How an untitled goose changed the game

On September 20th 2019, a four-person indie game studio based in Australia, House House, released a new icon into the gaming industry. A goose. The premise of Untitled Goose Game is a simple one: ‘It’s a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose’. Your mission? To cause mischief and have fun doing it. What started as a joke between friends is now a joke that everyone can be in on, having sold 100,000 copies within the first two weeks of release.

Image result for untitled goose game

Iconic (Source: Untitled Goose Game)

In the gaming world, there is an established code that bleak, gritty violence is the ultimate form of realism, and the tropes that drive this are now so commonplace that it seems rare to find a game without this. What Untitled Goose Game does so charmingly is move the definition of realism towards everyday life, reintroducing a kind of joyful, playful approach to creativity that can be lacking, and not just in gaming. Undoubtedly, games like Call of Duty and Untitled Goose Game appeal to different audiences, but it is refreshing to see a game that is based around such a silly idea receive so much appreciation (and a trailer edited to Lizzo’s “Juice”)

What Untitled Goose Game also encourages is an attitude of ‘doing things just for fun’. Most games, even non-violent ones, revolve around an end goal or achievement of some kind, and the world at large puts increasing pressure on making valuable use of time. While there is a To Do list in Untitled Goose Game, it functions more as a suggestion of ways you can explore the game, and cause some mischief in the process. Besides, if the idea is realism, geese can’t read a To Do list.

So what does this mean for brands? We’re not suggesting that every brand tries to manufacture silliness or relatability – this is hard to do well and, if not executed well, can be perceived as insincere or irresponsible. But the creation (and success) of Untitled Goose Game does allude to a cultural undercurrent of people who are actively seeking a more fun, carefree approach, which brands are able to respond to. The world is already full of dark, sleek, edgy, perfect, gritty messages – don’t be afraid to bring some joy and colour into the mix. Be a goose.

Hannah Milligan

Header image: Untitled Goose Game, House House 

 


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