Hey, I’m Goldie, the art director for Wayward Strand, coming to PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on September 15 (that’s so soon!!)
For the first time in the six years since Ghost Pattern was formed, me and the team are sharing a deep dive into the making of our real-time, simultaneously told story, Wayward Strand, starring Casey, a 14-year-old aspiring journalist, as she follows her curiosity wherever it takes her.
Early artwork of how the ship might be loaded up with supplies, by me! Goldie Bartlett
From the start, the game was heavily inspired by immersive theater, slice-of-life comics, and graphic novels. Something I love about this format is that there’s a lot of space and area to tuck moments in amongst the larger plot points and knots of storylines.
Cast away! Creating our characters
Our team created Wayward Strand’s characters based on personal experiences and stories from people in our lives, particularly older people. We wanted our characters to be active within the story, as opposed to waiting around for the player to come by before they do anything. Georgia Symons, one of Wayward Strand’s writers, remembers that “the goal was to give each character the potential to ‘move the story forward’, through whatever actions they take.”
In early demos we were excited by how simultaneous storylines give the player the opportunity to happen upon scenes or storylines in mid-flow. It helps the player both understand and feel that there is a world of activity going on outside of their character.
Ghost Pattern’s earliest mock-up of the Day 1 schedule in 2016/2017. Each row, a different character and each column a time of day.
Wayward Strand’s other writer, Jason Bakker, feels like telling many storylines at the same time means we can really round out our characters. “It allows each character to have quiet moments, time to themselves. Each character can be the centre of attention for a bit, then the player can follow them as they return to their rooms, and be with them as they process what just happened.”
Screenshot of the current build, at the front of the ship overlooking the coast.
We’ve challenged ourselves to make every character as interesting as possible over the course of three in-game days, and that’s a part of making Wayward Strand I’ve absolutely loved. Often I’d have a conversation with someone — my mum or an aunty or a friend — they’d tell me some story about someone they once knew and I’d think, “that is SUCH an Esther thing to do” or ‘that’s exactly how Joe (one of the nurses) must be feeling about Dr. Bouchard’. Over the past six years, little nuances that relate to people we know have been added to the characters piece by piece.
By the sea-nery
An early rendering of Casey visiting Ida using 3D modeling.
We’ve gone through many generations of the visuals for our liv