When The Unfinished Swan came to the PlayStation 3 store, the videogame industry had just undergone a paradigm shift. Perhaps ‘suffering’ is a wrong word, not the second: the indies were taking a run and it was no longer necessary for a large studio
to dedicate millions of euros to a production so that it would have guaranteed quality. Titles such as Braid, Limbo or Bastion had opened a gap in a conservative sector, and that was only the beginning.
Gone Home, another of those indies from nothing, changed everything. Abandoned the condition of video game on many occasions to tell a story in a literary format, interactive but without taking advantage of 100% of the benefits offered by the medium, a contro
versial but not wrong, accepting its extraordinary quality and its ability to generate a conversation around him. That little project, one of those that made the
term ‘walking simulator’ to designate narrative video games in which 90% of the time is spent while reading text without putting the player’s skill to the test, was a seed of something much older
The Unfinished Swan came out in the middle of this whole revolution, although it still accepted its origin and raised a series of puzzles or situations to solve.
The narrative part was decisive, a kind of adventure with magical realism integrated in which a small story came alive to leave the player wanting to enter
more and more into his world. His studio, Giant Sparrow, has not stopped working since then and in 2012 he began to lay the foundations of his next project.
This week has been released on PS4, PC and we are in luck. Because not only is it superior to its first title, but it also enters fully into the group of the best in the genre.
If last year we had Firewatch to remind us how to tell a story taking advantage of the minimum and exploiting it to the fullest, and in 2015 it was The Beginner’s Guide that reminded us that The Stanley Parable was not a simple stroke of luck, What Remains of
Edith Finch comes to save the waking simulator and the saturation and wear and tear that has been suffered because of innocuous proposals
and unable to understand the rules not only of video games, but of the own narrative, without category that is worth.
Gone Home was, in my opinion, a literary bet. The interaction was limited in almost all cases to move around a house and read documents, but What Remains of Edith Finch is a video game aware of being. If The Beginner’s Guide used this to their
advantage to tell us about the sector from a goal point of view, Edith Finch is a much more naked bet. Its function is to use the tools available to
sublimate, and to correct, the evils in which the genre had fallen, devoting space and providing inventiveness to each of the stories it tells.
All the ancestors of Edith have something to tell us, the source of text with which the memories are printed on walls, furniture or newspapers varies, they are given a personality from the literary and their forms are explored in the playable. One of them, the first
of all and used in several trailers of the game, tells us about how a girl named Dorothy suffered a nightmare in which she transformed into several animals. We control them all, we learn their function and what they contribute.
The list extends to the other members. Barbara, a young and prodigious girl actress, exploits her story with comic strips, with an extraordinary
homage to John Carpenter’s Halloween on an audiovisual and even narrative level and an undisguised nod to The Guardian of the Crypt. Giant
Sparrow does not hide, it goes naked, and that’s why everything works. Because each of the stories lives under its own rules and that gives the experience an enviable rhythm and creativity.
What Remains of Edith Finch is not a long game, it will only be two hours from start to finish, like other recent proposals including Virginia or
Blackwood Crossing. The difference is that here this plays in your favor, because your story is so full of nooks and
crannies, its characters are so memorable and it is so beautifully written that the option of replaying it is not only that, an option, but something forced.
It is a difficult emotional game, it hits with force and uses the metaphor in its favor and with intelligence, as a certain episode that condenses in a few minutes all the pain
and fury that That Dragon, Cancer caused. With an iconography that would make Tim Burton blush of the beginnings, which turned the story of a
buffoon named Ed Wood into a song to life. What Remains of Edith Finch has that power of fascination.