Gone Home from former Bioshock 2 devs promotes player-defined experiences

By Brenna Hillier, Thursday, 15 November 2012 21:52 GMT

Gone Home, the first game from the group of former Irrational Games staffers at Fullbright Company, will allow users to customise the experience to suit themselves.

Gone Home includes a number of features and options like audio diaries which players can switch off in the menu if they feel it will break the immersion of the experience, creative director Steve Gaynor told Eurogamer.

“If someone is playing this game and they’re like ‘I want to have a very rigorous simulation exploring this space and none of the meta stuff – none of this person talking to me and a map that automaps,’ they can turn all that stuff off,” he promised.

“The kind of design that’s interesting to me is one where the player’s allowed to define as much of the experience as possible. That’s more interesting than saying ‘there’s only one way to experience this game and you have to ingest all of our story or we’re not going to play along.”

Gaynor said he expects the game will generate a faction of fans who believe it must first be played with all the bells and whistles off, then re-played with full story options on, so that the first exploration is purely puzzle-driven.

The voiced diaries of the protagonists’s younger sister hidden throughout the game are quite a leap from the embedded narrative devices used elsewhere. Gaynor said this is partly motivated by how difficult environmental communication is, and partly by the need to foster a conneciton with the story.

“We wanted to have the human voice of the story be in the game. We felt like making a personal connection with Sam as a character was going to be what drove a lot of the players engagement with this world,” he said.

“Being able to hear her tell the story in her own words – it was really valuable. As well as the practical side of she can talk about stuff that happens outside of the house that there wouldn’t be a physical record of – that nobody would have written a note about.”

Players can found pieces of story on receipts, discarded notes, bulletin boards, ticket stubs, homework, school circulations, disciplinary notes, and letters, all carefully designed with authenticity to the 1995 setting in mind. A TV listing, for example, was created from an actual guide, and references familiar mid-90’s shows.

Gone Home is FullBright’s first game and is expected on PC; it has not been dated. A new video of the in-development titles was released at the end of October; check it out below. Give the company’s blog a visit for more.

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