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Our favorite reviews and responses to Edith Finch

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Our latest game, What Remains of Edith Finch, has been out for a month now and the response has been fantastic. As of today we’ve got a 90 Metacritic rating on PC, making it the highest-rated game of the year! (along with a very respectable 88 on PlayStation 4)

In addition to reviews, the game has sparked a lot of interesting and thoughtful discussions. Here’s a few of our favorites from the past month:

 

The reviewer for The Telegraph spoke very personally about how the game affected her:

Edith Finch hit me harder than perhaps any other single piece of media ever has… I couldn’t bring myself to write about the game until over a week had passed since I’d last played it. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since then.
An emotional roller coaster that explores our curious relationship with tragedy

 

The Creative Director of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter describes about how crazy it is that this game exists at all:

…let me just say that I have probably never played a more imaginative game in my entire life… And the amount of work put into every minute of the game must have been insane. I mean, literally. No other game of this kind even comes close. If I ran the team the size of Giant Sparrow, I’d never greenlight this project.
What Remains of Edith Finch

 

A mechanics-oriented review from VG247 that, towards the end, becomes surprisingly intimate:

Edith Finch is what happens when someone remembers that interactivity is delightful on its own terms, and sets out to do something more interesting with it… we usually just make games about murdering things – even though it’s not really the murders that make it enjoyable. Certain actions – putting a reticule on a target, dodging an incoming attack, and chaining together a series of effective attacks – are just inherently fun.
What Remains of Edith Finch is a game for everyone who has ever been alive

 

Waypoint discusses how the game exemplifies the power of interactive stories:

Edith Finch is an example of stories… that can only be told by the video gaming medium. Its collection of individually resonant narratives, bound by where we come in (and unexpectedly out), is inspired, delighting and surprising and unsettling with each new chapter.
‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ Perfectly Illustrates Gaming’s Storytelling Power

 

The reviewer at No Coast Gaming has never liked first-person narrative games but talks about why he found this one strangely compelling:

I’m not the person who is supposed to review What Remains of Edith Finch… [I] have a hard time becoming emotionally invested in games of this genre… [but] with that in mind, I think this is as hearty a recommendation as can be given: What Remains of Edith Finch will stick with me for years
Review: What Remains of Edith Finch

 

An unexpectedly glowing review from the often harsh, hardcore gaming critic Jim Sterling:

Many games have attempted to tug at its audience’s heartstrings, but few are possessed of enough subtlety and elegance to succeed. For such developers who think “emotional” is an apt descriptor without qualification, the heights achieved by Giant Sparrow might as well be as the Sun to Icarus.
What Remains Of Edith Finch Review – Family Matters

 

Timothy Nunes shares his thoughts on how the game depicts mental illness as well as his own experience with it:

Edith Finch puts such an importance on remembering that you cannot handle everything on your own, and I needed something like this. There is a major stigma looming over mental illness in today’s society that keeps those of us with issues from seeking help… Edith Finch shows the aftermath of that kind of thinking. For the better part of a decade… I was scared of the schizophrenia and bipolar disorder that plagued my father throughout my entire childhood. I watched him throw away help over and over, and I feared I’d get caught in the same stubborn loop, causing the same kind of delusional harm to those around me. Hell, I’m still scared.
How ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ trades stigma for humanity

 

Wired describes how the game’s impact depends greatly on how much of yourself you see in it:

Yet I find my experience with What Remains of Edith Finch difficult to reconcile… it wavers between profundity and formula… It teems with people you can reach out to but never quite touch… Somehow, though, it still worked for me, because I remember my own family home. I remember my half siblings, who came and went before I reached adulthood, and who still live within half an hour of that house. I remember my parents fighting, separating, divorcing. I remember my mom getting sick and getting better… Walking through Edith’s old house, listening to her as she recalls and imagines the stories of those who came before her, I thought about my own family history and its effect on me.
What Remains of Edith Finch is a Great Game — If You See Yourself In It

 

M. Joshua Cauller looks at the challenge of conveying what this game feels like through a trailer:

The [trailers] do a great job of framing this memento mori idea, but they chose not to show the player engaging these memoir moments. I mean, I get it. It’s a hard choice: do we show the player’s first-person gameplay (with all the drunk-wonkiness of movement — and time-constraints of gameplay animations), or do we wrest camera control and show the game’s beautiful setting instead? By choosing setting, they got beautiful footage, but sacrificed the player’s voice (player-cam). I respect this decision. But I’d like to consider the player-cam option. Would this work?
Thoughts on first-person-narrative game trailers

 

Ian Bogost in The Atlantic considers whether games should try to tell stories at all, using our game as an example:

