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Wilson Percival Higgsbury is the first available playable character in Don't Starve (requiring no Experience to play) and one of the playable characters in Don't Starve Together (DST). He was released along with the Don't Starve vanilla Beta in late 2012 as the main protagonist and is the first playable character with a confirmed backstory. He's a witty scientist wannabe that has a sense of humor. He also has a peculiar haircut resembling the letter "W".

Minimap Maxwell's Door.png Origin

Say pal, looks like you're having some trouble! I have secret knowledge I can share with you, if you think you are ready for it.

–The radio's offer to Wilson in Forbidden Knowledge


Don't Starve Forbidden Knowledge

Wilson was the first of the playable characters to receive a backstory through an animated short, called Forbidden Knowledge. The events of this short were later officially summarized in DST's Compendium:

While toiling away in his home laboratory late one night, Wilson was startled to hear a voice on the radio speaking directly to him. At first he feared he'd gone mad from too many late nights of experiments and accidentally-inhaled chemical fumes, but the voice assured him that it was no mere figment of the imagination. In fact, the voice had a proposition for him: if Wilson would build a machine according to their specifications, then he would be rewarded with secret knowledge, the likes of which no one had ever seen. Casting aside his better judgement [sic] (after all, what harm could come from making a vague bargain with a mysterious disembodied voice?) Wilson threw himself into constructing the machine. When at long last it was finally completed, the gentleman scientist had a moment of hesitation... a moment that might have saved him from his impending fate, had he been just a bit stronger of will. But at the voice's insistence, Wilson flipped the switch and activated his creation... and was never seen again. Well, at least not in this world.

Beard.png Special Power

Wilson's different stages of beard growth.

Wilson's special power is that he can grow a hairy Beard. It has two basic characteristics:

  • Depending on length, the Beard provides up to 135 insulation against Freezing.
  • The Beard can be shaved for Beard Hair, allowing the player to easily make a Meat Effigy and restoring 10 Sanity Meter.png.

Below is the days it takes Wilson to grow his Beard to the next stage, along with the number of Beard Hair gained and Insulation provided with each stage.

Days until growth Length Beard Hair Yield Insulation Rating
4 Days Short Beard 1 (0.25 per day) 15 seconds
8 Days Long Beard 3 (0.43 per day) 45 seconds
16 Days Magnificent Beard 9 (0.6 per day) 135 seconds

If Wilson dies and resurrects, the Beard growth resets but otherwise carries its length between worlds or Caves and Ruins.

Being the default character his Health, Hunger, and Sanity all have default values and he has no drawbacks. Overall, Wilson is meant for better Winter survival and efficiency, as well as easier access to Meat Effigies.

Gift Icon.png Downloadable Content

In the Reign of Giants (RoG) and Shipwrecked (SW) DLCs, having a Beard during Summer or Dry Season respectively will make Wilson Overheat faster. Some of his examination quotes are different to reflect the changes in the DLCs.

