Which of the stories went through the most changes?
Walter’s. Essentially, it was a riff on the Weeping Angels story from Doctor Who and also The Prisoner. There’s this guy trying to escape this strange world of 1950s Americana, and he walks around with a flashlight, and when he turns around this crowd of people with pitchforks gets a little closer. Then there’s a gradual reveal that you’re actually in a model train set, and this giant hand comes down periodically to move things around. Walter picks up this little person who had tried to escape, and then realises that he himself has to escape and then goes out the tunnel [as in the finished game]. The version we shipped with was the last 5% of this absurd dream, and the whole can-opening part was a very late part of that process.
Were you consciously tr ying to avoid the audio-log approach to storytelling?
Yes and no. For me as a player, that’s just not what I think games do well. The part that’s interesting to me is: what does it feel like to be a giant tentacle? Or what does it feel like to be e on a swing? And so from the early days, that’s where we spent all of our energy, just making these interactive prototypes, and the story didn’t ’t come in until pretty late in development.
Unusually, you can spoil the reveal of Edith’s pregnancy by looking down.
I’m generally not a fan of bodies in firstperson games, particularly feet. But our tech artist Chelsea Hash held onto this dream of being able to show [the protagonist’s] body for so long, and then it was as easy to show it as not. I do really like that it’s something players can discover on their own. Some players are really blown away by it, and some like Neil Druckmann [who is credited as a playtester] – he just looked down, I think it was in the kitchen, and he said, ‘Oh, I’m pregnant’. And then he moved on (laughs).