What Remains of Edith Finch will be remembered as one of the most moving and beautiful games of this generation, especially if we're talking about different, narrative-driven experiences. At Gamelab Live 2020 we at Gamereactor, as an official media partner, had the chance to talk about the acclaimed title with creative director Ian Dallas, who also shared some interesting thoughts about their approach at Giant Sparrow for storytelling and game design.
Given its apparent simplicity and how easy to follow What Remains of Edith Finch is, we asked the director for his opinion on it being used as the perfect "my first video game" for some non-players, and also about how the little interactivity of the experience (other than mini-games as unique as the fish cutting one) really made it only work as a game.
"It's pretty deceptive as a player", Dallas points out in the video. "The interactive moments feel like relatively simple, but [for] developers, it's amazing how much time... Like there's this sequence in the game where the player's on a swing, moving back and forward, and that one sequence took us two years to make, where we kept coming back to it, and it's amazing how many problems there were. Looking at players... because I think every time you give players something that they've never seen before, they're going to behave in unpredictable ways. When it works, it feels effortless, but it only gets that way through a ton of effort".
In this regard, Dallas thanks "the help of [publisher] Annapurna to be able to spend four years making something that seems so simple". Later on, the creative director talks about how to stimulate the sense of wonder, and he unveils "we started making the game as a scuba diver simulator", before touching on how "my job is to make people uncomfortable" to generate different reactions. All, at a moment when "humans tend to prefer predictable encounters", when players like to focus on tasks, and when people have trouble focusing on pretty much anything.
Dallas also mentions how he uses some of his comedy background to talk about very serious topics from a different perspective. And asked about his new project, even though he can't talk much about it, he unveils he's "trying to create an interactive experience that, ideally, [would] help people to see the animals around them in a different way".
Fascinated by insects and spiders, Dallas is "at a stage where I'm really excited to look at the way that animals move. And there's something about... for me, seeing a crow landing on a branch in front of me, and that sense of like 'oh, there's another conscious mind', but also the way that I would never understand the world that a crow sees the world".
But how does a Giant Sparrow see the world? Play on to learn more and tell us what do you expect from this new project in the comments below.