Prototype.png Tips

  • The Beard will take exactly 15 days to grow to its full length (full length at the beginning of day 16), and since Winter starts on day 21 on default settings, this proves advantageous for Winter survival. The player can easily survive Winter with just a full Beard and a Thermal Stone.
  • A good tip is to shave the Beard after four days (because then the player can obtain one Beard Hair and will still have the full Beard by Winter). The Beard (unlike clothing) will not wear out, providing insulation as long as the player doesn't shave.
    • In RoG, DST and SW, it is advised to shave at the beginning of Summer/Dry Season due to the Beard accelerating the rate at which Wilson overheats and providing no benefits when fully grown.
    • In addition it is also a plausible idea to shave at the long beard length before Winter. This may start the player off in winter with a not fully grown beard but, allows greater hair production. In addition this short time without the full beard is diminished by the fact that the first days of winter are more mild.
  • Wilson's extra insulation from his Beard allows him to go a long time without a source of heat when wearing additional warm clothing, reducing the amount of resources needed to keep warm in cold weather. This is especially useful when tracking a Winter Koalefant, which usually requires extended time away from fire to follow its trail.
  • The player should also consider that due to the extra insulation they can spend time preparing for Winter in other ways. For example, instead of tracking down a Koalefant in order to make a Breezy Vest, the player could focus on ensuring enough Rabbit Traps have been placed or plenty of Logs have been gathered in preparation for Winter. If the player is entering Winter with little more than Rabbit Earmuffs, it would be wise to keep the Beard for the added insulation.
  • If plenty of insulated Clothes have been gathered prior to Winter, shaving may be a good option. A Meat Effigy will require 4 Beard Hair, and 9 Beard Hairs can be obtained by shaving on day 16. Shaving leaves the player with less insulation for the Winter, but a nice insurance policy from the Meat Effigy. Shaving the Beard at any stage before full length will not provide enough Beard Hair in a single shaving, but it can always be stored for later as it does not degrade.
    • The earliest one can build a Meat Effigy is on day 11. Shave as soon as possible for 1 hair, and shave the Long Beard for the other 3. This is not the most efficient way, but it is the quickest (outside of lowering Sanity to hunt Beardlings).
  • As the Beard doesn't grow longer after 16 days and the player loses it on resurrection or by changing characters, it is most efficient to shave after every sixteenth day, unless Winter is coming.
  • In terms of gaining Sanity, shaving every 5 days will yield the best results.
  • Wilson keeps his Beard when he uses a Wooden Thing to move to a new world. This proves useful in Adventure Mode when "King of Winter" or "The Game is Afoot" are still to be encountered.
  • In DST, Wilson's favorite food is Bacon and Eggs, meaning he gains 15 bonus Hunger Meter.png when consuming the food.

Gramophone.png Quotes

Wilson's quotes can be found here.

Placeholder.png Trivia


  • Wilson's voice is played by a "Harmon muted trumpet (mixed with some cup muted trumpet as well)".
  • With a Puffy Vest, a Beefalo Hat and the Beard at full length, Wilson can have the highest insulation factor in the game at 615.
    • Wilson is one of the only three characters that get an insulation bonus from their Beard. The other two are Webber from RoG, and Woodie when played in DST.
  • Wilson is the only character capable of producing Beard Hair from shaving. His Beard is also the only one to allegedly be made of human hair.
  • Wilson is the only character unaffected by the Strange New Powers update, aside from Maxwell, who was not finished in time and got his new powers later on in the All's Well That Maxwell update.
  • Wilson is the only character with no drawbacks.
    • Even in RoG, his Beard needs to be grown to accelerate overheating in Summer, which is not required of Wilson during that season.
  • Wilson has a skull in the game files.
  • Before the November 14, 2013 patch, Wilson used to share a lot of examination quotes with the other characters.
    • His quotes are also used as the default for every other playable character when new objects are implemented in a beta stage.
  • Wilson can be used as a Steam chat emoticon.
  • Team Fortress 2 promoted Don't Starve with a hat modeled after Wilson's hair, as well as a weapon based on the Ham Bat.
  • When struck by Lightning in DLCs, Wilson, like most other characters, is shown to have bones in his hair.
  • Due to the short "Inevitable," Wilson is one of the few characters to have received actual voice acting, along with Maxwell, Charlie, and Willow


