What Remains of Edith Finch
|What Remains of Edith Finch|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
What Remains of Edith Finch is a mystery adventure and walking simulator video game developed by Giant Sparrow and published by Annapurna Interactive for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It is a story-focused drama with first-person gameplay.
What Remains of Edith Finch follows the titular character, a young woman revisiting her old family home as she recalls or discovers the stories of deceased family members. The game was met with very positive reception from critics, who praised its story and presentation. It won British Academy Games Award for Best Game 2017, and won the Best Narrative category at The Game Awards 2017.
What Remains of Edith Finch is the second game developed by the team at Giant Sparrow, led by creative director Ian Dallas, with their debut effort being the BAFTA-award-winning The Unfinished Swan. The game was first announced with an on-stage trailer at the 2014 PlayStation Experience event as a title to be published by SCE Santa Monica Studio, with a subsequent trailer released prior to E3 2015. What Remains of Edith Finch resurfaced again with a new on-stage trailer at the 2016 PlayStation Experience event with a new publisher, Annapurna Interactive.
The Finches are an American family living on the coast of Washington state. Dubbed "America's most unfortunate family," the Finches believe they are being pursued by a curse; every member of the family, going back at least five generations, has died an untimely death, and only one child from each generation has survived to have children of their own.
Odin Finch (1880 – December 1937), the earliest known member of the family, sets sail for the United States in 1937 in hopes of escaping the curse, after it claims his wife and newborn child. Traveling with his daughter Edith "Edie" Finch (8 April 1917 – 5 December 2010), his son-in-law Sven (17 June 1915 – 26 August 1964), and his granddaughter Molly (11 December 1937 – 13 December 1947), and tethering their entire house to the boat, the family eventually crosses the Pacific Ocean and arrives on the coast of Washington. However, high tidal waves sink the house at sea, and Odin drowns with it.
Edie and Sven begin construction on a new Finch house overlooking the ocean (though Edie insists on building a family graveyard first), incorporating some recovered materials from the sunken house. The house is filled with elaborate crawlspaces and secret tunnels leading from one room to another, but these are apparently kept secret from Molly, and from all children who would live there in future. The Finches exist in relative normalcy for some time, until Molly dies at ten years of age. Though her final diary entry alleges that she possessed a carnivorous sea monster and led it to her bedroom, it can be inferred that she dies after a hallucination episode and intestinal problems from eating toxic holly berries placed over Christmas. Edie and Sven's next daughter, Barbara (31 October 1944 – 31 October 1960), dies in an apparent home invasion, though the specifics of her death are uncertain; the only accessible account of her death is a highly fictionalized horror comic, similar in style to Tales from the Crypt. It is also implied that Barbara may have been murdered by her boyfriend (who also disappeared that night), as this is what the police were said to believe. Edie and Sven's youngest son Walter (26 August 1952 – 21 March 2005) is traumatized by her death, and spends the rest of his life in a secret bunker beneath the Finch house.
Calvin (25 April 1950 – 23 September 1961), one of Edie and Sven's three remaining children, dies after falling off of a rope swing into the ocean; his twin brother Sam (25 April 1950 – 16 June 1983) remains in their partitioned bedroom for the rest of his childhood. Sven dies in 1964 while adding a dragon-themed slide to the house; Edie, when asked, tells people he was killed by a dragon.
After each Finch's death, Edie converts their former bedroom into a memorial, incorporating a portrait of the family member as painted by Edie herself, as well as a eulogy or other such document recounting their death. She also creates extravagant additions to the house to make more space, as the bedrooms are never passed down to other family members.
Sam, the sole Finch of his generation who lives until adulthood, marries a woman named Kay, and has three children with her: Dawn (1968–2016), Gus (20 June 1969 – 8 November 1982), and Gregory (12 January 1976 – 19 December 1977). They move into a third story which is built on top of the existing house. Gregory drowns in a flooded bathtub due to neglect on Kay's part (in the bathroom adjacent to Edie's bedroom on the second floor), and Sam and Kay finalize a divorce soon after, for apparently unrelated reasons. Sam marries another woman, and Gus is killed in a storm during their wedding. Sam himself is killed during a hunting trip with his only surviving child Dawn in 1983, where a deer knocks him off a cliff.
At some point during her adulthood, Dawn travels to India for work, and marries a man named Sanjay, with whom she also has three children: Lewis (27 December 1988 – 21 November 2010), Milton (19 May 1992) and Edith Jr. (14 February 1999 – 18 January 2017). After Sanjay's death, Dawn and her children move back into the Finch house.
Milton eventually disappears in 2003; the game's creative director Ian Dallas confirmed in a Reddit interview that Milton travelled into the world of one of his paintings and eventually became the King in The Unfinished Swan. He graffitied his name in many secret passages, so it is implied he died while investigating the house (journeying through a black door is used as a metaphor in his flipbook). Milton's disappearance drives his mother Dawn paranoid, who seals every memorial room shut from the outside. Edie, who firmly believes her great-grandchildren deserve to know their family's stories, drills peepholes into these rooms. An adult Walter, deciding to finally move on, emerges from his bunker through an adjacent rail tunnel, only to be killed by a passing train.
Dawn distributes leaflets with Milton's likeness on them, hoping that he is still alive. After the suicide of her eldest son Lewis in 2010, following a hallucinatory episode caused by derealization, Dawn gives up hope, and makes plans to move out with her daughter, leaving Edie and the Finch house behind. Edie is not informed of these plans until the day before they leave.
