Adventure games are slow-paced by their very nature, with no big hurry to get where you're going. But what if you're going nowhere? What if your goal is simply to stay right where you are... for 400 years!? That's precisely what players will be tasked to do when indie German developer Studio Seufz releases :THE LONGING: later this year.
In this game "about loneliness, escapism and the eternal search for purpose," players assume the role of the last servant of a king that must sleep for 400 days in order to restore his powers and regain control of his underground kingdom. Your one and only duty is to "stay in the cave alongside the king until he awakens. In utter loneliness, miles below the surface, it is now your task to wait. For 400 days. In real-time." How you choose to fill your idle hours is entirely up to you, however, as you "decide what to do with your solitary existence beneath the soil."
Presented in a charming hand-drawn art style, the subterranean environment of :THE LONGING: may be confining but it will change to reflect the passage of time, as "moss and mushrooms grow, spiders craft their webs [and] stalactites break and fall." Rather than offer an objective-driven experience, the game is an open-ended invitation to approach your long watch the way you see fit. Do you "simply want to wait? Do you want to build a home for yourself?" If you'd prefer, you can even sit cozily and "read real, complete books, mostly classics of world literature" to wile away the hours.
The countdown begins the moment you begin, and will continue to run "even when you stop playing and exit the game." There are plenty of ways to occupy your attention when present, however, such as "collecting items in the cave and putting them in your underground living room" or even attempting to "escape from the cave by taking the dark and dangerous path to the top." Either way, there promises to be "a number of obstacles the player has to overcome, each of them using the concept of time differently," whether you "let a spider craft its web, which lasts days, or plant mushrooms in the right spots to let them grow bigger."
There's some waiting to do before :THE LONGING: even arrives, but less than 400 days as the game is on track to launch on Steam for PC sometime before the end of the year.