“The Path – Prologue”, a new chapter. Free.

The Path - PrologueInstead of extracting part of The Path and releasing it as a free trial, we made a brand new chapter, similar to parts of the game, but not the same. It should give you a free taste of the atmosphere of the game and be a good test for your computer’s ability to handle our technology.

In The Path – Prologue, you control the mysterious Girl in White. There’s a not a lot of gameplay in this demo. This should inform players looking for that sort of thing that The Path is perhaps not for them. It’s just about exploring the forest and pondering the sights.

Something strange seems to have happened. Did it really happen before the Red Girls visited the forest? How is that possible?

Download The Path – Prologue here!
Available for Mac and PC.

56 thoughts on ““The Path – Prologue”, a new chapter. Free.”

  1. It is absolutly fantastic you have made this decission. You offer a demo for people who has not played the Path and, at the same time, you reward the Path players with another chapter! Brilliant.

    I must say now that your prices are wonderful and highly competitives. The Path cost me 7,90€ and I would have payed for it 15 € with no problems. 20€ would be a little too expensive, but I would have payed that amount easily. So it is fantastic not just the kind of experience you offer, but the price you offer it too. I’m going to tell you I showed The Path to a friend, and he liked it but he was afraid it would cost like a regular game, and then, when I told him the real price he was really amazed and happy, so he bought it. Take this as an example of how not being money-focused works and pay you off too.

  2. What are the system requirements for it (for Mac) Is it the same as the full game? I downloaded it an it says I can’t run it on this version of OSX software (10.5.6).

  3. Kristin, it _should run on 10.5.6, no problem. maybe there is another problem? please email us so we can check it out!

  4. Awesome! Tested it on my mother’s computer, and to my surprise: it worked without lag!

    Downloading Steam so I can finally play it with >15 FPS. :)

    Only problem now is with my keyboard. I can’t turn right when running. But well, that’ll keep me from rushing through life… I mean The Path.

  5. “An interactive demo *with an entirely new chapter of the game*.”

    I played the demo, after playing the entire game… and I didn’t find an entirely new chapter of the game… It seems like the epilogue/girl in white chapter, with removed elements. All you can do is visit burnt down locations from the game, and collect flowers…

    …If anyone found this *New Chapter*, please tell me otherwise.

  6. Thank you for playing The Path, Anonymous. I’m surprised that you made it to the end without the sensitivity to appreciate the Prologue. Did you enjoy The Path at all? (just curious)

  7. Yes, but I have no compatible game controller, and kind of dislike the mouse movement.

  8. I think I can understand what anonymous is trying to say.

    I played through The Path and enjoyed it immensely. I spent the time to collect all of the items in order to be able to interpret the personalities of each girl and their wolves, in order to figure out what I thought had occurred in the game, both in actual and metaphorical senses, and I really think you did a good job in creating a game that works, in this sense, like art (that is to say, that like a novel or painting, it has multiple interpretations that change depending on who the reader or viewer is). This game is by no means perfect, but it definitely helps to push video games closer to being a medium that has real value and meaning.

    But playing through the prologue, like anonymous, I had difficulty in figuring out where the prologue fit into the game. I simply encountered the areas that I had when playing through the normal game, but instead they were shrouded in smoke and appeared that they had been recently burned.

    I’m not chastising the two of you on this prologue, far from it. I’m simply stating that I had difficulty understanding it. Perhaps I have missed something, however. I’ll play through it again and explore further to see if I did.

  9. We understand what you guys are saying and its fine. But we just desire you to accept it as it is, for what it is. Understand it, or not. It is a simple experience and not something with a ‘grand meaning’. It fits as a Prologue, nothing more.

  10. I think I know what you’re saying. The Prologue basically serves as the exposition for the game, or the part that introduces you to the setting, themes, etc.?

  11. I do heartily recommend The Path if only for its unique experience alone. I did personally enjoy it, and am still finding different interpertations as I wrack my brain trying to figure out what it means,

    The prologue works fine as a demo/teaser version of The Path, I’m not sure if the smoke alludes to the reality of the mystery of The Path… But if it does, perhaps the six girls are already deceased, and the girl in white is a witness (and perhaps the cause) to something much more dark and sinister that occured in the forest.

  12. pretty funny that the people who claim to have enjoyed the full version don’t get the prologue. despite the fact that the game is so resistant to being played, that’s still really the only thing it has going for it.

    not surprising though, given that it was marketed to the gamer community, as a game. not until after release, once criticism was inevitable, were excuses for the resentful mechanics made by demeaning the medium.

  13. Kristin (and others) Turns out there was a problem with the Prologue running on OSX 10.5.6. Its been fixed now. Please see this blog post.

  14. hkpv, sorry you feel that way. we make no excuses for making what we love. and you should read our blog from the beginning, we’ve always been this way. maybe you just don’t know us well enough.

