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