It’s finally here! We invite everyone to explore the wonderful world of Viewfinder. I’m Gwen Foster, one of the directors of SOS. I’m here to talk about how we made a game about a camera, how you can reshape reality with the pictures you take, and what a world we’ve built. We have a special mechanic that is very difficult to explain in words. It is very easy to understand when you see it and experience it.
We knew we had to design things around the camera during early development. Expanding on this experience of reshaping reality, there were eventually photocopiers, perspective, and rewind. How much further can we push this strange mechanic? The more fun we had with the mechanics, the more questions we had about how to turn this into a game.
Who would do that? Why was this technology created in the first place? What stories can we tell using this mechanic? Is the story we want to tell a call to adventure? Are they memories of a lost love? Is it a hero’s journey? Is it subversive? Do we want to make a strong point in something? Do we really have something to say? Who will say these things? How do we say it?
I always felt that I could fit into any story. We wanted to show and don’t tell. The first concrete decision was to choose Brutalism. The game explored the concept of “create is destroy” and based the design. Concrete buildings are also very expensive to make in the real world and difficult to destroy, which is a fun contrast to play with. The second decision was to plant, and from the beginning we were open to exploring the culture of solar punk. Knowing the absurdity of the game, the plants must be colorful.
We knew we wanted cement and plants.
So we changed the questions. We shifted our focus from a character-driven experience to an agency-driven one. How do we show this world? What are the structures where this mechanic can move? How do we make sense of the things we wanted to do and still have the freedom to expand on this story in the future?
We really leaned towards what we knew. It organically evolved into a friendship story between four people who decided to make Viewfinder. We decided to tell a story of hope with everything that was happening in the world when we were creating the game. It’s easy to get lost when designing a game like Viewfinder, so everything needs to have a purpose. Their different disciplines were decided. It was, finally, physics, botany, engineering (mechanics) and the arts. Each founder also had their own visual language and found objects.
Meet the founders
Aaronan Algerian artist with a deep love for photography and an intelligent eye for design.
hiraya, a Filipino botanist whose name means Imagination. In the center of its axis is a Bagras tree, or Rainbow Gum.
chileung, a mechanic from Hong Kong, who loves to get lost in a book, develops a lot of technology and wants to make the air accessible. He known to kill plants, even foxgloves.
look, a Scottish physicist who loves architecture, designed the structures. He wanted to create new technologies without being restricted by gravity and nature.
The founders also gave a framework for how players experienced the game. As we leaned towards populating spaces with objects that these founders loved, we were also aware that Viewfinder was evolving and becoming a graveyard of who they were. There had to be an anchor and a constant in all the madness. That was CAIT.
We were aware of the conflicts between application vs. theory, natural vs. man-made, and technology vs. humanity, which helped us discover what friction and tension can arise with narrative. How are realities seen from different perspectives? How is the fragility of creation resolved? Can it even be solved? In the same way, we wanted to give players the chance to experience Viewfinder the way they wanted, we wanted to see ourselves in the context of the world.
We hope you discover all the secrets of this world. