At PAX South ’17, games of all kinds were showcased, one however stands out. What Remains of Edith Finch was a very unique experience that had me intrigued, puzzled, but most importantly captivated. The beautiful art and innovative story telling keeps the interest sky high, and keeps the player moving.

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Strange, Yet Satisfying

Something has brought Edith Finch back to her abandoned family home, and What Remains of Edith Finch focuses around the story of the deaths of the Finches who lived there. Edith is now the last alive, and is traveling to uncover the hushed history. Each member of the family has their own unique story to add to the legacy of family tree, and the game revolves around uncovering each layer one by one. The game doesn’t tiptoe around death. This isn’t a happy feel-good tale, but more along the lines of a psychological horror.

All of the text spoken in the world appears around you, sort of floating in the air. As you move forward, it does have a mechanic where if it’s there, and you are pushing though it,  the text will bend back” says Game Designer Chris Bell. This exists in a very non-invasive, yet ever present way, that is obvious, yet unobtrusive. As I explored the world as Edith, each section explored seemed to have a meaning and purpose, which allowed me to understand just a bit more of the strange story. The further into the world I travel, the more and more things start to stand out as odd, yet clearly important. Utilizing the peep holes that Grandma drilled in the doors after Mom bolted them shut, the player can peer into the time capsule like rooms which were left by each Finch family member met their doom.

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Intriguing Stories

In one family member’s story, little Emily Finch was sent to her room, as many children are. Apparently her mother wasn’t thrilled with something she did, as she was banished to her room without her dinner. Growing more and more hungry, Emily begins seeking out things in her room to eat. First contemplating her pet goldfish she goes up to the bowl to grab the poor animal. But as quickly as the thought came to her, she thought better and sought something else. A tube of toothpaste is more suitable, and she gobbles up the whole thing. Next are a few berries, of which are glossy and have an almost plastic sheen to them. No matter, she pops them in her mouth and munches. She’s still not satisfied however, and makes her way to the window to see a bird who is resting just outside of it. Opening the window ever so carefully, she becomes the prey’s enemy, a cat. Having transformed, Emily leaps out after it and follows in her new catlike state. Up, down, and all around the tree the Emily-Cat goes, until she makes one final leap, and misses the branch. Down, down, down she falls, but wings sprout and she becomes an owl. Still in search for a meal, she continues in her new state. Her story continues in this fashion, and while not being directly explained, the tale unwinds with just enough context to keep you interested. It ends just as strangely as it began, leaving the player to continue and explore another life within the family. Turning into an animal won’t be commonplace though. “Each story is it’s own set of game mechanics. That’s the only time you’ll turn into an animal,” said Bell.

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Beauty All Around

Game designers have given huge attention to detail to What Remains of Edith Finch. One point that really stood out for me was the the windows from the house’s basement. So much care was taken that the player can see paint cans and other random things in the window. Things like this add that extra layer of depth to the world. In addition, there is chipped paint on some items, and even the spines of books have real names on them. Water flows down and around rocks beautifully, with shimmers from the sun glinting off the surface. While playing, I was encouraged to linger in the moment and take it in, which really let me observe the details put in.

What Remains of Edith Finch has been in development for 4 years, and is due to launch in Spring 2017. It will be available for PS4 and PC from developer Giant Sparrow.

About The Author

Bobby C
Director, Editorial/Reviews

Bobby C is a veteran FPS and adventure gamer, starting with the NES and Super Mario Bros. The game that really started his love for the FPS Genre was Goldeneye for the N64. Since then, the love grew. From casual, to semi-pro COD with Modern Warfare 2 and 3, and back to casual, it’s a bad week when there isn’t at least 15 hours of games played.