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I am standing outside the train station with my bags at my feet, painfully aware that I do not own a key to my parents' house. My arrival is unexpected and comes on the back of a transatlantic flight. I am exhausted but almost home. I am standing in the front porch with my bags at my feet, painfully aware that I do not own a key to my parents' house. My arrival is unexpected and comes on the back of a transatlantic flight. I am exhausted but almost home. I lost my keys three years ago in the snow after a friend's birthday party. Most were replaced immediately but the one to my parents' front door was always tucked away at the forgotten end of a to-do list. An unnecessary hassle and entirely my own fault. I don't have a key yet. This isn't the house where I did most of my growing up. My parents moved about an hour's drive away while I was travelling through Europe and tonight will be the first time I see their - our - new place.
Every connection we feel with another human being begins with a gradual descent through layers of familiarity until we touch something unique or resonant, when we go from the general idea of a person to the specific. Gone Home makes that process visible, and through the first-person exploration of one family’s home, turns it into a surprising and moving game. It’s 1995, and Kaitlin Greenbriar has come home eager to reunite with her family after a year-long adventure in Europe. Instead she finds a deserted house and an apologetic note from her sister Sam begging her not to dig around “trying to find out where I am.”
Gone Home is described as a non-combat exploration game in a non-fantastical setting, which is not the sort of language you'd have to use in classifying a book. In games, combat and fantasy are so dominant that their absence is a quirk. But as we've been shunting sawblades into alien zombies and shooting weaponised bees from our rupturing flesh, the worlds we've been doing it in have become rich, interesting places with stories of their own. When Steve Gaynor, Karla Zimonja and Johnnemann Nordhagen were building the Minerva's Den DLC for BioShock 2, they enjoyed working as a small team to tell a story through environmental details. So earlier this year, they left to form the Fullbright Company and make a game entirely about that.
There is a strong feeling of place in The Fullbright Company’s Gone Home. A critically-lauded first person exploration game about a house and its inhabitants, Gone Home tells a powerful, moving story about two sisters’ lives through the artifacts of the everyday. The tapes left lying around the house are tracks from Riot Grrrl bands, the sort that grew out of Portland, Oregon in the 90s. Letters and postcards addressed to the house litter every surface. Like its spiritual parent the Bioshock series, the environment is the fabric of the story itself. The relationships the family have with each other, their neighbours, their childhood friends, their longings fall into relief as you traverse this home. There’s no doubt in your mind once you finish the game that this house contained real people who liked each other, got on with each other, were a family. The Fullbright Company - Steve Gaynor, Karla Zimonja, Johnnemann Nordhagen and Kate Craig - live in a house together in Portland, Oregon. This is where Gone Home was made. This is a retrospective look at the collaborative aspects of how Gone Home was produced, and how pragmatic game design and projects of a strict scope can be more of an expression of who the creators are. Go and play the excellent Gone Home now, if you haven't already, for what proceeds are a few small spoilers.
Gone Home will arrive, weary and traveled, on our doorsteps on August 15 We've played some of this first-person, non-combat exploration game from a team of former BioShock 2 developers, and trust us when we say you should get excited about nosing about in some family's drawers. Oh, and you'll be able to play it in Klingon! Well, probably. Developer Fullbright Company has announced that Gone Home will support fan-made translations, so it's really only a matter of time.
Article by Robert Yang. This post does not spoil any specifics of the "plot" in Gone Home, but it might sensitize you to its delivery mechanisms and some details. Mansions are old, rich, and scary. Most "mansion games" (like Maniac Mansion, Thief, or Resident Evil) emphasize these qualities for specific effect, and they would not work without the mansion tropes at the core of their designs. The video game mansion starts as an alien place that, through repeated visits and backtracking, becomes YOUR MANSION because you know all the rooms and secret passages and stories inside it. Gone Home is very aware of its place in the mansion genre, a genre that emphasizes "stuff" and who owns it -- inventories, objects, and possessions. Here, the lightweight puzzle gating and densely hot-spotted environments evoke adventure; the first person object handling and concrete readables evoke the immersive sim; the loneliness and the shadows evoke horror. In a sense, this is a video game that was made for gamers aware of all the genre convention going on (in particular, one moment in the library will either make you smile or wince, assuming you notice it) but in another sense, this is also a video game made for everyone.
The Fullbright Company, a new indie studio founded by a small team of former BioShock 2, XCOM, and BioShock Infinite developers, has announced its first game: Gone Home. The first-person adventure takes place in "a modern, residential locale" -- a large suburban home, from the looks of it -- where players will uncover some manner of mystery by "investigating a deeply interactive gameworld." Though the studio has only been working on Gone Home for a few months, it's already sharing "very unfinished" pre-alpha video and screens of the game. “Since we're indie and want to be transparent about the process, this is unfinished work-in-progress content, as opposed to a splashy trailer," said Fullbright Co-Founder Steve Gaynor in an e-mail correspondence with PC Gamer. "So brace yourself for some untextured walls and stuff.”
