Creative designer of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Dan Pinchbeck, doesn’t want to see any “slack-jawed” ‘Halo faces’ when people play the new game from The Chinese Room.
In an interview with gamasutra, Pinchbeck said “We, as a company, will never make a mechanic-heavy game. This is what we do, and people like it. We want as much emotion and immediacy as possible. You just don’t need a lot of that stuff.”
He describes the approach to his work as philosophical, citing Italian neuroscientist Antonio Damasio as inspiration, who “developed this whole series in which he says we tend to want to split up intellect and emotion, when actually all thought is emotional thought.”
“[That] inspired me in terms of game design, that all game design is emotional game design. It’s about saying, ‘This is an emotional experience first and foremost.’ If you are having an emotional experience with a game, you’ve got agency with it.”
Comparing the experience of narrative-driven games to shooters like Halo, he said, “When I’ve got my ‘Halo face’ on, that slack-jawed ‘aaauuugh’ face, I’m not necessarily experiencing agency because I’m not particularly feeling or thinking about anything that’s going on.”
“That’s our target: we don’t want anyone getting their Halo face playing our game. I love, adore Halo, don’t get me wrong, but what was really important, what we wanted to get towards, was a much stronger sense of the player thinking, ‘What I did made this happen. I found the story, and I own my own experience.’”
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is due on August 11 for PS4.