  15. Hi, first of all, I’m Welks. I decided to turn into my real name as I felt uncomfortable while talking to people that doesn’t hide themselves behind a nickname. So here I am. xD

    I just wanted to say I don’t really understand the generalised need of a linear plot. It seems while trying to tell something, you have no other options but to tell it in a one-sided and straightforward way, or in a way translatable to this last one.

    Personally, I neither need this in The Path, nor in other games, nor in cinema or whatever expressive medium you can imagine. When I play The Path the dimension I feel interested for is the emotional one. I don’t really care for what really happened, but for what that events felt like for the character. Of course, I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong or if this is an adequate choice, but it’s the way I feel comfortable with while playing The Path.

  16. I played this and I don’t get it. I just kept walking forward, slowly, and eventually I got to a fence with a house, and the game was over.

    What the heck was the point of that? Is the full game like this?

  17. @Jorge: There’s no “wrong” or “right” way of playing The Path. Just keep doing what feels comfortable for you.

  18. At first, I ran from the start of The Path to the finish, heeding what the text said. After the demo ending and nothing actually happening, I realised to see anything of the game you needed to stray from The Path (presumably this is a metaphor for life, nothing can go wrong if you follow The Path, and if you decide to stray to look at the beautiful scenery and what is there, things can go wrong).
    However, after spending half an hour wandering around trying to find some hint of what this game was about, and finding flowers to collect and random burnt out areas I gave up. I realise this is an artistic game, and the effects are nice and it’s relatively haunting in how it’s presented.
    Obviously telling the person what to do would defeat the objective of the game (outside of following The Path), but really how does this make for an entertaining experience if I have to slowly go around collecting flower after flower, which is the only meaningful objective I can make out? I hope I’m missing something, but as it is I don’t want to plunge into my wallet for an experience identical for this, so is there more to the main game than this?

  19. Yes, Olly, there is a lot more to The Path than you can see in the Prologue. The areas with the smoke, for instance contain objects you can interact with. And some of them a character you can interact with. “You” meaning one of six different avatars that you play one by one (in the game, the Girl In White is an autonomous companion). And then there’s grandmother’s house. You can only see the outside in the Prologue, but in the full game, you can enter the house. And find it’s a lot bigger than it looks…

  20. Olly–
    There is much more to the game. Like six characters, multiple things (other than flowers!) to find, thoughts to share, fears to confront. It’s a very individual experience.

    The game itself is like the Ouroboros Worm. It’s an ongoing cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
    To quote Dr. Manhattan: “Nothing ever ends.”

  21. Hm, okay, I read up on the game a little more since I posted that as well, and realised there is more to it than in the Prologue. Seeing as it’s so cheap, I’ll probably give it a go. Sounds like an interesting experience at least.
    I realise it’s a little bit of an experiment releasing a Prologue rather than a real demo also, but if there is more to the real game, then I feel you’re misrepresenting the game and doing yourselves a disservice to those like me who are testing the water with this Prologue.
    It provides a look at the scenery, the atmosphere and a general outline, but it gives nothing of what reviewers have said is the greatest part of The Path, the way you interpret different interactions and parts of the girls’ personalities.
    If anything, I’d expect a short Prologue to be more eventful than the game, not less eventful, in order to interest people in the product. Though it is your decision of course, being the artists I’m sure you know what you wanted to evoke and create with the Prologue.

  22. It’s difficult to represent The Path well without showing the entire game. Especially since a lot of the joy comes from slowly working your way deeper into the soul of things. At least the Prologue allows you to test our technology on your computer. But I agree that it doesn’t do much in terms of persuasion. Then again, as you point out, the full game is only 10 Dollars. So not much of a risk.

  23. Fantastic idea to promote the path without hacking it to pieces, and it’s even a addition to those who already bought the game. I’ll definitely give it a go!

  24. Tell me: is something supposed to happen when you collect all 144 flowers in the demo? I’ve just finished collecting them, and nothing happens. If there is something I should do, could you at least give me a hint?

    I liked the visual style. It looks great despite being below today’s technical standards. Otherwise, well, what can I say? Looks like an artsy game/piece of software, and I have a hard time really enjoying them, but at least it made me curious. I wouldn’t buy it though.

  25. Dear brt, if you had the patience and persistence to collect all 144 flowers without getting bored, I’d say you’re ready for The Path and you really should get it! :)

    There is no reward for collecting all the flowers. That’s sort of the point. Have a look here for some tips that may help.

  26. Thanks for the quick reply.

    Don’t take offense. I wasn’t implying that The Path is a bad game. It’s just that, given my resources and the way I felt playing the game, I don’t think the game is compelling enough for my tastes.