Welcome to the PC Gamer Game of the Year Awards 2013. For an explanation of how the awards were decided, a round-up of all the awards and the list of judges, check here. Traditional storytelling techniques suffer in the transition to interactive entertainment. While many games choose to compartmentalise their storytelling and interactive sections, others experiment with new methods. In Gone Home, exploration becomes a form of authorship. The entwined stories of each family member unravel at your command as you flick through the detritus of their lives. The resulting tale was the most affecting of the year. A warning for those who haven't played it yet, the discussion below does contain a few spoilers.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent developer Frictional Games recently revealed that The Fullbright Company’s indie title, Gone Home, first saw life through the Amnesia engine. And if you're interested in the prototype, you can try it right now.
Gone Home is a "story exploration" game from The Fullbright Company which takes place in 1995, and stars Samantha, a teenager "dealing with tons of uncertainty, heartache, and change." Riot grrrl is an often misrepresented '90s feminist punk rock genre. Well then, how appropriate that the latest Gone Home trailer introduces music from riot grrrl bands Heavens to Betsy and Bratmobile as a plot element (and also really great).
Papers, Please and Gone Home take BAFTA Awards, Houser brothers make rare appearance for Rockstar's Fellowship
I'm not going to sugar-coat this for you: last night's BAFTA Game Awards didn't end with the PC hunched under an unbearable weight of face gold. The platform struggled against heavy hitting console match-three games, like The Last of Us, and Grand Theft Auto 5. Even so, there were awards for indie gems Papers, Please and Gone Home, and multi-platform titles like Bioshock Infinite. In addition, the reclusive Rockstar heads showed up in person to accept their BAFTA fellowship. You can find that video, and a full list of winners, inside. Also, before the big list, be sure to check out the BAFTA Steam sale that's running until later today. There are some particularly great deals in there, like the excellent XCOM: Enemy Within for a ridiculously low £5/$7.50.
The Fullbright Company is based out of a three-bedroom house in Portland, Oregon. Founders Steve Gaynor, Johnnemann Nordhagen, and Karla Zimonja don't just work in the house—they live in it. It's like the headquarters of an indie superteam: members of the group worked on BioShock 2, Minerva’s Den, XCOM, and BioShock Infinite.
I shared Tom’s fascination with Gone Home when I had a chance to play it earlier this month. It’s relatable, contemporary, comfortable like your dad’s sweatshirt, and you get to sift through the drawers and closets of your in-game family to unravel the question “Why is no one home?” During that demo, I spoke with The Fullbright Company co-founders Steve Gaynor and Johnnemann Nordhagen about how they approach designing a game driven by player curiosity, and where clues and story elements can be found achronologically.
Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, the other defining Christmas movie of our time. Well, his time, at least. He saw it in the cinema when it came out. (Turns out he's getting depressingly old.) It's amazing what a difference a sequel makes. In Home Alone, Hollywood presented the ultimate child fantasy that didn't involve a chocolate-spitting Super Nintendo - a movie of freedom, of good times, and ludicrously convoluted cartoon traps brought to life in a war that is even now talked of in movie lore as "Joe Pesci vs. The Swear Jar". Then Home Alone 2 happened, proving quite effectively that Kevin McCallister was less a bright kid in a bad place as a gleeful serial killer in training. Wow. A blowtorch was bad enough, but an arc welder? It's a wonder The Good Son wasn't officially Home Alone: Part 3. By Hollywood law though, every movie must become a game. How did this one fare?
We've already assembled an exhaustive list of all the 2013 PC games worth keeping an eye on. But a lot of these merit more discussion—why are we mentally tap-dancing over BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light? What makes Clockwork Empires and Gone Home stand out among a stack of impressive indie games? In a special, hour-long discussion, Logan, Evan, and Tyler talk about what they're looking forward to most this year, and how the trends that emerged in 2012 will shape the months ahead.
PC Gamer editors are prohibited from celebrating Christmas. For the team, the end of the year is marked by an event known as “GOTY Sleepover,” a time where we somewhat-voluntarily sequester ourselves away from our families and loved ones in the interest of a greater good: selecting the best PC games of the year. We gather in a room with a very heavy door and very little ventilation and stay there until we’ve reached a unanimous decision on every award category. It’s a lot like the Papal conclave, but with more Cheetos.
The Independent Games Festival has renewed its deal with Valve to give shortlisted finalists of the 2014 IGF Awards an automagical Golden Ticket onto Steam. All main competition finalists will be offered a distribution deal, whether they're nominated in the individual Excellence categories, the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, or the Nuovo Award. "Nuovo" being IGF speak for "kinda weird".
We just finished pouring over the Steam Autumn Sale this morning, and already have more deals to share: the recently launched Humble Store has a sale of its own. You smell that? It’s the sweet, sweet smell of competitive pricing.
The shortlist for the 15th IGF award finalists has been revealed. There were more than 580 entries this year, across an incredibly diverse range of genres, requiring the attention of some 200 judges to help pare down the games into seven award categories, with five nominees apiece.