First person exploration: Shape of the World casts you as an outsider experiencing a surreal world that reacts to your presence. Journey through vibrant ecosystems that spring to life with psychedelic colors, splashing waterfalls, luminous monoliths and graceful creatures.

A realm that leaves you free to progress at your own pace, without the incessant ticking of the clock. Find yourself pleasantly lost as you summit mountains, fly with whales, raise precipitous boardwalks and slide swiftly to new and ever stranger environments.


Shape of the World was successfully kickstarted in 2015 by Stu Maxwell, a senior VFX artist who worked on Gears of War 4.

Development began in early 2014, and Stu was soon joined by Athomas Goldberg, a 20-year veteran of the computer graphics industry, who specializes in procedural animation technology and Brent Silk, who is composing the game's music and sound effects. In 2015, Stu created Hollow Tree Games Inc. as the game's core team grew.

In 2017, Stu partnered with Plug In Digital and Seaven Studios to complete the game and get it onto Steam, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

“I’ve been pushing hard to bring Shape of the World to life on and off in my spare time after work for a few years now. It’s a colorful and surprising place I’ve made for people to relax after a busy day, inspired by all my stress-relieving hikes and bike rides through the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest where I live.” - Stu

Features/Game Design

  • Experiment with an organic and mysterious ecosystem: Play with mystical animals, ephemeral vegetation and intriguing monoliths.

  • A dynamic soundtrack that responds to the player’s travels: The audio environment is a central component of the game, amplifying your experience of the world.

  • Procedural Population: The forest only materializes around you when you get close, regrowing in a new way each time you pass. Will you find your way back?

  • First Person Exploration: More than just a walking simulator. Slide, soar and dive through a living world, at once familiar and alien.


Release date trailer

Teaser Trailer


Logo and Key Art

Selected Articles


"PSX 2017 Hands-On: Shape of the World is an Audio, Visual, and Tactile Wonder" - Chandler Wood, PlayStationLifeStyle

"Discover the Secrets of Shape of the World" - Stu Maxwell, PlayStation Blog

"Beautiful exploration game Shape of the World releases wondrous new trailer" - Jeffrey Matulef, Eurogamer



“Reving the Engine: Shape of the World" - Stu Horvath, Unwinnable, Volume 3, Issue 9, September 2016

“Shaping the World" - Max Maybee,  Forerunner,  North America #1 Issue (Images Copyright Charles S, Forerunner)


2015 FALL

“New Shape of the World GIFs Show Off Strange Creatures and Falling Monuments" - Chloi Rad, Kill Screen



“Shape of the World Wants Players to Take the Road Less Traveled" - Ethan Gach, Kill Screen

“Finding a Prettier Proteus in Shape of the World" - Danielle Riendeau and Charlie Hall, Polygon

“Gorgeous Walking Sim Shape of the World Hits Kickstarter" - Alice O'Connor, Rock, Paper, Shotgun

“Shape of the World is an Exploration Game That Grows Around You” - Phil Savage, PC Gamer

“Shape of the World Brings Its Players Along The Way" - Oliver Klatt, Wired Germany

“Navigating a Dreamscape Wilderness in Shape of the World" - Annie-Narae Lee, Indie Juice

“Shape of the World, A Game You Should Know About ” - Curtis DIllon GameSkinny

“Shape of the World's Beautiful Environments Change As You Explore - Lena LeRay, Indie Games: The Weblog

“The Procedural Beauty of Shape of the World" - Callum Rakestraw, Entertainium

“Shape of the World Preview: A Walk in the Park" - Jill Randolph, XBLA Fans

“Shape of the World' is an Engrossing Procedurally-Generated Exploration Game" - Cedric Lansangan, Only SP

“Shape of the World Will Get You Lost in a Natural World That Grows Around You" - Chris Priestman, Siliconera

“Explore Beautifully Curious Landscapes in Shape of the World" - Marcus Estrada, Cliqist



“Shape of the World - Explore a Beautiful Mezmerizing World That Grows Around You” - James Billcliffe, Only SP

“Shape of the World, The Game that Grows Around You” - Alberto Motta, Wired Italy

“5 Trendsetting Video Games from IndieCade East ” - Allison Meier, Hyper Allergic

“Shape of the World creates through exploration.” - Stephen Heller, Pixels for Breakfast

“Shape of the World has the prettiest purple trees.” - Destructoid

“Shape Of The World’s Creator Wants You to Get Lost in Ephemeral Beauty ” - Chris Priestman Smith, Kill Screen Daily

“Shape Of The World Will Grow On You/Around You” - Graham Smith, Rock, Paper, Shotgun

“Watch the World Take Form in the Shape of the World” - Zack Keosaian, Indie Game Mag

“Recently announced art game is an exploratory world that generates itself as you wander around it” - Prosthetic Knowledge



Edge Magazine, Nov 2014 (Issue # 272) (Print Edition Only)
“Imagine the world grew around you. It might look like this.” - Trevor Melanson, BC Business Online
“Shape of the World is a Growing Exploration Game” - Graham Smith, Rock, Paper, Shotgun



IndieCade 2016, Official Selection: Digital Selects, Los Angeles, October 2016

Winner of Epic Games Unreal Dev Grant, March 2016

Bit Bash: Alternative Games Festival, Official Selection, Chicago, August 2015

IndieCade E3 2015, Official Selection, Los Angeles, June 2015

Steam Greenlight, Achieved May 2015

IndieCade East 2015 - Museum of the Moving Image - Official Selection, New York, February 2015

Featured on Unreal Engine 4 Twitch Broadcast Community Spotlight: Feb 20, 2015


Edge Magazine, Nov 2014 (Issue # 272) 

Edge Magazine, Nov 2014 (Issue # 272) 


Big Sushi FM with John Lindvay, Episode 197 "Stu Maxwell", June 2015

Cobra TV, Developer Interview, June 2015

Perhaps It's the Color Podcast by Joshua Dennison,  Episode 22 "Low Poly" Interview with Stu Maxwell & Tom Kail of Biome, September 2014




Newsletter #1 Nov 2014

Newsletter #2 Jan 2015

Newsletter #3 April 2015

Newsletter #4 May 2015 - Kickstarter Campaign Coming Soon

Newsletter #5 May 2015 - Kickstarter is Live

Newsletter #6 September 2015 - End of "Summer Vacation"

Newsletter #7 January 2016 - New Years News

Newsletter #8 May 2016 - Post Pre-Alpha Update

Newsletter #9 October 2016 - IndieCade 2016