Riot, Girl: Gone Home To Launch On 15th August

By Cara Ellison on August 2nd, 2013 at 6:00 pm.


The Fullbright Company’s Gone Home is one of the most atmospheric, interesting narrative-led games I’ve ever played, and I only got to play the first hour of an IGF build earlier this year. The Riot Grrrl soundtracked-game was enough to have me begging for One More Hour, but Steve Gaynor and his team were cruel and went radio silent. Thankfully they’ve popped back up to announce that Gone Home is coming out on the 15th of August on Steam and DRM free on the Fullbright site.

I’d advise you to set aside $19.99 to purchase it on that date immediately. It’s that good. It’s all anyone will talk about for the rest of the year.

You pick up a newspaper. It says “Ex-2k Marin Staffers Form Supergroup”. “Gone Home, being developed by The Fullbright Company and formed of ex-2k Marin staff who have worked on the Bioshock franchise among other titles, and with a score by Chris Remo of Double Fine, will be released on Steam and DRM free on the 15th of August. The 90s-set Gone Home was an IGF 2013 Finalist for Excellence in Narrative, and had an Honorable Mention for Excellence in Audio and the Seamus McNally Grand Prize. Late yesterday lead designer Steve Gaynor sent an email stating, ‘since Gone Home is about exploring a house to find artifacts and clues that tell the story of the people who live there, we’re releasing four of these artifacts now, to hint at what’s to come. Gig posters, business cards, newspaper clippings and clandestine notes begin to point toward the story of a house, and the fate of the Greenbriar family.’

“With a Riot Grrrl soundtrack including Heavens To Betsy and Bratmobile, this story is about unravelling the entangled threads of a family’s lives, the struggle of growing up, of knowing who you are, and the mementos of teenage girlhood.”

You notice this newspaper has a scribble on it: it is in Jim’s handwriting. “Write this up as news,” it scrawls. “Also remember to put a ‘more’ tag in your copy or you will break the website again.”

You put the note exactly back down where you found it (it’s a very serious crime to throw things on the floor in your own house), and your eye is suddenly caught by a tape player in the next room.

You pick up a post-it note. On it is scribbled, “More of what RPS thinks of Gone Home here. Can you give back my X-Files tapes please. And switch off the lights when you leave Castle RPS at night! – Nathan”.

You head out on the long trek to the Gone Home website with $20 in your hand. It might take till the 15th to get there, but it’ll be worth it.

, .

73 Comments »

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  1. MOKKA says:

    There are just too many interesting games being released this month. How am I supposed to find time for all of them?!

    • Sir Buildbot Winslave says:

      Quit your job, evict the spouse and sell the children.

  2. Ahkey says:

    Something about the presentation of this game and article has me wishing for an ARG set inside a game world.

  3. gunny1993 says:

    Hope this will be another game to put on my list of “Better than a lot of books” in the story division. Currently inhabited by “To the moon”

    • tnzk says:

      To the Moon was absolutely fucking rubbish. You must not have been looking at the right section of the library for a very long time.

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        cqdemal says:

        To each his own I guess. I found some of the writing to be subpar, but as a whole To the Moon was beyond spectacular to me.

      • gunny1993 says:

        I loved it, and in my world i’m far more important than you.

  4. Zyrxil says:

    I can’t keep track of all this stuff. For every single new indie game that comes out, I have to really think hard, “Do I already own this by way of Kickstarter?”

    • engion3 says:

      I buy games at work on steam, remote install them, forget their name, and just scroll through my games list until I get tired and go to bed.

  5. Urthman says:

    All these creepy ghost games are too spooky for me.

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    golem09 says:

    My most want #2 after The Witness. Now I just have to hold out until it hast Oculus support.

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    lowprices says:

    Yeesh. Gone Home, Hate Plus and Space Hulk? August is going to be expensive.

  8. DrGonzo says:

    That music is absolutely terrible, it’s pretty much completely put me off the game, is this a joke I’ve missed the punchline of?

