How ‘Kena’ Conjured the ‘Feeling of Getting Misplaced in a Forest’


Notice: This Q&A has been edited for each readability and size.

WIRED: What was your unique pitch for Bridge of Spirits?

Mike Grier: In some ways, the unique pitch has remained intact all through growth. We got down to make a story-focused, action-adventure sport in a smaller however AAA high quality package deal. We pitched an expertise that was digestible—one thing you would full in a weekend however with high-quality visuals and actually enjoyable gameplay.

As we crafted sport mechanics, examined animation, reviewed character designs, and developed the story, every course of influenced the opposite, resulting in thrilling transformations. We by no means knew precisely the place this journey may lead! Initially, the Rot had been really the antagonists thwarting Kena on her journey, however we quickly discovered that making them her teammates was the way in which to go.

Equally, early on we had been targeted on telling a coming of age story a couple of pretty younger spirit information. Quickly, we started to ask ourselves how her talent degree affected gameplay and story. So, fight design triggered story discussions about how far she had gone in her coaching, how a lot info she knew, and the way a lot real-world expertise she could have.

WIRED: How would you describe Kena’s character and the place she matches in her world?

MG: Kena nonetheless has lots to be taught, however at the beginning of her journey, she units out—positive of her duties as a spirit information and one who understands the sacred rituals wanted to help misplaced spirits. Earlier in growth, Kena was extra uncertain, harmless, and a real novice, however the Kena you meet in Bridge Of Spirits is unbiased, self-reliant, and is aware of what she’s doing. On the similar time, she is aware of the right way to have some enjoyable with the village kids and her little Rot associates.

Upon assembly the inhabitants of the village, Kena discovers they’ve completely different traditions than those who her father taught her, however she rapidly understands that they’ve the identical mission. Maybe the worth of Kena’s youth reveals itself in her personal potential to simply accept and adapt to new views and alternative ways of reaching the identical objectives.

WIRED: How does Kena and her journey in Bridge Of Spirits counter stereotypes and differ from different portrayals of loss and forgiveness?

Josh Grier: We worth the presentation of all kinds of views in storytelling, particularly tales that discover much less generally depicted experiences. Kena’s undivided give attention to her obligation and utilizing her data and experience to assist these round her marks a key departure from a number of the extra widespread feminine stereotypes or tropes inside gaming. Kena shouldn’t be a damsel in misery, an unlikely feminine hero, or a fragile protagonist in want of help. As a substitute, the characters our hero encounters acknowledge her as a extremely succesful and efficient spirit information.

However, Kena nonetheless meets many challenges. As a substitute of taking over a extra auxiliary or passive function, she grapples together with her surroundings, makes use of her ingenuity, and delves right into a deeper understanding of the grief and lack of even her biggest foes—to assist them forgive, let go, and transfer on.

WIRED: What impressed the staff to make use of this venture to give attention to themes of steadiness and restoration and our personal human need to reconcile our errors?

JG: Like many artists, our staff feels the drive to research our human expertise and mirror on these discoveries by way of our medium. In our private lives, we’ve felt the pressure of fixed publicity to stimuli, polarization, and battle on the planet proper now. Issues really feel out of steadiness.

Within the early phases of growth, all of us discovered solace within the restorative ideas of discovering our pure equilibrium. This impressed us to discover themes of restoration and reconciliation with our errors by way of our new medium of video video games. We hope that gamers have a enjoyable expertise enjoying Bridge of Spirits, however we additionally hope that these extra contemplative questions encourage self-reflection, and perhaps even some steadiness.

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