The team that worked on Bioshock: Minerva's Den is bringing your abandoned home to life.
Pre-alpha game footage is on offer for independent developer The Fullbright Company's pet project, Gone Home. It's the middle of night, and you're in the middle of nowhere. You've come home after being away for a year, only to discover that the house has been abandoned. Where is everyone? Why are all the doors locked? And who hides keys under a duck, anyway?
While there have been a few rumors, little about the game has been known until now. "It's a game about mystery," project lead Steve Gaynor claimed, "it's about trying to figure out what has happened to the people that were in this place." The house - your Home - is in a remote, isolated area, and there's nobody nearby who can help you. As it's set in 1995 your communication options are limited; no smartphone for you, and besides, who would you call? So to plumb the depths of the mystery you poke through every nook and cranny, searching for answers.
The house "is built logically like a house in the real world would be built," Gaynor says, and just about everything can be interacted with. Not all of the doors are locked, but many of them are, so you'll need to find keys hidden away inside the house to progress through the game. That said, Gaynor is keen to avoid what he describes as "wackiness," saying that there will be no adventure game puzzles. Yes, you can use a screwdriver to undo screws on a vent thus allowing you access, but you'll never need to worry about finding wax and a horseshoe to make a do-it-yourself handle for a trapdoor. "There is nothing that was put there to try to delay the player," says Gaynor. It's all about the situation, not an artificial challenge.
Though some of you may be getting a Dear Esther vibe, Gaynor promises a more player-driven experience than Esther provided. The player is invited to engage with the space however the player sees fit, but beyond that, according to Gaynor, "we're not going to impose any kind of conditions [on your experience]."
The game is in very early development and there is no release date yet. However if you want to find out how difficult it can be to make doors work, or discover the joys of creating period-specific fake rock mags, you should check out The Fullbright Company website.