What Remains of Edith Finch arrives on PS4 and PC on April 25
What Remains of Edith Finch is set to be released on PS4 and PC on April 25, continuing the tradition of an indie game looking to surprise its audience.
Players will be searching for short stories in a colossal house, piecing together a family’s history in a bid to discover why Edith is the only one left alive.
Exploration is a key theme to the new title from Giant Sparrow, although differing greatly in its mechanics from something like No Man’s Sky or The Witness, it still looks to surprise whomever plays it.
And there are certainly pitfalls to this strategy, as seen with Hello Games’ space-survival game.
Having something like exploration as a core process to a title means potentially trying to keep the best stuff out of trailers, and instead looking for players to organically discover them.
But not being fully upfront with what the gameplay actually is can lead to fans being left confused and disappointment.
That’s not something that should be a problem with What Remains of Edith Finch, the trailer’s showcase the kind of gameplay you can expect, but it’s something that developers Giant Sparrow sees as a delicate balance.
What Remains of Edith Finch – a new indie titles for PS4 and PC Tue, April 4, 2017
What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of short stories about a cursed family in Washington state.
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What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of short stories
Ian Dallas, creative director at developer Giant Sparrow spoke to the Express Online regarding indie expectations and trying to make sure gamers know what they’re getting.
“There are definitely things that we have taken away from what other games have done, generally and specifically,” Dallas explained.
“Even things as basic as if we should cap the PC frame rate at 30fps, It’s something we were talking about at one point and it’s not something that you really notice for most of the game.
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“The way that the game works, 60 vs 30 would be almost indistinguishable, but that’s something in the past that PC game players have shown to be passionate about, uncapped frame rates.
“So that something’s we can support, it just means we won’t do some other things we were going to do.”
In regards to No Man’s Sky, Dallas says Giant Sparrow are in a completely different position to that of Hello Games, although the importance of being clear still rings true.
“Trying to be clear with players about what to expect is certainly something that No Man’s Sky demonstrated, but I think also our previous game, I took away a similar lesson,” Dallas adds.
“The Unfinished Swan was another game in many ways that was about the unknown, we tried not to tell people much about it beforehand in the hope that they could experience it fresh.
“But what ended up happening for a significant amount of players was because they hadn’t heard much about the game – just seen screenshots or a trailer – they built up this idea of the game, that wasn’t really the kind we were trying to make.
“People thought it was going to be more of a puzzle game, more similar to Portal, which was never really the intent and some people were disappointed it didn’t live up to their expectations.
“On our side, the onus is on us to clearly set those expectations without ruining the experience, especially for a game that’s about discovering it for yourself and not knowing too much going in.
“We’ve tried to balance that a little more this time.”
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Speaking to Dallas on the subject of the impact of emerging platforms like the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio for indie developers, the creative director commented that the extra work was worth the access to a new audience.
“It also provides another audience for developers, people who have bought a PS4 Pro or whatever, that are looking for games, and we can now reach those people.
Dallas also commented that there was some additional work involved for developers who wanted to utilise platforms such as the PS4 Pro, however it wasn’t likely to prove insurmountable, even for indie studios.
What Remains of Edith Finch has only be confirmed for the PS4 and PC and when we asked if plans had changed recently, Dallas confirmed that they were not ready to talk about any other releases yet.
The Giant Sparrow title launches on April 25, with its main goal of sparking and feeding the player’s curiosity on the interesting problems surrounding them both in the game world, and the real one.
“In this case, what I was really interested in at the beginning of this was the feeling of something being very beautiful but also being threatening,” Dallas explains.
“Basically the sublime, the experience of being in that dual state of something being aesthetically really engaging but also including this ominous, unsettling feeling as well…
“In some ways the game is about attempting to make an experience about the unknown, which is a very thorny problems.”
And when players start to explore the world of Edith Finch, here’s what Ian believes fans should know: “Ideally nothing.
“The less they know and the more they’re discovering it the better, but I think if players go in knowing it's a collection of short stories and that it’s not just one thing.
“It’s a game where people should expect to be surprised.”