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The Stanley Parable Dev Showcase: Pressure

by Davey Wreden on 06/19/13 06:49:00 pm   Expert Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutras community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


The Stanley Parable Helpful Development Showcase is our way of connecting you to the development of The Stanley Parable by giving you a small look at what's been going on behind the scenes. Each week we'll give you a tiny peek into what it takes to make a game like The Stanley Parable, the creative challenges we come up against in the course of development, and how to not judge yourself as a person for the quality of choices you've made in your own life. These are just a few of the topics we'll cover in this incredibly useful blog series.

This week: How not to give into pressure

As a highly-recognized celebrity game developer, I'm under constant pressure from the people around me to modify and make additions to my game simply to serve their own needs. These are people who think only of themselves and have little or not consideration for Art. They might not even know what Art means!

If you came to this blog to find out what Art means, let me point you to this excerpt from

This definition is what I turn to whenever I'm uncertain about the quality of my work. It gives me the strength I need to shoot down other peoples' opinions mercilessly.

Let's look at one example of how I respond to pressure from the public to steer the direction of Stanley Parable one way or the other. Here's a screenshot from the game's Greenlight page:

See how I got all excited and acted as though I was going to use Smithy's idea?

That's because I did. It's in the game.

It's a great idea.

I'm not going to turn down great ideas.

Here's another example of the tough-love attitude you have to take when members of the public try to get their dirty fingers all over your creation.

Obviously this one is also going in.

The guy sounds passionate about squid. Don't you see it in his words? In his words between the words? He isn't just asking me to put squid in the game, he's telling me that for him, squid IS the game. Will he play this game and see anything but squid? Or rather, can he look at a squid and see anything but The Stanley Parable? I can't answer that question, nor do I intend to. All I can do is bring this young boy's dream to life.

Here's another example of a suggestion from the public:

Mr. Foots needs to be in this game.

The Stanley Parable needs Mr. Foots.

Mr. Foots the mathematical wizard, deconstructor of numbers, of the universe. He who sees it from all angles, who can manipulate the fabric of time to his will.

Why is he so tall? Did he choose this height or was it forced on him? Will he ever be shorter? Does he measure himself in inches or in quarter-inches? These are the kinds of unanswerable questions that get to the root of what Stanley Parable is all about.

Mr. Foots is an enigma, he sees without seeing, he knows without knowing. He is everywhere and nowhere. Is it a stretch to say that he IS the stanley parable? No, no it is not. No stretching required.


These suggestions from fans, they're so pure, so's like they know my own game better than I do...

Once again, I turn to the public for help:

Slowly, in response to my request for ideas, a cohesive picture of what The Stanley Parable should be begins to emerge:

I include all of these suggestions and more, and already the game feels much more cohesive. I can tell it's coming together now, it's got life to it.

But it's still missing something.

I turn to the only real source of wisdom any of us have in our lives.

Minutes later, I get an email back:

At last, hope! Could this response hold the answers I've been looking for?

Eagerly, I go to and pull up the definition of Art:

He got me again! I've fallen for that one too many times.

So perhaps all of my questions haven't been answered, but that's okay. Sure, there are times when I'm uncertain of my work and doubtful of my abilities, but it's probably healthy to be at least a little bit skeptical of yourself. Otherwise how would I be able to accept when my work isn't up to par? That's why I keep good friends and community close at hand, to keep me in check and watch my back. It's these friends who guide me ever on that eternal voyage toward completely genuine and intensely vulnerable artistic expression.

I'm gonna go get a picture of Mr. Foots tattooed to my forehead.

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