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Way to the Woods looks like a beautiful dream in debut trailer

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Like a deer-fronted Spirited Away

The last time we saw Way to the Woods — an adventure game that made the rounds on Tumblr and Reddit in late 2015 — it was just a series of screenshots with a teenage developer behind the wheel. Since then, 18-year-old developer Anthony Tan has secured a publishing deal for the project and made major headway on a playable version of the game, all while still in high school.

Tan is now ready to show off his last two years of work, courtesy of the game’s first trailer. The one-minute teaser above shows off the pair of deer that players will embody, as they travel through a mysterious woodland area. Along the way, they encounter floating sewer fish, wild hounds and talking cats, some of whom are friends, and others ... not so much. The whole aesthetic is reminiscent of Studio Ghibli classics like Spirited Away, as we first saw in those initial screens from long ago.

“There’s still a lot of the game to make,” Tan told Polygon about working on Way to the Woods, his first full-length game. “I had to take a lot of time to explore the world I wanted to express, the type of tone and gameplay I could execute properly.”

The teaser is our first peek at a playable build, which Tan expects to launch on PC and consoles in “early 2019.” Tan says Way to the Woods will likely be an experience lasting two-to-four hours. That may not sound long, but considering he’s working predominantly on his own, it’s an impressive feat.

“I feel like now I can actually make and deliver the game I had in mind,” Tan told us. Scroll through the screens in the gallery below for a closer look at what to expect from this pretty journey through the natural world.