We all have a history. We each have a personal, medical, search history, but we also have a history that began long before you or I did: our family history. Our family history, good or bad, plays a major role in our everyday lives. I mean, who knows? If one little thing had changed in our families past, you or I may not even exist today. Today’s Indie Corner focuses on a trek to learn about the cursed past of the Finch family. Without further ado, let’s jump into the world of What Remains of Edith Finch.
In What Remains of Edith Finch, you are Edith Finch returning to her childhood home. You are the last remaining member of the cursed Finch family, and she is determined to figure out what happened to the rest of her family. As you explore your childhood home, the stories of your family’s past begin to come to life. This is a collection of short stories, and “each story [will be] experienced as a completely new game that follows that family member on the last day of their life.” The developer, Giant Sparrow, stresses how they wish gamers would go into What Remains of Edith Finch without knowing much about the story of the game. And I, for one, am taking their advice.
Every trailer and screenshot that we’ve seen so far from Giant Sparrow’s newest project is nothing less than beautiful and dreamy. When creating a game like this, environment and atmosphere are crucial elements needed to make the game work. The Creative Director, Ian Dallas, was inspired by the environment in which he grew up in Washington. Dallas said, “The original inspiration was trying to make an experience that evoked the sublime horror of nature….You’re often surrounded by nature in a way that’s beautiful but also overwhelming.” They also drew inspiration from horror writers, like H.P. Lovecraft and Neil Gaiman, that focus on weird fiction, a horror subgenre that specializes in short stories.
Giant Sparrow has been making games since 2009. Before Giant Sparrow was created, Ian submitted a prototype of a game to the Sense of Wonder Night at The Tokyo Game Show where Sony expressed interest in the game. This early prototype, which consisted of throwing black paint around a white room, a very early version of The Unfinished Swan, would eventually lead to the creation of Giant Sparrow. They have been working on What Remains of Edith Finch for the last four and a half years, and they are excited to finally be releasing it soon!
Edith Finch and The Unfinished Swan seem very different on the surface but both games deal with very similar issues. Both of these stories, or set of stories, focus on the unknown and the experiences that come with traversing through it. However, Edith Finch deals with this idea of the unknown in a more realistic environment.
I think the biggest difference is that most of What Remains of Edith Finch takes place in something that looks like the real world, which affects everything from the art style, to the sound design, to the way players except to be able to move. So instead of being entirely surreal like our last game, it’s now more like 60% surreal. It’s split between Edith exploring the house (which is relatively normal), and then discovering and living out the stories of her family members (which are quite bizarre).
What Remains of Edith Finch is one of the most anticipated indie games of 2017, and it is obvious as to why. When it comes to all of the problems that arise while making a video game, Ian classified this as one of their best problems. Now that the game is finished they are “in the enviable stage of only having good problems left. I think everyone on the team is really proud of what we’ve made and we’re excited to see how players respond.” Their newest project will release later this week on April 25th for PlayStation 4 and PC, and this is an experience you definitely won’t want to miss.
Ian wanted me to leave readers with this small piece of advice when it comes to What Remains of Edith Finch:
Personally, I wish players knew nothing at all about the game, so they could come into it with zero expectations and be totally astonished. It’s a game about the unknown and the more we tell people about it, the more we chip away at that. But it’s totally fair for players to wonder if a game is going to be worth playing, so I’m happy to give enigmatic interviews in the hopes of convincing them. But I think the ideal scenario is for someone to play the game and have a great time with it, then tell their friend about this amazing game they need to play, with no additional information. I envy that friend.
This is a title that I have been looking forward to for awhile now, and after getting the chance to speak with Giant Sparrow, I’m even more excited. The Unfinished Swan was one of the first indie games I played and I loved everything about it. So, in a way, this was a really special interview for me because their game sparked my love for indie games as a whole. Edith Finch has everything I love in a game: a powerful story, beautiful graphics and environments, a touch of horror, and a sense of wonder. I can’t wait to see what stories unfold from the Finch family history!
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