What Remains of Edith Finch both adopts and improves upon the model set by Gone Home… The result is aesthetically coherent… The writing is good, an uncommon accomplishment in a video game. On the whole, there is nothing to fault in What Remains of Edith Finch. It’s a lovely little title with ambitions scaled to match their execution. Few will leave it unsatisfied. And yet, the game is pregnant with an unanswered question: Why does this story need to be told as a video game?
Video Games Are Better Without Stories

 

Two writers at Kotaku discuss the meaning of the game’s ending and the feelings it left them with:

It feels like there should be a video game-y way to “figure it out” but at every turn the game pretty much denies that to you… [there’s a] natural tendency to want to assemble the clues and solve the mystery. Which, if this story has a point, that point is, “stop trying to mythologize everything and figure it all out!” Which… well, I do start to ask, is this deliberate and clever, or just unfinished? They get away with it, ultimately. But I’m still not 100% convinced that the ending wasn’t just the result of development challenges or something.
We Should Probably Talk About Edith Finch’s Ending

 

What Remains of Edith Finch is now available!

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

A couple of things you might be interested in today. First, we’ve released a new trailer, which you can see above.

Second, we wrote a post on the official PlayStation blog about what the experience of making this game has been like: I Cannot Describe to You How Incredibly Strange What Remains of Edith Finch Is.

And lastly, What Remains of Edith Finch is now available on PlayStation 4 and on Windows via Steam!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible!

Interviews we’ve done recently that you might have missed

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

Although we’ve been quiet on this blog for awhile, we’ve done lots of interviews recently. Here’s a few that dig into aspects of the game you may not have heard about before:

Vice / Motherboard, A Video Game That Finally Engages with Death and Succeeds

Dallas explains that, when it came to tackling the subject of death, the team worked hard to try and strike a balance between both the personal and conceptual experiences. “We tried to distill something that is ineffable into something mundane, because death is both those things at once… We wanted to make a game that bridged the fundamentally boring, mundane, obvious side of death with the unknowable, fantastical, surreal side of it.”

Venture Beat, The creative spirit behind the disturbing What Remains of Edith Finch

“Would you say it’s a very melancholy game?”

“I would say there’s an ominous tone to things. But the stories themselves—our intent is to have a light touch with them… We find that players bring enough of their own darkness that we don’t have to supply any.

Glixel, Why ‘What Remains Of Edith Finch’ Could Be The Best Walking Sim Yet

What Remains Of Edith Finch looks set to be the crowning achievement of walking simulators in the terms we have come to know them

The Verge, In What Remains of Edith Finch, chopping fish heads tells a powerful story

You suddenly become lost in the fantastic maze. And in that moment, Edith Finch isn’t just a video game, but a game about the experience of video games.

Zam.com, The sublime horror of the unknown: Ian Dallas and What Remains of Edith Finch

“Who is one individual — in any creative industry — you would like to work with someday?”

“I’d love to work with Weird Al…”

Now that the game is done we’ve got lots of development stories to share and we should have more time to update this blog. If there’s anything you’d like to hear us talk about, please let us know!

What Remains of Edith Finch comes out on Tuesday, April 25th

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

It’s been awhile since we updated this blog. Apologies about that!

A few (somewhat) recent developments you might not be aware of:

  1. Our next game, What Remains of Edith Finch, is coming out really soon. On Tuesday, April 25th.
  2. We switched publishers. Instead of Sony, it’s now being released by our friends at Annapurna Interactive. Which means that…
  3. The game will also be available on Windows! As well as on PlayStation 4. You can preorder it for Windows through our Steam page, or you can preorder it for PlayStation 4 on the PlayStation Store. Or you could preorder it for both platforms. You have many options!

 

Edith Finch now has its own PS4 Dynamic Theme

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

The theme features the iconic Finch House, erected over many generations. After each family member died, their bedrooms were sealed up and new rooms had to be added on as-needed.

You can get this peek into Finch history by purchasing it from the Playstation Store.

Enjoy! We really like how it turned out!

Feedback we got from demoing at this year’s PlayStation Experience

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

We showed off our new game, What Remains of Edith Finch at this year’s PlayStation Experience, a weekend-long expo for everything PlayStation.

We had 4 kiosks running a playable demo of the game’s first 40-or-so minutes, including Edith’s approach to the house and the first story you find inside — that of Molly Finch, a young girl in the 1940s who gets so hungry that she finds herself transforming into a series of animals. 

Demoing such varied experiences side-by-side at PSX was extremely entertaining for the team. As fans and critics passed by they would stop, tilt their heads, and ask, “These are all the same game?” Unsure what to make of our game, they would hop in line to play. Which is great because that sense of uncertainty, wondering what on Earth might be around the corner, is a big part of what we’re trying to do with the game. 

