‘Returnal”s mystery was a “tightrope walk” says senior narrative designer

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The senior narrative designer on Returnal has said that creating the game’s mystery was a “tightrope walk”.

In a new interview with VGC, Housemarque writer Eevi Korhonen discussed how the team went about creating the game’s non-linear story.

“It was a tightrope walk,” Korhonen said. “My boss Greg Louden, the narrative director, and I tried to ensure that both sides were included. So I was more ‘let’s make it more mysterious, let’s let the player puzzle it out with the community’ while Greg was kind of like ‘Okay, but we have to make sure that they understand some of this story’”.

Returnal. Credit: Housemarque

Returnal‘s story has been described as complex given the way the game’s sequences are built. Korhonen also explained that up until the last moment of development, the team was cutting, editing, and tweaking the game’s wording and other things to make it clearer to the player.

VGC also asked if there are still secrets to be discovered in the game, to which Korhonen said that he has been “stalking” Returnal‘s subreddit where fans have continued to share their findings, saying “there have been wonderful little discoveries.

“…there is something I’m still hoping that they will discover about the Tower Sisyphus. It’s not as much of a secret, more like a nice philosophical reference to the name…But nobody has put that on Reddit yet, so I haven’t seen anyone make that connection. But hopefully, someone will maybe after this.”

On June 17, it was reported that the studio intends to put ideas that were left out of Returnal into its next project. “Returnal was so ambitious. We dreamt super big, but we still had to leave so much on the cutting room floor. All of these ideas and narrative systems,” Kohonen said.

In other news, a Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Nintendo Direct will air this week.

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