Preview afterwards: this game wants you to share in its grief

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Quiet, humble adventure games seem to be the font through which game developers share some of the darkest human emotions. Hindsight is an upcoming adventure/puzzle game developed by Joel McDonald and published by Annapurna Interactive. It is about sadness, memories and looking back on your life, as the name suggests.

I saw Hindsight in a hands-off preview a while ago, where I watched a snippet of the gameplay. The game follows a woman named Mary who returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death. The player can see different points in Mary’s life through “openings” or small objects that provide a window into that time. The openings can be anything from a drop of water or a cloud to a flower.

The openings overlap in memories, leading players on a sort of ramble through Mary’s life and her interactions with her late mother. Apertures can also be moved to unlock new memories. It’s a strictly linear experience, but the user’s curiosity will determine whether they unlock optional memories.

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Speaking to McDonald and story designer Emma Kidwell, both stated that the game’s subject matter was inspired by real-life experiences. Kidwell told GamesBeat that she saw a lot of herself in Mary, and that adult female games are becoming more and more common in the industry.

One of the main emotional beats of Hindsight is complex grief. As McDonald said, one of the emotional pillars of the game is the “don’t always know your loved ones” confrontation. I also don’t see enough mother-daughter relationships in games, so Hindsight’s story already interests me.

Of course, my only problem with what I’ve seen from Hindsight is the one problem I have with all games from this line: letting the player experience human emotions and empathize with characters is all well and good, but a game also needs to make an effort to engage. There’s a tipping point where a low-key, minimalist adventure game just becomes uninteresting.

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It would break my heart if the game flipped over that point, as it’s very nice and has some interesting central mechanics. But Kidwell and McDonald both acknowledged that managing user engagement is a high priority for them, so I hope they can manage it.

Hindsight doesn’t have a release date yet, but is expected to launch on Switch, the App Store and Steam.

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This post Preview afterwards: this game wants you to share in its grief

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