In Sons Of The Forest, Everybody loves the Lobotomized NPC Kelvin

It's Kelvin!

Screenshot: Endnight / Kotaku

Where Skyrim had Lydia, the last 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 cute, lobotomized handyman.

IN Sons of the forestthe new Early Access sequel to the hugely popular The forest, you play the survivor of a helicopter crash, stranded on a peculiar island inhabited by cannibal mutants. This time, however, you’re not the only human survivor – when you wake up from the opening sequence, you’re accompanied by Kelvin. Deaf and mute, and apparently considerably more inhibited than that, we know his name because it’s on his badge. But beyond that, Kelvin is a mystery.

Blood is dripping from both of his ears, which suggests something very something bad happened to our poor buddy while you were out cold, but whatever it was, it has made him very eager to help. With puppy-like enthusiasm, Kelvin will fetch you sticks and stones, build crude shelters and fires, and most importantly, follow you to the ends of the earth, however long it may take him.

Lydia vs Gate

In this way, Kelvin is enormously reminiscent of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrimhis first companion, Lydia. Except Lydia’s lobotomy is only assumed, an inevitability of the decade-old RPG’s hilariously abysmal AI, while Kelvin…well, Kelvin has the bleeding ears.

He can be very useful! Collecting wood and stone is not a big deal Sons of the forest, but it’s busy work that distracts from the more fun tasks of building larger structures, or simply exploring the strange island’s myriad secrets. Having him light a fire is also very useful if you’re out hunting squirrels, meaning there’s a place to cook the meat once you’ve gathered your catch. He can even go and catch fish for you, even where there are no fish. But how useful is he overall? Well, Kelvin trying hard.

Kelvin relaxes by the fire.

Screenshot: Endnight / Kotaku

In my time with Kelvin, he has set himself and the surrounding area on fire so many times, each time with the most inviting look of completely shocked naivety on his face. It’s this combination of enthusiastic innocence and frequent incompetence that makes NPCs so popular with players, and leads to some excellent #content™.

Setting himself on fire is a common theme, but he can also go to the opposite extreme, merrily wandering around on the bottom of lakes with no apparent need for air.

Kelvin also loves to destroy, which certainly upsets quite a few people.

However, I don’t think there is 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 guy too.

Many players declare their love for Kelvin, which I think might reveal a little more about themselves than they might realize. (“My ideal person is lobotomized and crudely tries to follow my every command.”)

It turns out that it is possible to clone Kelvin, so you can have as many of him as you want. And each can be given separate instructions, keeping the entire Kelvin workforce busy doing your bidding!

Oh, and if you accidentally kill your Kelvin (because you’d never do that on purpose, right?), it’s actually a way to bring him back.

So please, tell us your Kelvin stories. If you’ve played the game, you probably have some.

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