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Minnesota Zoo Developing Multiplayer/RPG 'WolfQuest'

by Rainier on Aug. 9, 2007 @ 3:55 p.m. PDT

WolfQuest is a new project that brings the immersive, compelling drama and action of video games to informal science learning while creating a model for nationwide distribution. WolfQuest will teach wolf behavior and ecology through its exciting gameplay and intense social interactions.

WolfQuest is an immersive 3D multiplayer role-playing game. Players join a wolf pack made up of friends or computer-controlled wolves and, through trial and error, instinct, and experience, learn to maximize both individual and pack survival. Each player discovers how to compete or cooperate, challenge or submit, and defend or attack during complex interactions within the pack. Players find they must balance individual and pack needs in order to increase their collective ability to hunt, defend territory, avoid danger, and protect their young. As they respond to challenges presented by their environment, players will experientially learn about habitat quality, prey populations, and the impact of human presence on the landscape. As they explore a variety of strategies to succeed in the game, players will exercise critical thinking and inquiry skills. Gameplay will create a strong emotional connection between players and wolves, changing player's attitudes toward wolves and habitat conservation in the real world.

The WolfQuest game will be released in two phases, both versions will be available for free download.

WolfQuest: Amethyst Mountain

Single-player features:

  • Create your wolf avatar, selecting male or female, choosing from a range of realistic wolf coats (and customizing the coat with color tints), and configuring its abilities (strength, speed, and stamina).
  • Explore four square kilometers of alpine wilderness on the slopes of Amethyst Mountain in Yellowstone National Park, running across open meadows, through dense fir forests, and along sheer cliffs.
  • Hunt elk. Follow scent trails to locate elk herds, then sneak up on the herd, find the weakest one, and begin your attack. Pursue your prey and sap its strength while dodging its counterattacks, to make the kill.
  • Fight grizzly bears for control of elk carcasses.
  • Harrass coyotes who try to eat elk carcasses, or just for the fun of it.
  • Chase and eat snowshoe hares.
  • Follow scent trails to find stranger wolves. Communicate with them through wolf vocalizations and behaviors.
  • Challenge other wolves for territory.
  • Find a mate and establish a bond.
  • Earn Experience Points to unlock greater challenges and give you bragging rights with other players.
  • Earn enough experience points and, with your mate, try to take down a bull elk without suffering a killing blow from its hooves.

Multi-player features:

  • All of the above (except find a mate)—with your friends!
  • Form a pack with 2-4 players in private multiplayer sessions.
  • Text chat with your packmates as you play.
  • Challenge other players for dominance.
  • Explore the slopes of Amethyst Mountain together, hunting elk, harassing coyotes, and defending your territory from non-player wolves.

Release date: December 2007

WolfQuest: Survival of the Pack

Single-player features:

  • The complete Amethyst Ridge game, which now becomes the Fall level in a four-season single-player campaign.
  • Explore new areas of Yellowstone National Park, including the Lamar Valley in wintertime and denning grounds during springtime.
  • Establish a territory for your family pack through raised-leg urination marking, then defend it from other wolf packs through social challenges.
  • Find a safe den site and produce a litter of pups.
  • Keep your pups healthy and well-fed until they can hunt for themselves.
  • Venture away from your territory on risky missions to kill sheep on nearby ranchland.
  • Once your pups are old enough, hunt as a pack!

Multi-player features:

  • Explore, hunt, and defend territories on the slopes of Amatheyst Mountain, in the Lamar Valley, and in other new areas from the single-player campaign.
  • Tackle special missions like "Capture the carcass" as pack.

Release date: June 2008

System Requirements: Computer running Mac OS 10.3+, Windows XP or Windows Vista. Detailed requirements to be determined.

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