Fullbright will release Gone Home’s successor Tacoma in early August, and the developers have recently explained why isolation is such an integral aspect of both projects.
Speaking to Waypoint, Fullbright co-founder Karla Zimonja said that the choice was made to serve both technical and narrative ends. NPCs were not even considered for Gone Home because of the limited resources that the team had at the time, which meant that the process of designing the characters and making them interactive was unfeasible, with Zimonja saying, “we knew we weren’t capable of it.”
The studio’s next game, however, will include a number of NPCs who appear as holograms, with this decision stemming from a desire to “build upon the structure of Gone Home, without completely repeating” that experience. As such, although players are able to fastforward and rewind the recordings of the characters, no direct interaction will be possible within the game.
In terms of story, however, removing NPCs and the expository dialogue that frequently accompanies their inclusion “gives the player the benefit of the doubt and makes them more participatory.” Rather than simply being dictated a story, players become involved in the shaping of the narrative, which allows for a greater sense of engagement. Zimonja said that giving players “a little bit to imagine, and the space to do it themselves, then they’ve made their own version of that and they now have a little bit of the story already inside their head.”
Tacoma will cast players as an engineer tasked with finding out what went wrong aboard a space station. More details about the project are available in OnlySP’s preview. The game will release on August 2, 2017 for PC and Xbox One.