big honkin’ goose roaming around and goofing off in his garden. Whenever he sees the goose, he makes a beeline for you and chases you away by swatting at you and making you drop what you’re holding. His understandable goose aversion is why you must be sneaky like a snake.

While it’s unclear how long it’ll stay fresh for given the relative lack of mechanical depth, it’s a blast waddling around and wreaking havoc. Low-intensity havoc, but havoc nonetheless. It takes the most basic elements of a stealth game—move around and don’t get caught—and coats them in the lowest stakes imaginable. It was hilarious to do and just as funny to the many bystanders I had around me during my demo. But despite the hilarity that was a direct product of my actions, Nico Disseldorp, co-designer and programmer, tried to stick up for the goose in his game and his naughty actions.

“You can do some nice things,” he said. “You can… uh… put [the gardener’s] carrots away.”

Disseldorp’s dismal defense of this winged terrorist went a little at odds with its inception. A simple JPEG that was randomly dropped in Slack birthed the idea for the game. From there, the team knew exactly what they wanted to do next.

“A goose picture itself was the origins for the game,” said Disseldorp.” Everything went from there. What would a goose do? Give everyone a bad time.”

It’s awfully telling that a whole team can look at an animal and think, “That animal is a jerk. Let’s make a game around it.” That methodology probably also helped Ben Esposito make Donut County. The team then started looking at British children TV shows for inspiration to understand how to make a compelling experience with beings that do not speak.

Untitled Goose Game Preview: Nesting on the Switch

untitled goose game

But despite that beginning, the team is putting the game on the Switch first, as was the case with plenty of other indie titles at the show. Even though it’ll also launch alongside the PC version, it’s an odd clash of ideals since the Switch is arguably the most family friendly mainstream console currently on the market. And that was actually quite important to the team when deciding to put the game on a non-PC platform.

“It’s a friendly console and that matters to this game,” said Disseldorp. “Our general audience is not just gamers. The Switch is for ‘normal’ people and it’s accessible. We tried to make it appealing to those types of people. You can just see it and understand what it is.”

Although, like many of those aforementioned Switch and PC titles, the game is coming to Nintendo’s popular console for another, more simple reason: the team just really likes the system.

“We are playing it all the time,” he said. “It is emotionally appealing to be using the thing we were playing. It’s not really anything deeper. We’re just making what we want to make on what we want to make it on.”

Untitled Goose Game is one of the games that people love to talk about. And for good reason: it’s hilarious and has been every time I have seen it at events. Although, given its comedic nature, I hope it knows how to work with its premise and not devolve into a tired joke by the end. Given what I have seen and played, I have faith and even though it may not have an “official” name, it has me officially excited to finally play as the bastard goose I’ve always secretly wanted to be.