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Crazy thought – just throwing out ideas here, really – but maybe some people like different things than you like.

      • DrGonzo says:

        I can understand that. But I would actually struggle to sit through something with that noise going on. If it’s a choice of putting a tape of it on in game, then it won’t bother me, I just won’t put it on. But if that is going on throughout , I’ll pass.

        It seems a bit like using Leftover Crack as the soundtrack for Dear Esther.

        • FionaSarah says:

          It is an optional tape that you pick up and can pop out whenever you like. It’s designed to get you to understand a particular character better, to get into her mind, and IMO it does a wonderful job of that. In context it works marvelously.

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          AndrewC says:

          Do you sit through hours of screeching and clanking scores for horror games that, while thoroughly unpleasant to listen to, fit with the mood of the game?

          This is about a particular era and characters who lived in it. That music is very, very 90’s indie and so fits with the mood of the game.

          If you really can’t get past it then you are probably not going to react well to the mood of the game overall. Don’t play it.

          So: good stuff, we’ve all learnt something.

        • realmenhuntinpacks says:

          Boo, sir, to your cloth ears, if not your actual personage.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          As well as the period detail – as people have said – I hazard a guess it’s also kind of important to the story the game’s telling, given what they’ve revealed about the narrative, what Riot Grrl was and what the bands in that movement stood for (correct me if I’m wrong, anyone). Obviously if you don’t like jangly lo-fi guitar, you don’t like it! I was never a huge fan of that stuff myself (though if you class that as “terrible” I know plenty of bands that’d make your ears bleed). Still, might help you appreciate the game a bit more if you understood the significance of the soundtrack.

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          Petethegoat says:

          I think I would probably enjoy Dear Esther more if Leftover Crack was playing constantly. Might try that.

          • Flappybat says:

            And I thought I would be the only one on RPS who knew Leftover Crack.

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    X_kot says:

    I’m sad that this won’t be shown at PAX, but I’m more sad about the events that lead to that situation. Also, here’s hoping that the price point doesn’t dissuade people from enjoying this gem.

    • Bolegium says:

      I know that as an unemployed student I’m still more than happy to spend $20 on something like this (i.e. a game concept that I’ve always imagined I’d play one day, with diminishing hope with every passing year). Fullbright also gets a lot of my respect, of which they already had plenty, for the integrity they displayed regarding the PAX situation.

      This is one of those games that I would gladly break my ‘no pre-ordering’ rule for.

    • Zyrxil says:

      That makes me rage… in the other fucking direction. All it is is a bunch of links to a specialist blog that only talks about ‘issues’ like a web comic writer making joke that is interpreted as making light of rape, and not say, torture and slavery. It also uses the “privilege” hotbutton term constantly, which instantly sets off my “Fuck You” alarm. You want to know why people don’t complain about torture, slavery, and wanton violence? Because you’re a fucking first world privileged “survivor” and you get to complain about perceived rape jokes. Fuck people who cherrypick quotes to have something rage against so they have more fodder to raise “awareness” for their crusade. I notice not one of them complained about the closer comparison, male prison rape in the US. I guess that wouldn’t have galvanized the base.

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        keithzg says:

        Zyrxil: I agree; their recounting of the various events also completely leaves out much of the story most of the time….like any time the two have apologized or clarified. Like literally this last time when Gabe was “transphobic”—I really don’t get the -phobic part of the argument even, if anything he was just a tad inconsiderate or ignorant, and I don’t know about you, but I know when I’m personally attacked I don’t tend to be on my best behaviour. As Gabe stated,

        I was called a bigot and told that I was giving a stage to bigots. I had not even had breakfast yet. I said again that if they have a different opinion they are welcome to submit their own panel. I was then called “cis male garbage”. Someone then tweeted at me that I should die…

        …The thing is I wasn’t mad at trans people or gay people or whatever. I’m not going to go into the intricacies of my family here on twitter but being called a bigot really bothers me. I was mad at the assholes who have no fucking idea who I am but when you go hard on twitter plenty of innocent people get caught in the crossfire. I’m very good at being a jerk. It’s sort if my superpower. When it comes to Penny Arcade it has served me well but it’s not okay when I make a bunch of people who are already marginalized feel like shit.

