Indie designer Coyan Cardenas is going back to the farm with The Stillness of the Wind, a sequel to his 2017 game, Where the Goats Are. Once more, it’s you and your animals in a lonely, dreamy landscape burnished with deep golds and reds. It has a larger scope, so Cardenas has teamed with publisher Surprise Attack Games. The Stillness of the Wind will debut later this year on PC.
The Stillness of the Wind and Where the Goats Are share a similar look and feel. You play as an elderly woman who’s the descendent of the previous game’s protagonist. She’s also named Talma, and she’s inherited the family farm and all that it entails — tending to the goats, collecting their milk, gathering chickens’ eggs, making cheese. You spend your days caring for the farm and reading letters from family and friends who have moved away. Your only human contact is a traveling merchant who stops by every day.
“There were so many ideas that I had while developing Where The Goats Are but didn’t have the time to implement them,” said Cardenas in an email to GamesBeat. “It was originally intended as a one-month-long project, so by the third month I just wanted to get it out and be done with it. The Stillness of the Wind is my attempt at fully realizing the vision I had for Goats, developing those ideas about the structure and exploring similar themes, but with all the trimmings too. For me The Stillness of the Wind is what Goats was supposed to be, giving it the time and resources it needs to be fully realized.”
Cardenas was working a full-time job while he made Where the Goats Are, and it forced him to cut a lot of the features he wanted to include. The Stillness of the Wind adds what he had to leave on the design document. Talma will now be able to develop a deeper relationship with the traveling merchant, and the player will be able to learn more about her past. The Stillness of the Wind takes place in the same world, with similar characters and even some similar beats.
“Whilst it wont be necessary to have played Goats prior to The Stillness, there are some nods and references that will be apparent to Goats fans,” said Cardenas. “I don’t want to spoil anything as narrative is crucial to the experience, however I can say that the elderly protagonist Talma is a descendant of the protagonist in Goats, and that whilst the structure and progression of the events are echoed, the story is very much all new but set within the same, consistent world.”
The Stillness of the Wind is Cardenas’s first commercial game — players can set their own price for Goats on the indie game platform Itch.io — and Cardenas says that he’s taking an altogether different approach to developing it. When he worked on Where the Goats Are, he didn’t plan ahead about what kind of goals or mechanics he wanted to include in the experience. He just started with an idea: “You’re on a farm, and you have goats.”
“So this time round I have more of an end goal in mind as I’m developing and a much clearer idea of the experience I’m trying to create, and so every asset, feature, mechanic is geared towards that vision, and if it doesn’t reinforce that higher concept then I change it or lose it,” said Cardenas. “I’m hoping this will lead to a more coherent, poignant and substantial experience overall.”
And he also has Surprise Attack, which has published indie darlings like Orwell and Hacknet. He teamed up with the publisher to get help with marketing and PR, but he also wanted someone who he could learn from since he’s still in the early stages of his career in games.
“I started talking to Surprise Attack pretty soon after Goats was launched and they have always been super excited for the game and respect my vision for it,” said Cardenas. “They seem to wholly trust me to make this game regardless of my lack of a track record of releasing commercial games, which in turn gives me confidence that I can actually pull it off.”