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Take a look back at some of the early concepts for What Remains of Edith Finch

April 26, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon

Giant Sparrow has released a trio of early design concepts for its game What Remains of Edith Finch or, as it was known during the early stages of development, The Nightmares of Edith Finch.

Developers can now check out an early conceptual trailer, concept document, and a mood board that explore some of the early design ideas and inspirations for What Remains of Edith Finch.

“Now that we’re in the very early stages of our next game, it’s comforting to look back at the last game and see how wrong we were about so many things, but also how eventually the bits of good ideas coalesced in unexpected ways that ended up looking eerily like what we set out to make in the first place,” explains the developer.

The Giant Sparrow team notes that not many, if any, of the ideas presented in these early concepts found their way into the finished game, but, in most cases, the tone of each comes close to matching that of the final project.

This is especially apparent in the closing page of the design document, which explains: "this is a game for people in search of weird and beautiful new experiences," noting that the final game would use elements commonly found in horror games but would not, at its core, be a game targeted at horror game fans.

"To appeal to a more general audience our plan is to emphasize the game's eerie atmosphere and its lack of violence or gore," reads the document. "Our focus on the natural world and the through-line of a family mystery are also meant to communicate that this is not a traditional horror game."

For instance, the ‘greenlight trailer’ created to communicate the game’s overall feel to its publisher features hallways crammed with books, passageways hidden within an aging house, and, at one point, a “sunken house.”

None of those exact prototypes appear in the final game, but many of those elements manifest in the final game in a different way. Interestingly enough, the developer notes that they abandoned and completely forgot about the sunken house featured in the trailer, but a similar concept showed up in the game (“in a completely different form”) three years later. 

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