Where Skyrim had Lydia, the latest big Steam survival hit—Sons of the Forest—has Kelvin. He’s there to help, no matter how much his ears bleed, and people absolutely love the adorable, lobotomized handyman.
In Sons of the Forest, the new Early Access sequel to the enormously popular The Forest, you play the survivor of a helicopter crash, stranded on a peculiar island inhabited by cannibal mutants. However, this time you’re not the only fully human survivor—when you wake up from the opening sequence, you’re accompanied by Kelvin. Deaf and mute, and seemingly significantly more inhibited than that, we know his name because it’s on his badge. But beyond that, Kelvin is a mystery.
Blood drips from both of his ears, suggesting something very bad happened to our poor buddy while you were out cold, but whatever it was, it’s left him very eager to help. With puppy-like enthusiasm, Kelvin will fetch you sticks and rocks, build crude shelters and fires, and most importantly, follow you to the very ends of the Earth, no matter how long it might take him.
In this way, Kelvin is enormously reminiscent of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s initial companion character, Lydia. Except Lydia’s lobotomy is only assumed, an inevitability of that decade-old RPG’s hilariously abysmal AI, whereas Kelvin…well, Kelvin has those bleeding ears.
He can be very useful! Gathering wood and stones isn’t a big deal in Sons of the Forest, but it’s busywork that distracts from the more fun tasks of building larger structures, or just exploring the weird island’s myriad secrets. Having him light a fire is also super-helpful if you’re off hunting squirrels, meaning there’s somewhere to cook the meat once you’ve gathered your haul. He can even go catch fish for you, even where there are no fish. But how helpful is he overall? Well, Kelvin tries hard.
In my time with Kelvin, he’s set himself and the surrounding area on fire so many times, each time with the most endearing look of complete shocked naivety on his face. It’s this combination of enthusiastic innocence and frequent incompetence that is making the NPC so popular among players, and leading to some excellent #content™.
Setting himself on fire is a common theme, but he can also reach the opposite extreme, merrily walking around at the bottom of lakes with no apparent need for air.
Kelvin also loves to destroy, which is certainly upsetting a fair few folk.
However, I don’t think there’s a better example of Kelvin’s demolition than this one on Reddit. Poor Kelvin. He’s trying so hard!
Then again, things often go wrong for the poor fellow too.
Many players are declaring their love for Kelvin, which I think perhaps is revealing a little bit more about themselves than perhaps they realize. (“My ideal person is lobotomized and crudely attempts to follow all my commands.”)
It turns out it’s possible to clone Kelvin, allowing you to have as many of him as you like. And each can be given separate instructions, allowing you an entire Kelvin workforce busily carrying out your bidding!
Oh, and if you accidentally kill your Kelvin (because you’d never do it on purpose, right?), there is actually a way to bring him back.
So please, tell us your Kelvin stories. If you’ve played the game, you surely have some.