During the family's final dinner together, Edie rushes Edith out of the dining room during an argument with Dawn, and sends her to the house library, where she has written an account of the day of Edith's birth in 1999. On that night, according to Edie, an earthquake in the Pacific Ocean brought the tide low enough that she could walk to the old house, which sank with Odin in 1937. Before Edith can learn what Edie found there, however, Dawn rips Edie's book and leaves the Finch home with Edith without packing. Dawn makes plans for Edie to be sent to a nursing home; when personnel come to collect Edie the next morning, however, she is gone, unclear whether she passed or disappeared.
Dawn is sickly for the rest of her life, and finally dies of an unspecified illness in 2016. In her will, she leaves Edith a key, but does not inform her of its significance. Edith, who is 22 weeks pregnant, ventures to the Finch house some time in late 2016, in hopes of finding a use for the key. She breaks into the abandoned house through the pet door and finds a hidden lock in what used to be Walter's room (his memorial was erected at his spot of death, and his childhood room was left untouched), which opens a passageway to Molly's memorialized bedroom. From here, Edith explores the Finch house, learning about the lives and deaths of everyone in her family, and writes a memoir of her experience, which she plans to pass down to her unborn child. The text of this memoir serves as the voice narration during the game.
Edith dies in January 2017, and it is implied that she died of complications from childbirth. At some point in the future, her son Christopher, the sole surviving Finch, reads her memoir, and travels to the Finch family graveyard to leave flowers at her headstone.
As Edith Finch, Jr., the youngest child of Dawn Finch and the last remaining member of the Finch family, players explore the Finch house and surrounding wilderness through a linear series of rooms, footpaths and secret crawlspaces. Players are guided through the house by expository voice narration from Edith herself, and encounter a series of memorials and shrines dedicated to deceased relatives. Players make progress by interacting with these shrines and experiencing the death of these family members (or embellished or fictionalized accounts thereof) in various forms, including flip books, cutscenes, and first-person minigames.
Josh Harmon of EGMNow awarded it 7/10, stating that "Edith Finch is "a brilliant accomplishment. It’s also a game that repeatedly fails to live up to its potential in serious, heartbreaking ways. Until now, I’d never realized it was possible to be both at the same time."
Griffin Vacheron from Game Revolution gave the game a score of 3.5 stars out of 5, saying that "If you're more like me, though, and deviate from the assessment of tragic events as an inherently higher form, then you may find the Finch’s tale doesn’t activate your almonds as much as it probably should. Still, as a spooky, logical evolution of the Gone Homes and Firewatches of the world, with an impressive short-story style to boot, What Remains of Edith Finch is ultimately worth your time if its premise grabs you."
"In What Remains of Edith Finch, death is a certainty and life is the surprise. Its stories are enchanting, despite their unhappy ends. I was sad I never had the chance to know the Finches while they were alive, but thankful for the opportunity, however brief, to learn a bit about them. The final farewell left me crying, but What Remains of Edith Finch is, without doubt, love," was Susan Arendt's conclusion on Polygon with a score of 9/10.
Colm Ahern's score of 9/10 on VideoGamer.com said that "First-person, narrative-driven games generally follow a pattern. What Remains of Edith Finch plays with those established conventions to create a beautiful story that breaks your heart, while making you smile just as much. A triumph in the genre."
Eurogamer ranked the game second on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017", while GamesRadar+ ranked it fifth on their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017. In Game Informer's Reader's Choice Best of 2017 Awards, the game came at fourth place for "Best Adventure Game" with just 10% of the votes, about 4% behind Life Is Strange: Before the Storm. The same website also gave it the award of "Best Adventure Game" in their Best of 2017 Awards, and of "Best Narrative" and "Adventure Game of the Year" in their 2017 Adventure Game of the Year Awards. EGMNow ranked the game at #25 in their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017, while Polygon ranked it 13th on their list of the 50 best games of 2017.
The game won the award for "Best Story" in PC Gamer's 2017 Game of the Year Awards, and was nominated for "Game of the Year". It was also nominated for "Best Xbox One Game" in Destructoid's Game of the Year Awards 2017; for "Best Adventure Game" and "Best Story" in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards; and for "Best Moment or Sequence" (Cannery Sequence) in Giant Bomb's 2017 Game of the Year Awards.
|2017||35th Annual Golden Joystick Awards||Best Storytelling||Nominated|||
|Best Indie Game||Nominated|
|Breakthrough Award (Giant Sparrow)||Nominated|
|The Game Awards 2017||Best Narrative||Won|||
|Games for Impact||Nominated|
|Best Independent Game||Nominated|
|2018||New York Game Awards 2018||Big Apple Award for Best Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|Off-Broadway Award for Best Indie Game||Nominated|
|Herman Melville Award for Best Writing||Nominated|
|Statue of Liberty Award for Best World||Nominated|
|Great White Way Award for Best Acting in a Game (Valerie Rose Lohman)||Nominated|
|21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Story||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction||Nominated|
|National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards||Camera Direction in a Game Engine||Nominated|||
|Game Design, New IP||Nominated|
|Game, Original Adventure||Won|
|Original Light Mix Score, New IP||Nominated|
|SXSW Gaming Awards||Excellence in Narrative||Won|||
|Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award||Nominated|
|Game Developers Choice Awards||Innovation Award||Nominated|||
|14th British Academy Games Awards||Best Game||Won|||
|Performer (Valerie Rose Lohman)||Nominated|
|2018 Webby Awards||Best Art Direction||Nominated|||
|Best Game Design||Nominated|
|2018 Games for Change Awards||Best Gameplay||Won|||
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