  • From June to July 2012, a series of blog posts featured field notes written in Wilson's point of view, in which he recorded his initial experiences building tools, encountering Beefalo, and creating Meat Effigies in The Constant.
  • Kevin Forbes has described Wilson as "a person of independent means who has decided to apply his intellect, such as it is, to science," and has stated that despite identifying as one, Wilson is not a good scientist.[1]
  • Wilson's full name originates from promotional business cards Klei had made for a conference. Kevin Forbes originally wrote the name with Percival in mind for the middle initial "P".[2]
  • With the original reveal of the Forbidden Knowledge video at the end of a puzzle, Wilson is the first character to be given a backstory through a cinematic.
  • Wilson's age is in the early 30s.[3]
  • While his birthplace was never set in stone, Wilson was roughly designed as a European immigrant and perhaps one in the United States.[4]
  • An image of Wilson's face is visible in two Klei QR codes. One of them is part of a puzzle and links to an image of Maxwell, and the other is included on the tags of Don't Starve merchandise from the Klei Store and links to their main Don't Starve page.
  • Wilson is one of the five playable characters whose full name is known, the others being Maxwell, Wheeler, Wagstaff and Wendy.
  • According to Wilson's Guest of Honor skin description and quote in Don't Starve Together, he hates formal parties.
  • Wilson may have medical knowledge, as in The Forge, he is capable of reviving allies twice as fast and with more health. In his examination quote for a Peg Leg, he also claims to be capable of performing amputations. His Victorian skin depicting him as a period physician could also be a hint towards this.
  • Various quotes from Wilson show that he is obsessed with his hair. He says of a Straw Hat "Hats always ruin my hair." According to his Umbrella examination quote from DST, he doesn't like his hair getting "wet and poofy".
  • In The Gorge event in DST, a Streetlight "reminds [him] of home".
  • Judging by his examination quote for Mumsy, Wilson had a nanny.
  • Wilson's birthday is on April 23 as shown in the Compendium, the same day that Don't Starve was released.
  • Wilson stars in the licensed game Don't Starve: Newhome, which takes place in a non-canonical version of the Don't Starve universe where he remains on the Nightmare Throne, maintaining control of The Constant.
  • Sometimes a message like this may appear during the loading screen: "Wilson chose the path of an independent Gentleman Scientist after finding the university environment to be too stifling for a man of his ambitions. (The enormous bill the university sent him to pay for repairs to the chemistry lab had absolutely nothing to do with this.)",

Cultural References

  • Wilson is probably named after the iconic volleyball companion of Tom Hanks' character in the film Cast Away.
    • This inspiration is shared with Rawling, a talking basketball item that is exclusive to the Shipwrecked DLC.
  • Wilson's middle name, Percival, originated as the name of one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legends.
  • A gentleman scientist was a term that arose in post-Renaissance Europe for a financially independent male scientist who pursued the study of science as a hobby.[5] The modern term is independent scientist.
  • Wilson's Magmatic skin is based on Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Don't Starve Together icon.png Skin Sets

Glommer.png See also: Skins

Glommer.png See also: Unimplemented Features

Blueprint.png Gallery

Glommer.png Main article: Wilson gallery

Gramophone.png Sounds

Wilson's voice.
Wilson getting hurt.
Wilson dying.
Wilson drowning (Shipwrecked icon.png).
Wilson sinking (Don't Starve Together icon.png).
Wilson's ghost voice (Don't Starve Together icon.png).
Wilson sighing, as part of the /sleepy emote (Don't Starve Together icon.png).
Wilson yawning, as part of the /yawn emote (Don't Starve Together icon.png).
Wilson singing the Starver's Carol, as part of the /carol emote (Don't Starve Together icon.png).


  1. Interview with Kevin Forbes by Jenesee Grey: (5:58) "Wilson is a gentleman scientist, which was an actual thing back when. He's a person of independent means who has decided to apply his intellect, such as it is, to science. He's not actually a very good scientist. He's overconfident, a little brash. He's got a can-do attitude, but he can't actually follow up on a lot of things." Recorded on January 22, 2013, uploaded on February 18, 2013.
  2. Forum thread "What means the P in the name?" Kevin Forbes: "I'm pretty sure it's Percival." / "By pretty sure, I mean I think that's what I had in mind when I wrote the "P." on the special promotional Wilson business cards that we got made for a conference, and from which Wilson got his name." Posted on October 9, 2012
  3. Archive of Klei Entertainment confirming Wilson and Willow's age on Facebook: "Wilson is in his early 30's. We never really established where Wilson is living or from but the "Gentleman Scientist" theme does kind of come from a "Proper English Gent" kind of personality. The story is 1920-ish. Willow is roughly in her early 20's." Posted on June 17, 2014.
  4. Archive of Klei Entertainment confirming Wilson's native origin on Facebook: "We never really set this in the lore, but I can say he is roughly designed as a European, maybe a European USA Immigrant? We never really picked a home land for him. His era is inspired by the 1920's so everyone was a little bit more proper back then." Posted on January 7, 2014.
  5. Dictionary of Modern Medicine p. 246