    The whole ambiance and the strange, increasingly difficult search for the flowers made me curious, which is why I tried to collect all 144 of them. Given the “challenge”, I thought something might happen if I collected them. I didn’t nicessarily expect a reward of some kind, but I certainly expected something to happen. I was disappointed in that regard. Maybe you will find it a bit shallow on my part, but I still play my games to enjoy them and have fun (whatever the form it takes), so I’m not surprised that The Path didn’t really appeal to me.

    Maybe having no reward is the point, but even so, this is the kind of point I don’t really enjoy even if I get it. With that said, I wish you good luck with everything. You and Auriea certainly know how to create a unique ambiance.

  27. Embarressingly, I spent about 2 hours playing the “demo” of the game because I really thought there was a purpose to it. After wandering and running around for a while, I started collecting flowers in the tired hope that possibly they would do something, only to realize after stumbling onto this webpage that there’s no ‘accomplishment’ to make in the demo. Perhaps a disclaimer telling people that the demo lacks interactive elements would be handy and would inform people that the actual game is not entirely pointless wandering.

  28. But “pointless wandering” is the most important part of the experience! 😉

    You’re right that going in with the wrong expectations can lead to disappointment. And in the full game, it’s probably easier to adjust your expectations more quickly (even though some people never do…). But I’m not sure if we should warn people too much. Many have reported that this confrontation with their gaming habits was enlightening.

  29. Let me preface by saying I am an immersion junkie, and that characteristic is a major criteria when I evaluate a game. I was quite delighted to find The Path Prologue on Steam, and even more delighted while playing it. I am eager to purchase the full version of The Path, but I first wanted to make note of my experience with the Prologue. I highly recommend it. This game is art incarnate, and delivers on its promise of an immersive an experiential plaything (rather than a “game” of high scores and princess-saving). There is only one point of failure on that–and admittedly perhaps this is more the fault of the player than the designers in this case, yet we “gamers” appreciate any extra nudge the designers can provide to further remove us from our every-day stopwatch worlds and place us more securely on the designers’ imaginary terra firma. The concern is the flowers: While I found the collection of them to be a nice bread-crumb incentive to explore areas of the Prologue I had not discovered, it is the numbering of them with which I take issue. Seeing “1 of 144” appear on the screen began a flicking at my “fetch-quest” instinct, a bad habit evolved from years of traditional gameplay, goading me until I managed to find 143. Two hours later, I gave up on finding the last and came here– only to discover I had been duped by my own expectations, there is no achievement for collecting a complete set other than some small self-satisfaction. But then again, even as I write this, I wonder if perhaps even that small detail was intentional in bringing about the mirror-looking-back-at-you experience of The Path. Thank you, and keep writing games, please!

  30. Thank you.

    This is indeed intentional. Some people have called us cruel. 😉

    It’s difficult to make a game for a broad audience. different people like different things. And with The Path we needed to appeal to a reasonably sized group of them. So we included elements in the design that appeal to different people. As a result, per definition, The Path cannot be perfect. Not for a single person. That saddens me, as an artist. But it’s a fact we need to accept.

    We know that there are a lot of people ready for an experience that is completely devoid of game structure. And their number does seem to grow. It wasn’t like that when we started the design of The Path three years ago. Hence probably an excess of ironic comments on game design and gaming habits.

    Still, that humour adds another layer to the game. And you can never have too many layers! 😉

  31. I played the prologue first, and it definitely got me intrigued and wanting to learn more. It has a kind of mystery in its own right. The nature of the forest continues to elude me, but I love thinking about it.

    I wonder about the placement of the prologue. Does it happen before the girls come to the forest? (Apparently the white girl is entirely supernatural or perhaps metaphorical, since she appears the same age later).

    The livejournal pages indicate that the grandmother and mother both know something of the forest. Reverse psychology, perhaps, telling the sisters to stay on the path? A necessity in order to grow up?

  32. So I enjoyed the atmosphere presented in Prolouge. I’ve heard fantastic things about The Path and I’m eager to try the whole game. The entire concept intrigued me and I don’t doubt that you’ve achieved something fantastic. But I have to say that what I just played was a terrible demo.

    I feel that by removing all interactivity from the demo you’ve actually managed to undermine your own game; the idea of a structureless, ambient game is intact, but everything else, everything that I hear is great about the game, is missing, and by this you don’t show what The Path is about, and lose potential buyers of the full game. You say that it’s mainly to test a user’s hardware? Well, it would be nice to label it as a testing trial rather then a game demo, then. I feel like I’ve wasted my time.

  33. I’m not sure what to say. I’m pissed and annoyed, I feel like I’m an idiot for not getting it.

    I tried the demo without knowing anything about the game. I knew it was special and I was ready for a new experience.

    On my first run I entered the house right away, the demo ended.

