When Giant Sparrow released its humble, first-person title The Unfinished Swan, the PlayStation community was enthralled. Riding the crest of an indie resurgence, the studio’s maiden release was as beautiful as it was unique, with players tasked with decorating the ice-white world around them in order to complete their quest, like an artist faced with a black canvas.
Fast forward three years and we arrive at What Remains of Edith Finch, a mysterious title acting as Giant Sparrow’s sophomore release. In truth, not much is known about it in terms of plot, aside from the fact it retains the first-person perspective from The Unfinished Swan, though today Sony has released a new trailer and plot synopsis for the game, peeling back the curtain on an atypical family adventure. Cue the comparisons to Gone Home.
Nonetheless, what separates Giant Sparrow’s new IP from its genre contemporaries is its fragmented narrative, and the reveal trailer above hints at the various members of the Finch family, beautifully illustrated by superimposing nostalgic family videos onto humdrum domestic ornaments. In tandem with the footage, the studio outline the core plot driving the story, which will place players in control of Edith Finch.
As Edith, players will be exploring this house and eventually unlocking bedrooms for all the various family members. Inside each bedroom is something that tells a story about that person’s life (like a diary, or a collection of photos, etc).
The Finch family house, by the way, is crazy. The family has been living here for the last hundred years and each generation adds on to it. By the time Edith arrives the house is an enormous artifact influenced by a range of eccentric, stubborn folks. Hopefully it’s also a place that comes across as believable and familiar. Our goal has been to make the house feel fantastical but at the same time like it was all made out of stuff you could buy at Home Depot.
And that’s the game in a nutshell: a surreal experience that’s grounded in a familiar world. The deaths in each of the stories are a little bizarre but the really strange thing is death itself.
What Remains of Edith Finch will release exclusively for PlayStation 4 at some point in 2016.