“We’re trying to create a neutron star, not a black hole”
The impact of the COVID pandemic on videogames has been impossible to ignore, between the spate of release-date delays to the themes explored in games made during it – from tiny indies to expensive blockbusters. No game tapped into lockdown loneliness quite so successfully as Madison Karrh’s brilliant Birth, while even Nintendo’s new Zelda features a ‘great upheaval’ and a gloom descending over Hyrule.
Edge 385’s cover game, Fort Solis – an independently developed game with production values shooting for triple-A standards – was birthed during those early months of enforced isolation. Like many, game director James Tinsdale exhausted various TV-series boxsets in that time – but as the rest of us moved on to baking banana bread, the co-founder of Liverpool studio Fallen Leaf started writing a script.
While HBO’s The Last Of Us has since seen Naughty Dog’s game enter the broader cultural zeitgeist, Tinsdale sought to take things in the opposite direction: his goal was to put together an interactive sci-fi thriller with the storytelling quality to match the best streaming shows. To which end, he knew he needed a strong cast to bring his words to life – enter two of videogames’ most highly regarded performers, Troy Baker and Roger Clark. In our 16-page cover feature, we talk to Baker, Clark and Tinsdale about the process of realising this “dense and deep” story – one tailored towards the very audience whose viewing habits changed when lockdown began.
Elsewhere in the issue, we discuss the challenges facing contemporary game devs as they struggle to consistently hit the 60fps target promised by modern hardware. There are fresh insights into the unique appeal of asymmetric multiplayer games from the developers behind some of the finest contemporary examples of the genre. And we explore why the distinctive magic of FromSoftware’s Bloodborne endures, eight years after its release.
In Time Extend, we revisit Ice Pick Lodge’s esoteric sandbox RPG Pathologic 2, and examine how this dark, twisted vision became horrifyingly prescient. There’s more light-hearted (and light-fingered) trickery in The Making Of Card Shark, in which we find out how Nerial delivered sleights-of-hand with Kubrickian elegance. Columnist Steven Poole considers how games can be a vaccine against misinformation, while Adrian Hon visits the modern-day arcade, where cocktails and cabinets compete for attention.
Our Hype section highlights a diverse selection of forthcoming attractions including Post Trauma, Anger Foot and Astronaut: The Best, while in Play we run the rule over Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Redfall, Planet Of Lana, Humanity and Darkest Dungeon II. Not forgetting, of course, Tears Of The Kingdom: has Nintendo managed to produce a second great upheaval for the open-world genre? The answer is in Edge 385, on sale now.