        I hate lots of people it’s true. But I’ve never hated anyone for their sexual orientation or their gender situation. I don’t hate people for superficial shit like that. I hate people for the way they act and I intend to keep doing that. It’s a very strange position to be in. This massive organization has built up around my friend Jerry and I. I know personally I’m an incredibly damaged individual. I’m not really sure I’m the best foundation for all this other stuff. I don’t want to be the reason people don’t go to PAX or don’t support Child’s Play or don’t watch the shows on PATV. I hate the idea that because I can’t stop being an asshole I hurt all these other amazing things.

        He went on to donate $20,000 to The Trevor Project and tried to contact people who had said they felt hurt (going so far as to give them his phone number) so he could apologize.

        But no, lets not give a socially awkward (and literally takes medication for crippling anxiety) person benefit of the doubt or hear their entire story, lets judge them on some superficial quick impression! And not notice the irony at all!

        • Tengil says:

          A socially awkward guy with anxiety problems who is a public figure and is making a hefty salary from his comic about videogames and whatever commentary he attaches

          • Urthman says:

            So rich people have no problems and deserve no sympathy?

            If so, then there’s a line of people in Africa who would like to tell you that you deserve no sympathy for any problem you’ve ever complained about.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        You want to know why people don’t complain about torture, slavery, and wanton violence? Because you’re a fucking first world privileged “survivor” and you get to complain about perceived rape jokes. Fuck people who cherrypick quotes to have something rage against so they have more fodder to raise “awareness” for their crusade.

        Can I fuck them after I fuck the people who create ridiculous strawmen to knock down so they feel like they’re righteous? (But maybe before people who put the word survivor in scare quotes as if getting raped is like stubbing your toe or something.) People aren’t required to pick one thing to get upset about to the exclusion of all others, and usually don’t. Plenty of people get upset about torture, slavery, and rape culture, as well as other things. In a lot of ways they’re linked – sorry you can’t see that, especially since, well, here you are frothing at people for not being able to see it.

        You’re right, though, that people should try to develop more empathy for struggles they don’t immediately identify with. Maybe you could lead by example.

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          keithzg says:

          I think he has a definite point about the cherry-picking, though. Several times, for example, they use quotes that in context were explicitly sarcastic retorts and act as if they were said literally. As well, the devs make mention of the “public stances” of Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik but then present things that weren’t their stances. For example:

          * The PAX Australia panel was just one submitted by people—I think there’s a bit more leeway there since, yaknow, the whole point was to have a debate, and by allowing the debate to take place it by no means requires Jerry and Mike to endorse the views of the people who asked to hold such a panel).

          * They say that Jerry “referred to opinions that differed from his own as ‘censorship’, missing the part where he said:

          They don’t like the game’s ridiculously, freakishly, borderline scarily rendered “woman” and to a certain extent I can understand why.

          And yeah, that’s a link to the comic that the news post was attached to, which pretty clearly stakes out their position on the matter, ie. yup, Dragon’s Crown’s depiction of women is frighteningly sexist and it’s entirely understandable that it’d make people uncomfortable. Jerry’s point in regards to censorship did exist, after a fashion, but it was actually fairly nuanced—and remember, it’s prefaced by the above quote, and the comic itself. You can definitely disagree and have a strong case, and I can even see why one could get really upset about his argument, but it’s hilariously misleading the way they framed it.

          Look, I disagree with the Penny Arcade folks a non-zero amount of the time. But cherry-pick quotes to support a simplified thesis when the reality of the situation is (as reality always is when involving real, actual human beings rather than strawmen) and condemn that? Well, I lost a lot of respect for the Gone Home devs.

