Getting stuck on a remote island with limited supplies and a load of cannibals is a terrifying enough prospect but I had the fright of my life when the head of one of the surviving crew members inexplicably grew more than double its original size. This in itself wouldn't have been quite so disturbing if he hadn't been stood right behind me when I turned around, and then continued to follow me like Clifford the Big Red Dog dog. Or in this case, uh, Kelvin.
I enjoy survival games as much as the next person so I was excited to jump into Sons of the Forest. I lived through the helicopter crash, arrived on the island and began acclimatising myself to game—figuring out how controls worked and, more pressingly, how to get rid of the UI to take clean screenshots. The sacrifices I make for you, dear reader.
A quick scan of the various menu options told me I couldn't disable the UI entirely, but I could disable some of the individual elements, so I began turning some of them off. I couldn't figure out how to get rid of the health meters that track thirst, hunger, and so on, but I figured I'd make do. I took the screenshots I needed, went back into the menu, and flicked everything back on to continue playing.
It was at this point that I first noticed the change but naturally, I dismissed the massive head my fellow survivor was now brandishing as some kind of weird bug or glitch. It's an early access game, of course it's going to have some problems. I took a screenshot anyway and closed the game.
I discovered two things upon jumping into Sons of the Forest for the second time: the big heads were still present, even in a new game, and you need to build a shelter to save your progress. Luckily, I hadn't gotten very far anyway, and this time I spawned into a different area that was teeming with wildlife. I looked on in horror as control of my character was returned to me.
Not only was Kelvin, my surviving crew mate's head still huge and disturbing, the deer lying close by was also similarly afflicted. A bug that carries over into a new game? Surely not! And that's not the end of the nightmare. Every animal I could see also had abnormally large heads. Rabbits, squirrels, and several more deer were displaying these horrific proportions.
Now fully traumatized, I decided to share my findings with the PCG team on Slack, thinking I'd found some bizarre bug. Imagine, then, how mortifying it was to discover that what I'd found was not, in fact, a bug.
Apparently, when I re-enabled certain elements in the menu after taking screenshots earlier, I'd just switched everything back to "on", including Big Head mode. Who reads menu stuff anyway?
Needless to say, Kelvin looks far less threatening now and the animals don't look like they're about to topple over and/or murder you and your entire family in your sleep. For myself though, it will take a little longer to live down. Maybe I can find an island to migrate to until this all blows over.