EDGE - - THE MAKING OF... - Jake Rod­kin

Do you think a more tra­di­tional pub­lisher would have been as re­cep­tive to your

Fire­watch pitch?

I’m sure the game would’ve been dif­fer­ent, but it’s re­ally hard for me to pre­dict how dif­fer­ent it would be or in what ways. Maybe it would’ve needed to be episodic, or longer, or have some kind of connectivity fea­ture?

How did you find the process of de­sign­ing a game with so few prece­dents?

It was hard. Hav­ing that big con­tigu­ous open world that has to al­low play­ers to go any­where and os­ten­si­bly do any­thing, but at the same time tell a rea­son­ably lin­ear story, turned out to be a lot more chal­leng­ing and filled with in­sane one-off solutions than we thought.

Were you sur­prised when you re­alised how much po­ten­tial the ra­dio me­chanic had?

We thought the game would be a lit­tle more sys­tem­i­cally heavy than it ended up be­ing, but once the strength of the ra­dio started push­ing it­self to the fore, a lot of com­pli­cated climb­ing or item-based world gat­ing fell out of the de­sign. We got su­per-ex­cited be­cause it meant you could have the ex­pe­ri­ence you can have in real life of talk­ing with some­one while you’re do­ing some­thing else. One of the things that’s al­ways a bum­mer in ad­ven­ture games or even in BioWare-style RPGs is your abil­ity to tra­verse space is killed once you get into a con­ver­sa­tion – or your char­ac­ter just starts walk­ing for you like in The Walk­ing Dead.

Were you wor­ried about pulling back from el­e­ments that play­ers would eas­ily recog­nise?

Yes. It put the game in the same space as ad­ven­ture games. You have to do your best to get peo­ple to buy into the story and the emo­tional state of the player pro­tag­o­nist as ag­gres­sively as pos­si­ble, weav­ing in the player’s wants and needs with Henry’s while still keep­ing him a sep­a­rate per­son.

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