    Alright I give it another shot.

    I run all around the place expecting to find something and I find nothing. Not even a flower. You don’t see flowers when you run…

    I quit after 10-15mins.

    I read some more about it and give it another shot.

    I found a flower!

    1 of 144…

    Alright let’s find them all!

    135 of 144. My map is showing trails all around the place. It took me a good 2 hours to get there.

    I’m annoyed. I read some more.

    Apparently the demo is just to show the setting, collecting flowers is pointless.

    I really tried to. I really wanted to have a glimpse of what this experience was about. I really wanted to see a bit of this wierd story.

    I loved the atmosphere, loved the visuals, loved the dynamic sound track.

    I don’t know…

  34. I loved the atmosphere, loved the visuals, loved the dynamic sound track.

    Sounds like that would be worth your 10 Dollars to me! :)
    Try it!

    Sorry for the “demo”. We didn’t feel like extracting part of the game and we really wanted to create the situation in the Prologue. But it probably makes more sense to people who have played to full game.

  35. The thing is, Prologue is sold as a demo; at least, it’s labelled as such on Steam. People buy demos in order to see if they like the game, but Prologue in’t representitive of the whole game. People will walk away thinking the full game will be crap based on the demo.

    I genuinely think that Prologue will ultimately be detrimental to your sales. Which is a shame, because I respected you trying something different to just extracting part of the full game, it’s a far better approach for many reasons.

  36. PabloPicante – “you don’t see the flowers when you run…”

    Perhaps that’s the life metaphor that the flower search was meant to illustrate. Or maybe not – art can be so subjective.

  37. I bought the full game, and spent a while tinkering with it. I like exploring, imagineering etc.

    It was worth it, it’s an entertaining piece of art that makes the player examine aspects of their own personality. I spent the good part of a whole day wandering around the forest (which then inspired an hour or so of internet searching, wanting to know what other people thought – not something I normally do 😛 )

    Grandmother’s house itself is brilliant. And terrifying. I mean psychologically, it really freaked me out. In many different ways.

    Once I found out that all you could do in the prologue was observe, I gave up on it. The interaction with the bird was promising though.

  38. I read good things about the game on the web, but wanted a taste before I buy. Coming to this Prologue, I was impressed with the ambience, but not much more. Once it became reasonable to expect that the point was the immersion, my interest waned.

    Those interested in similar concepts could see Eno’s work with light installations and ambient music. Similarly, this project seemed to resonate with the idea of the Long Now, and you might advertise it to that group.

    Lastly, I note in some replies above that you’ve taken the player to task for their experience: “you made it to the end without the sensitivity to appreciate the Prologue.” That comment alone dissuades me from purchasing the product. If the point is the experience, then even the unexpected or negative one has some value and instruction, and I was surprised to see you label the player/patron as inadequately sensitive.

  39. I think it might be appropriate to say at this point dmax, that you should not read too much into it all. That if you think the game sounds interesting to you, it probably will be. And second or third guessing something said in a thread now months old is taking lots of things out of context. So, while we absolutely do take any and all reactions as valuable, whole mountains of reactions have poured on our heads at various moments leading us to make various statements each within its own circumstances. None of which have anything to do with whether or not you will actually enjoy our game or not. Love the art, not necessarily the artist, if you know what I’m saying. Some people really are not sensitive. Others are.

  40. I have a question about Prologue… I’ve tried to download it a number of times (the last time through Steam), but it won’t play on my computer. It flips my screen sideways, then freezes at ‘Tale of Tales Presents’. Has anyone reported ever having this problem? I’ve looked around online, but I can’t seem to find anything acknowledging this. I have the same computer as my friend (Windows XP), and I’m pretty sure it’s working fine for her. I really want to buy the game, but I don’t want to do that unless I know it’ll work on my computer. If anybody could give me some advice, I would really appreciate it.

  41. Courtney, first make sure your videocard can run the game. Next make sure you have the most recent driver for your videocard. Finally, hold down the SPACE bar while the application starts up to get a window where you can choose a proper resolution. Good luck!

  42. Thank you for a such … consummate game!
    You know, I’ve played a lot of quests, both “Syberia”’s are my favourites, but now “The Path” joins to them. I like the main idea of indefinite plot. I mean, that a gamer has free hand with girls. But I don’t understand the rating: the success of the chapter depends on gamer’s meeting wsth the “Wolf”, but there is something wrong with collected things and some locations. As I can understand, sometimes it is impossible to reach “A”.
    One more thing is about the ending. The epilogue is the extra chapter with the girl-in-white. Who is she? And why her dress become red? What had happened with those 6 girls?
    I guess, you want the gamer to invent him/herself, but it’s interesting for me, what sense did you insert, when you were creating this game.

    “The Path” is superb! Thank you for making that!

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