Oh, bother: Winnie the Pooh gets the bloodlust again in this Eldritch horror game set in the Hundred Acre Wood

Christopher Robin is in trouble, and it's up to you to save him! But it's not the sort of trouble you might expect from A.A. Milne's most famous tale. Something has happened to the Hundred Acre Wood—it's been twisted by some unknown cosmic force—and now Christopher Robin is facing "a fate too terrible to imagine" in a horrifyingly familiar world.

Hundred Acre Wood is a "first-person action adventure" that promises a Lovecraft-style take on a world filled with heffalumps, woozles, and cherished characters like Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, and of course Piglet and Winnie the Pooh, none of whom are quite as we remember them.

"Run, hide, platform, solve puzzles, and shoot as you explore the Hundred Acre Wood's regions in any order you want," the Steam page says. "Do whatever it takes to avoid Winnie-the-Pooh as you sneak past the hostile creatures hiding in the darkness. Discover the ruins of a once innocent child’s refuge as you uncover ancient secrets hinting at a reality beyond human comprehension."

The audio quality of the narration in the trailer is noticeably not good, but I did get a genuine laugh out of the line, "I can't exactly explain what happened to make his friends so upset, or why you did what you did to that poor pig." But I dig the visual style, and of course the whole idea of "Pooh's gonna kill you" is intriguing in its own right.

A bloody cosmic horror game based on a beloved children's fable is made possible by US copyright law. A.A. Milne's original Winnie-the-Pooh was first published in 1926 and entered the public domain on January 1, 2022, meaning the text and characters it contains are basically free for anyone to do with as they see fit. That's how we ended up with, for instance, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, an indie slasher flick that was released earlier this year.

But stories and characters that were published later remain bound by copyright, which is why Tigger isn't in Hundred Acre Wood despite being such a well-known character: He didn't appear until 1928, so won't enter the public domain until January 1, 2024. Disney also holds trademark rights to its specific interpretation of the characters, too, so the public domain Pooh Bear has his old-fashioned, all-naked look, rather than the stylized red-shirt version we're more familiar with. It's all a bit of a muddle: Plagiarism Today has a good breakdown of how it all works.

This isn't the first bizarro-world videogame take on a traditional children's story—that honor, I believe, goes to American McGee's Alice—and it's not the only one currently in the works, either: Pinnochio is getting a similar treatment in the upcoming soulslike Lies of P, which is set to come out in August. Hundred Acre Wood doesn't have a release date yet, but it's available now for wishlising on Steam.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.