Games about loss, grief or letting go are part of a growing genre with remarkable entries like Dear Esther, What Remains of Edith Finch and That Dragon Cancer to recommend it. The First Tree joined that company last week.
On the surface, it’s a game about a fox looking for her missing kits. You explore gorgeous environments while listening to beautiful, relaxing music on that search. But while that’s going on, The First Tree also tells the story of a man who plans to reunite with his estranged father. Through narration, creator David Wehle ties those two narrative threads together into a brief, lovely experience.
According to Whele, the game has been a creative outlet for dealing with the stresses and wonders of fatherhood as well as the recent loss of his own father. As for why that story is best told through an allegory of a mother fox, he explains, “I love seeing intimate, domestic stories juxtaposed next to epic, origin-of-life stories, because in my mind they’re not that dissimilar. Microcosms next to macrocosms allow us to gain perspective in a way that was hidden before. Basically, The First Tree is a story about families.”
Wehle also created Home is Where One Starts, which also explores a narrator’s childhood and tragedy through relaxed wandering.
The First Tree is available now on PC and Mac through Steam.