Untitled Goose Game is a hit. Since coming here a week ago, House House's comedy stealth game has achieved considerable success, including positive reviews and mainstream media coverage. It also produced a plethora of memes and was the subject of a tweet by Chrissy Teigen (19459007).
It's one of those rare treats. a really fun video game. The main protagonist is a spiteful goose whose anarchic activities outrage a once peaceful little town. The goose spends its time with profound disaster, which generally means it triggers a series of pitfalls.
A nice gardener uses a hammer to punch a nail into a shield. The goose sneaks behind the gardener. At the crucial moment, the goose honks loudly. The man slaps his finger and falls through a gate. We laugh.
The game reminds me of early comedy films like Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, whom I adore. Today we tend to regard Slapstick as an unaffected, immature kind of comedy. But the early stars of the film worked with jokes that were already familiar to their audiences through variety show. Her genius was to refine and redesign the gags so that they felt both new and somehow perfect.
When the goose pulls out a chair under a character who wants to sit down, we see a joke that we have seen many times before. Mostly this is not a funny joke, partly because of its familiarity and partly because the "comedian" (say your annoying uncle) has no comedy skills.
But the goose makes it funny again. My question to two of the developers, Stuart Gillespie-Cook and Nico Disseldorp, is … why?
"These are jokes that are told again and again," replies Disseldorp. "We definitely knew we were following that kind of joke. But it was never as specific as "Oh, let's watch a couple of slapstick movies in slow motion and analyze how they work". We've been trying to build a shared memory for these jokes that have come from many films, from the silent movie era to today's children's films. "
I ask him how the team is making its jokes.
"We do not start with how we make fun of it," he says. "We assume that the player already knows how the joke works, and we examine how the joke can be made into something the player actually does . What kind of interactions are required? What are the best props? What are the best animations?
Gillespie-Cook adds that "a big part of it is making the player believe they made a joke. We show them the humor and let them believe that they invent the joke, which pays off. "
" "We give you the ingredients," says Disseldorp. "You see the parts of the joke and imagine that it's in your head, and then you pull out the chair and see it fall on its bottom. You've made it, you've made it, it's up to you. "
Games have the advantage of being tried and falsified. Mistakes can be funny too. Players may honk the gardener too early or too late, leading to alternative results.
"We try to make sure there are some ways that the joke does not go right," says Disseldorp. "We do not want it to be so easy that the joke is already over in the second you see it, so if you have to try three times to make the joke run, the longer it gets, the funnier it gets he actually works. "
" The missed opportunities are often as funny as the real punch line, "says Gillespie-Cook. "We also leave a lot of small variations to the player, spending hours and hours testing people, and the minor changes make the jokes funny again." One player runs honking and flapping his wings or another stands in front of the victim and Just staring at him. "
Like the early filmmakers, House House takes familiar humor and reconstructs it to fit a relatively new medium: video games are rarely thoroughly funny due to their narrative and technical limitations and reliance on repetition Productions such as Untitled Goose Game Chuchel and Wattam encourage the study of interactive comedic timing, and it is perhaps no coincidence that all these games depend on childish worlds for universal humor
The non-player characters in Untitled Goose Game sin d known archetypes. The gardener is a man who likes his surroundings and cleans everything up to his own satisfaction. A proprietary shopkeeper viciously protects her merchandise. A cowardly boy is afraid to get distracted by the goose.
"Our favorite comedy is related to this archetypal, platonic idea of characters and all situations," says Gillespie-Cook. "You are instantly familiar to the people."
The team originally wrote more than a hundred potential archetypal NPCs to pass on to those who worked best with each other and with the goose who is the clear star of the show.
"People seem to have this special relationship with geese," says Disseldorp. "They are a bit scared of them, geese can be very aggressive, they are a very powerful animal that people have many feelings about, but they are not considered evil or evil like a snake or a scorpion."
"We really tried not to make the goose look too emotional," says Gillespie-Cook. "It's empty enough for you to read what you want to read, you can project on it."
The way geese are stared at by people as they go mad with desperation is one of the loveliest Features of the Game The goose spends a lot of time stealing items and placing them in uncomfortable locations, the mechanics are secretive and require the goose to know that it is not being watched, or that it wants to be aware of its own misdeeds
"We wanted the goose to look at the objects it interacts with, so that the object does not have to be sparkling or highlighted or whatever," says Disseldorp, "so it was clear that the goose was also the humans When the eye contact was there, we realized that we had encountered that perfect interaction in which it felt real Understanding between human and animal that bridges the lack of a common language. "
Ultimately the goose in an agent of chaos and disaster in a world of rules and order. It is an unruly child. For this reason, the game appeals to both adults and children.
"The impulse we picked up on is that players simply love to mess things up, or whatever their situation is," says Disseldorp.
Untitled Goose Game is released by Panic and is now available on Nintendo Switch, Windows PC and Mac. If you play the game, take a look at our helpful Untitled Goose Game Instructions .