A feature article I wrote about Neil Gaiman’s aesthetic in relation to Wayward Manor has been published on Killscreen today. Here’s a snippet to entice you to read the whole article:
The promise of Wayward Manor, then, was a chance to interact with these stories in a way never possible with his printed texts; the game offered the chance to go inside one of Gaiman’s worlds as the protagonist. Unfortunately, with the release of the game, it’s clear that promise will remain unfulfilled. Wayward Manor goes most wayward in terms of game design, such that the possibility of interacting inside a Gaiman story in a meaningful way becomes impossible. We are left with a game that, rather than immersing us in story, stands as proof that games don’t just need better writer to make game stories better. The Odd Gentlemen had one of this generation’s greatest storytellers on board, and still failed to marry a rich Gaiman narrative into its game design.
As a fan of Gaiman’s this was a particularly trying piece to write. I pitched the article a few weeks before the game was released, hoping that I’d have the opportunity to speak highly of a great game – and hoping to praise a small game company for its ability to capture the magic of a literary one-man super force. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the piece I got to write. I’d still love to see a great game come from collaborating with Neil Gaiman, but I hope that the game’s development is richer and longer and does justice to the craft of both story and play.