We invited two first-time players up on stage to talk about what it felt like to play the game. You can watch the interview here:

Meanwhile, many other players took to twitter to share their reactions:

And lastly, here’s a shortlist of some of our favorite press write-ups:

  • GamesRadar – You’re a shark up a tree in What Remains of Edith Finch
  • VentureBeat – What Remains of Edith Fitch creators don’t know the destination for their ‘sublime horror’ game
  • Kotaku – A Game Where You’re A Cat. Then A Shark. Then A Tentacle Monster

Play What Remains of Edith Finch at “Day of the Devs” event in San Francisco

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

DotD

We’re excited to announce that What Remains of Edith Finch will be playable November 7th at Day Of The Devs, a free event in San Francisco bringing fans and developers together for a day of great games, music, art, and food!

What better way to celebrate a game about the mysterious deaths of a family in Washington State, than at a party named after The Day of the Dead?

For details on the event, including a full list of the many great games that will be playable there, visit the Day of the Devs official website.

We hope to see you there, and look forward to sharing more of our game with you!

We’re hiring a Game Designer/Programmer

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

It turns out that making a game that’s a collection of short stories, each with a very different protagonist, tone and gameplay is a challenge. But if you’re the sort of person who likes making and polishing a wide range of unusual mechanics and player controls it’s going to be a really fun challenge.

As it happens, we’re looking to hire exactly that sort of person right now. So if you or someone you know is a hybrid designer/programmer type, we’d love to hear from you / them!

Update: we’ve hired someone!

What Happened at the Strange Estate of the Finch Family

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Sony recently announced that when our next game comes out it’ll be released in Japan with a full translation including Japanese VO!

Not content with the mildly Lovecraftian tone of the game’s English title, What Remains of Edith Finch, they’ve opted for the super Lovecraftian フィンチ家の奇妙な屋敷でおきたこと, roughly translated as What Happened at the Strange Estate of the Finch Family.

All of this is especially cool because many of our inspirations for the game actually come from Japan. For some background on all that, here’s a message we wrote for the game’s Japanese site:

We’re very excited that our next game, What Remains of Edith Finch, will be available in Japanese. Although the game is set in the Pacific Northwest region of the US, many of our inspirations actually come from Japan. Two of our favorites are Ugetsu Monogatari and Kwaidan, two books of supernatural Japanese tales that were each turned into movies in the 50s / 60s. Our game is a collection of tales that are meant to feel mysterious, unsettling and strange, which is a feeling Japanese artists seem to capture really well. Some of our more recent inspirations include: The Woman in the Dunes, Kuroneko, and Junji Ito’s Uzumaki. Hopefully our game feels like nothing you’ve ever played before but if any of it starts to seem a little familiar, and maybe even a bit Japanese, don’t be too surprised!

As part of the announcement Sony also released a version of our recent trailer with Japanese VO:

Edith Returns from E3 2015

Friday, July 3rd, 2015
Playing as a hungry Molly Finch in 1950, a player approaches a bird at the window...

Playing as a hungry Molly Finch in 1950, a player approaches a bird at the window…

Our upcoming game What Remains of Edith Finch made its first public appearance at E3 this past month and we couldn’t be happier with the overwhelmingly positive response! Edith appeared on a number “Best of E3” lists, got a slew of nominations, was called “the most unusual experience” of the show, and was Kotaku’s Chris Suellentrop’s favorite game of E3. Here’s what a few critics had to say…

“This collection of short stories about a cursed family in Washington State offered the most unusual experience of E3 2015…It’s fresh, unusual, and intriguing.”

– The Guardian, “Our 13 Favorite Games”

“Developer Giant Sparrow prides itself on “creating surreal experiences people have never had before,” and it certainly hits that mark with Edith Finch.”

– GamesRader, “The Best of E3 2015”

“One of the weirder titles on display at E3 2015, for sure… keep your eye on this one.”

– Nubi Magazine, “E3 2015 – Best of the Rest”

“…a collection of short stories, all of them strangely morbid but all removed from reality. While devoted to the end of the days, these stories approach the unknown with wonder rather than tears.”

– LA Times, “Ten Games That Made a Lasting Impression at E3 2015”

You can read more of our favorite press write-ups, as well as watch interviews and gameplay demos with director Ian Dallas below.  If this is your first time hearing about our game, you can check out our announcement post, or watch our most recent (and rather cryptic) trailer.

MORE PRESS WRITE-UPS:

– Chris Suellentrop (Kotaku), “My Favorite Game of E3

– Kotaku,  “The Seven Most Interesting Games I Played at E3, Day 2

– Pushsquare, “What Remains of Edith Finch Sounds Utterly Insane”

– Polygon, “What Remains of Edith Finch is twisted, touching, and charming”

– VentureBeat, “…The real innovation in gaming”

– IGN, Nominations for Best PS4 Game, Best Adventure Game, and Biggest Surprise

– Santa Monica Studio, Swans & Finches: Chirping with Giant Sparrow”

 

INTERVIEWS & GAMEPLAY DEMOS:

 

Thanks for reading. We look forward to sharing more with you soon!