Regardless of the medium or subculture, you’d be hard-pressed to find a passionate community that doesn’t have some sort of stigma attached to it. It’s also more than likely you’ve encountered the Furry community and the stigmas surrounding it in your online travels. Winds of Change, a 2D adventure game developed by Tall Tail Studios, seeks to stand in the face of any negativity and provide an outlet for people to engage with and better understand this rich community full of creatives, easing the stress this stigma puts on members of the community.
According to Klace, the game’s creator, “the Furry Fandom seems to exist in a bubble. It hasn’t quite popped, and been exposed or integrated into our way of life like other fandoms and communities have. It’s lagged behind quite a bit, especially when you take into account some of the ‘questionable’ representation we’ve had in mainstream media.” He doesn’t feel this will last forever though, positing that “the furry fandom is on the fence, and tipping more toward the direction of acceptance.”
Acknowledging that an important part of Winds of Change is its ability to cross over and appeal to those outside of the Furry community as well as those within, Klace continued, noting “there’s no such thing as a ‘Furry game’, or a ‘game for Furries’. A game is just that — a game, and it deserves to stand on the quality of its own merits. If even one person can walk away from Winds of Change with a different outlook on what a Furry is, and possibly even consider looking into the community, then I’d consider the game a massive success in the push for progression.”
Given that the game offers an unflinchingly honest portrayal of the community, there are those who hope this normalization will help alleviate the stress some furries encounter in trying to balance their passion and excitement with professional, day-to-day expectations. According to voice actor and furry, Sean Chiplock, the topic is a more universal one, noting “it really boils down to whether it’s possible – or reasonable – to organically mix personal interests with professional ones in a given situation.”
Speaking to the furry community specifically, he noted “it’s still generally seen as a bad idea for a furry to outright discuss fandom conventions, costumes, or content with the average public, because that begins to dive into details and topics most people might not understand on a surface level and don’t have the time or willingness to research on their own. Like telling jokes at a funeral, it risks being a case of Appropriate Content, Inappropriate Environment. I think over time, as more and more people become familiar with the fandom and the good it can produce, more of those environments will become appropriate as well.”
Winds of Change is 2D adventure game that blends elements of open-world RPGs, point-and-click adventures, and visual novels to create something that feels truly unique. Incorporating its open world with a non-linear narrative, the unique ability to inhabit different characters’ bodies to experience the story from their perspective, a fully-voiced narrative, and a wealth of side quests to tackle, this is a genre mashup unlike anything you’ve ever seen.