          • Bhazor says:

            Not to mention the “Pay $7,500 to be an intern for the day” was their parody of all the six figure kick starter tiers that let you “meet the team”

      • Muzman says:

        What are you on about? Links to a specialist blog, where? Most of the links are to penny arcade itself.
        And you’re right, rape is a bigger concern in first world countries than torture or murder What’s your point?
        (The dickwolves thing was mostly about how Gabe reacted to someone taking fairly mild offense and everyone dug their heels in. Not pretty but he dug his own hole. Rape victims as a group weren’t gunning for him or that comic before then. If he’d been a tad more reasonable about it right off the bat the whole thing could have been avoided)

        • Kieron Gillen says:

          This. The problem was less the joke and more the bullying of someone who didn’t like the strip because they were offended. Punch up, don’t punch down, etc.

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      Stellar Duck says:

      Good on Scoops and Fullbright for making the right call!

  10. FionaSarah says:

    This is pretty much the only game I’m really looking forward to. So much so that I went to Rezzed specifically to play it.

    My expectations were smashed, it was so much better and moving than I ever expected it to be. It’s so amazingly written and told, the environments and atmosphere are near perfect.

    The emotion I felt while playing it was such an odd experience. I was crying by the end of what I played (i believe the first half the game), it was all so close to home and so full of feeling. I can’t recommend this game enough.

    • realmenhuntinpacks says:

      Ah that’s good to know!

    • Bolegium says:

      FionaSarah, I will now blame you if the game fails to live up to my expectations, which you have very affectively raised even higher. But thanks for that! I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s experiences with Gone Home.

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    amateurviking says:

    It’s a shame more games don’t go for a ‘period’ setting like this. Seems like a great way to make things a bit more interesting and add to immersion by tying in events and music etc of the day.

    • Skabooga says:

      It is odd: I feel it would be too soon for a novel or movie to rely so heavily on being set in the early 90s period, but for a computer game, the same setting feels quite natural and fitting. Perhaps it is because that period was such a revolution for the medium, but even so, Gone Home does not seem like it will make much mention of video games, nor does it utilize any of the themes and mechanics common to games of that time. Yet, it still seems so fitting.

  12. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    Finally! Very rather extraordinarily excited in an unprecedented fashion.

  13. screeg says:

    This article certainly is short on useful information. The game is going to be released, you say? It has a Riot Grrls soundtrack you say? How about a clue as to what it is?

    • Eight Rooks says:

      I would admit it reads like it’s aimed at the people who know what the game is first and foremost, but are “Gone Home is about exploring a house to find artifacts and clues that tell the story of the people who live there” and “Gig posters, business cards, newspaper clippings and clandestine notes begin to point toward the story of a house, and the fate of the Greenbriar family” and “this story is about unravelling the entangled threads of a family’s lives, the struggle of growing up, of knowing who you are, and the mementos of teenage girlhood” not enough to at least give you an idea?

    • wu wei says:

      If only there was some information in any of the eight articles RPS has previously written about the game…

  14. aliksy says:

    Are there other music references in the article other than “One More Hour” ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VoWc3yypHs ) ?

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    strangeloup says:

    I want this really quite a lot, and also hope that there is a version that has the soundtrack.

    Also, Cara do more writing. You are great.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Well she seems to have written about half of the recent articles; more seems slightly unreasonable.

  16. Muzman says:

    I’m more apprehensive about playing this than Amnesia in a weird way. That Riotgrrl trailer is almost too painfully nostalgic by itself. I never used to listen to that stuff particularly either. But lo-fi indie pop and tape hiss was just as the air.

  17. Junon says:

    Yes, please. The world needs more exploration games that are not also horror games.

  18. crinkles esq. says:

    I lived this period, went to lots of riot grrrl shows, so I really want to like it. But exploration “games” just aren’t my thing. However, I commend them on the authenticity of the bands and the style.

