Grow Home; A Non-Racing Game By Ubisoft Reflections


While Ubisoft generally tends to deal with annualized game franchises designed to churn out games at a maximum profit margin, that doesn’t mean that some of their studios don’t get to take chances or risks each year. A strong of example of this last year was Child of Light, a turn-based RPG that included characters speaking in rhyme. This year, a small team at Ubisoft Reflections came together to build an experimental project that turned into a quirky climbing game called Grow Home. The game will be released on PC on February 4th.

Grow Home, starting out as a tool to create procedural animation in Ubisoft titles, blossomed into a story of BUD (Botanical Utility Droid) and his mission to find crucial flora needed to provide oxygen to his home planet. Coming across a gigantic “Star Plant,” BUD’s goal is to grow, cultivate and harvest the Star Plant. Manipulating the enormous plant will shift the landscape and open up new areas using the procedural animation tools mentioned before.

While it’s great to see a small/mid-range product like Gone Home come to fruition, I still don’t understand the insistence on calling it an “Indie” game. It is labeled as such on the Steam Store, a category full of games such as This War of Mine, Insurgency, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and Banished.

AAA studios should always be rewarded for taking chances on creative and artistic gaming projects, but at the end of the day Ubisoft is a company that employs more people than any other publisher in the world. They have more than 9,000 employees worldwide. If Grow Home doesn’t make its money back, the end result isn’t likely career-shattering. The personal investment of the developers is likely on par with a true independent developer, but the financial investment isn’t. They still needed approval from higher ups within Ubisoft to publish the game. “Indie” isn’t a catchall word for “not $60,” and diminishes what it truly means to create a game independently.

With that said, I can’t wait to see what Grow home can do using its control scheme. A gamepad is recommended for gameplay, while buttons are mapped on the left and right side of the controller to control BUD’s limbs. Plus, its minimalist art style helps mold this experimental game into something worth intrigue.

Grow Home will be released on PC on February 4th. Check out the teaser trailer below.

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