Goat Simulator is a third-person perspective action video game developed by Coffee Stain Studios. It was released for Microsoft Windows via Steam on 1 April 2014, and ports for Mac OS X and Linux were released on 27 June 2014. Versions for iOS and Android were released on 17 September 2014. A version for Xbox One co-developed by Double Eleven is also in progress as of August 2014 with expected release in 2015.
The game has been compared by the developer as akin to skateboarding games, but where the player controls a goat aimed at doing as much damage as possible around an open-world map, without any other larger goals. The game, initially developed as a joke prototype from an internal game jam and shown in an early alpha state in YouTube videos, was met with excitement and attention, prompting the studio to build out the game into a releasable state while still retaining various non-breaking bugs and glitches to maintain the game’s entertainment value.
The game received mixed reviews; some reviewers praised the title for providing a humorous sandbox interface to experiment with, while others criticized the game’s reliance on social media to popularize what was otherwise a simple and buggy product.
In Goat Simulator, the player acquires points by performing acts of chaos — in this case, getting struck by a car while licking a non-player human character. The game’s novelty comes from various glitches in the game purposely left in place, such as the distortion of the human character’s neck as a result of the collision.
Goat Simulator is an open-ended third-person perspective game in which the player controls a goat. The player is free to explore the game’s world, a suburban semi-urban setting, as a goat, and jump, run, bash things, and lick objects, which attaches the goat’s tongue to the object and lets the player drag the object around until they let go. At any time, the player can let the goat drop into a ragdoll model, allowing the game’s physics to take over, and another control makes the game run in slow-motion. A number of environmental features allow the player to manipulate the goat into stunts such as bouncing off trampolines or launching the goat into the air through large fans. The game features a scoring system similar to skateboarding games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, whereby doing tricks or other actions earns points, while chaining such tricks together in sequence helps build a multiplier that applies to the total score of the tricks done in the sequence. Various in-game goals, such as achieving a certain height, completing flips, or destroying certain objects, are given to the player, but the player is not required to follow these instructions.
Small gold goat statues are hidden in the game’s world. Collecting this allows the goat to restart the game with various modifiers in play, such as changing the goat model to a demon goat, a giraffe, or an ostrich, or adding a jetpack to the goat that can be activated at any time. Various easter eggs are scattered about the sandbox, such as a castle where one can become the Queen of all Goats, or where the goat character gains a move similar to Sonic the Hedgehog’s spin attack. The game’s lead developer Armin Ibrisagic noted after release that the game’s setting is a parody of the concept of Purgatory, having left references to Heaven and Hell that were later found by fans. Ibrisagic also noted the inclusion of some elements based on the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.
Coffee Stain Studios released Goat Simulator worldwide on 1 April 2014, aware that tying the date with April Fools’ Day may raise doubts on the validity of the game. Those that pre-ordered the game through Coffee Stain’s website received early access to the title three days ahead of release. The official release trailer for Goat Simulator is a loose parody of the highly praised teaser trailer released for Dead Island, showing, among shots of the game, reversed slow-motion footage of the goat crashing through a building after being launched from an exploding gas station.
The studio released a free expansion and patch to the game on 3 June 2014, which in addition to fixing game-breaking issues, added new goat models, a new map to explore based on a seaside town with a carnival, more game-breaking issues, and local multiplayer for up to 4 players via split-screen. Ibrisagic believes that adding multiplayer support atop Steam Workshop support will allow creative users to develop new gameplay modes that will extend the title’s playability. The patch also adds in additional controls that the player can use to make the goat perform various freestyle tricks comparable to those in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. The studio released a second free patch to the game on 20 November 2014 that will include elements that parody massive multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft, though remains a single player or local multiplayer experience.
The aforementioned OS X and Linux ports were released on 27 June 2014. Following the game’s digital release, Koch Media agreed to publish the game in UK retail stores starting in May 2014. Similarly, Deep Silver approached Coffee Stain Studios to work out a deal to publish the title in North American retail markets starting in July 2014. At Microsoft’s presentation at the 2014 Gamescom convention in August, Goat Simulator was announced as one of several titles to be coming to the Xbox One platform. This version is being developed with help from Double Eleven. Coffee Stain Studios also announced ports to the iOS and Android platforms, which were released in September 2014.