  19. elsewhere says:

    can’t stand these devs, not sure if boycotting is sensible considering the game itself looks good, bit of a fez situation on my hands, first world problems

    • Bolegium says:

      Do you seriously not see the hypocrisy in your comment? Considering to boycott a game because you think that the devs boycotting a convention makes them insufferable makes no sense. What exactly do you find intolerable about The Fullbright Company? Lets be clear that the only thing they did was withdraw from showcasing and promoting their own game, not write tweets about hoping someone would die, like Phil Fish did.

      And yes, the game looks awesome, not sure what you mean by “first world problems” though.

      • grechzoo says:

        I wont boycott the game, but I kind of understand the original commenter’s point. I’m not a much of a fan or PAX or PA, but I read about the boycott and was kind of confused.

        They boycotted PAX because:

        1 –One of their writers liked the art in dragons crown. (Seriously?….I mean SERIOUSLY!)
        2 –PAX had a panel that told people to stop overreacting to every sexualised and hyperbolic mechanism in the industry. (It’s an art form, art is controversial….live with it!!!)
        3 –The Kickstarter. (This was a bit off-putting yes….but it wasn’t shady, they didn’t point a gun at anyone.)
        4 — Dont get me started on that stupid rape thing, I read the comic in question and the response, and all I can say is it was ill-advised satire. It’s the god damn internet, something was said, that some people didn’t like, which happens about a million times a minute.

        Their boycott was a righteous over-reaction, over dramatic, and honestly a bit pretentious in my honest and humble opinion. I respect people who are passionate about their beliefs, but when those people go hunting for false controversies to condemn in a show of those beliefs….I honestly cant stand it.

        Just hoping none of that righteousness leaks into their game.

        P.S. I understand this is a VERY opinionated post. It is my own opinion of course. Please appreciate I have explained my viewpoint fully, so dont aim for my head if you strongly disagree. Although any reasoned counter-arguement is welcome.

        • Bolegium says:

          The reasons you’ve given aren’t quite accurate. As Muzman and Kieron have expressed earlier, the single biggest issue people have with PA and Gabe more specifically are their responses to criticism. When criticised, they often retort that by doing so you are calling for censorship.

          As for Fullbright, the apparent main reason for declining a PAX booth is that the entire four-person team feel personally uncomfortable and unwelcome at PAX. Calling that pretentious political posturing is a bit unfair (and really difficult to say aloud quickly).

          As for any overt “righteousness” leaking into the game, Gone Home is set in mid 90’s Portland, riot grrrl music is an integral part of the experience, and “deals in part with LGBT issues”. I’d say overt “righteousness” will probably be a large part of the game, given your perception of it.

          I don’t understand the reasoning behind the reaction to others’ reactions to supposed “false controversies”, in doing so aren’t you also elevating said controversy? It seems unnecessarily hypocritical and convoluted.

          Also this part refers more to elsewhere’s comment but applies generally as well, I don’t get the “hatred” for being “righteous” or “holier than thou”, these seem like pointlessly superficial grievances. I find it more reasonable and pragmatic to judge from the actual content of arguments, rather than to leap to conclusions based on how “passionate” or ” adequately moderate” I perceive someone to be.

          Sorry for the over-use of quote marks, it’s a linguistic “crutch” I use when i’m too lazy and illiterate to phrase something in a more “comfortable manner”. Plus I quote a lot.

          I hope people chose to play Gone Home, it seems like a great game regardless of your opinion on the devs.

      • elsewhere says:

        I don’t hate them for boycotting PAX, something you pretty much invented, i really don’t give a shit about PAX. it was that little blog post of theirs about putting hands up and minorities and being holier than thou and whatnot that made sure i’ll avoid their games for as long as i remember the name of their studio.

  20. Shadowcat says:

    It’s all anyone will talk about for the rest of the year.

    Is that an official RPS promise?

  21. Maret1954 says:

    what Patricia responded I didn’t know that a stay at home mom can make $6555 in one month on the internet. did you see this web site http://www.blue78.com

  22. Cpt.Average says:

    Is it just me or do games that depict ordinary situations and locations seem incredibly terrifying?

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      cpt_freakout says:

      I think that’s just the years upon years of watching horror movies talking. :)