As the playable demo for Goat Simulator 3 got started, we had to ask: what's the real reason Coffee Stain North labelled this as the third game in the series, when it is, in fact, the second? Stuart Docherty, sound designer and composer, provided a simple, honest answer. It turns out the team just thought it would be really funny. This would set the tone for the rest of the demonstration.
For those who might not be aware, Goat Simulator released in 2015, parodying straight-faced simulation games and video games in general. Set within a small sandbox featuring purposely wonky physics and less-than-stellar visuals, it quickly became a big hit. The ability to headbutt NPCs into oblivion and drag objects around with a sticky tongue provided plenty of room for ridiculous shenanigans, and the daft indie title became a viral sensation. After oodles of DLC, Coffee Stain North was charged with making the sequel, and it's shaping up to provide even more unadulterated chaos.
The headline change is the addition of online co-op multiplayer for up to four goats alongside the first game's local split-screen. We played alongside 3D Artist Philip Bretschneider, who graciously allowed us to go nuts in the game's massively expanded open world. Returning players will feel at home, as the controls are largely the same, but multiplayer greatly enhances the game's capacity for madness. You can of course headbutt and lick each other, which is enough on its own to cause some laughs, but the developer has filled the game with so much stuff to see and do that you're never far away from something profoundly silly to enjoy.
This may arrive in the form of an incidental encounter in the world. Apparently, there are hundreds of these gags to be discovered across the map. We approached a barn with an oversized food bowl outside. Bretschneider dragged an unwitting human into the bowl, rang a bell, and a giant chicken poked its head out and ate the NPC. Shortly after, an egg rolled down a chute and out into the yard. Bretschneider then stood on the egg in order to hatch it. After it grew several times larger, the egg burst open to reveal the consumed human, alive and well, alongside a clone. We asked how many times you could clone an NPC in this way. The answer was that there is no limit.
Another big new feature is that each goat can be fully customised, but some of these options will provide you with some ludicrous extra abilities. For instance, we equipped a belt that allowed us to shoot fireworks. We also messed around with a visor that let us fire laser beams, and some horn shoes that simply made honking sounds as we trotted about. You can also completely change species; we briefly played as a pig — or as the game calls it, a "Tasty Goat" — which had its own ability to slide on its belly. You can equip these various items all at once across different slots, so there's a lot of potential to become a seriously overpowered billy once you unlock everything.
Minigames are also new for Goat Simulator 3. These are initially found at "ideal" locations in the open world, things like King of the Hill, The Floor Is Lava, and so on. They're fun, quick-fire rounds that give you a touch more focus if you're after an objective. What's great is that, once you find these minigames, you can play them anywhere on the map, even where it's practically impossible to do so. You can make the multiplayer modes as easy or as difficult to play as you want.
We were also shown how the game will feature some story missions, which will give players something more structured to enjoy. These are also scattered about the map, letting you opt in when you want. There's no set order of quests, and they won't be forced on you — if you want them, they're there, but otherwise you can keep on causing havoc on your own terms.
There's more to talk about, like how you can now drive cars and other vehicles, gain elemental abilities like spitting fireballs and electricity, and how, yes, the physics still bug out in hilarious ways. After speaking with the developers and playing for the best part of an hour, we've come away feeling like Goat Simulator 3 will be a blast. If it can truly keep up the chaos and continue to surprise players as it did in our demo, this could quite easily be one of the year's most brazenly fun games.
Goat Simulator 3 is due for release on PS5 on 17th November 2022. Are you excited to play this bonkers game? Butt heads together in the comments section below.