Family saga-based, super-darkly comic wander 'em up What Remains Of Edith Finch was one of the most memorable games I played last year, and a treasure trove of artistry and short-form storytelling. Obviously, now that it's won a BAFTA and all that, I entirely reject it as despicable mainstream trash, and if you ever hear me saying otherwise it's fake news, yeah?
Yesterday just so happened to be Edith's first birthday, and devs Giant Sparrow marked the date by sharing a whole bunch of insights into the making of their lovely game.
Sadly, it transpires that this did not involve the developers living together in an impossibly tall house and then arranging bizarre deaths for each other. However, they did originally a pursue more spooksome look and feel (the initial title was 'The Nightmares Of Edith Finch') as well as prototype wonderful concepts such a walking house with giant duck legs. As seen in the below 'greenlight' video - by which they don't mean Steam Greenlight, but rather one made for their publisher to show where their heads were at with this game:
Sadly that, along with almost everything else in that video and the concept design doc here, didn't make it into the finished game. However, Giant Sparrow reckon that the "tone is pretty close" to what became What Remains.
Also on the anniversary page is a mood board, showing the image references they used when building this world in their heads and on their screens.
They also note that "Now that we’re in the very early stages of our next game, it’s comforting to look back at the last game and see how wrong we were about so many things, but also how eventually the bits of good ideas coalesced in unexpected ways that ended up looking eerily like what we set out to make in the first place", and WAIT WHAT, NEXT GAME?
Giant Sparrow let slip a few cluettes about the Finch follow-up last month, as it happens, but we bleary-eyed RPS bloodhounds only just caught its scent. There's no name, imagery or release date, but the big reveal so far is that "we're focusing on the enchanting beauty of animal locomotion. Our goal is to create an experience based around movement as a way of revealing character, conveying mood, and supporting player expression."
Whether it's another wander 'em up (or fly, or swim, or crawl, or hop 'em up) remains to be seen. There was a little bit of animal-based locomotion in Edith Finch, in the early cat and shark sequences, so they've some form here already. They also note that We're drawing inspiration from works like "Ico, Windosill, Spirited Away, The Life of Birds, and the spirit of Winsor McCay and early Disney films like Bambi and Fantasia that used (for the time) cutting edge technology to build something that didn't feel technical at all, but instead felt strangely and joyfully alive." Can't wait to see/hear more.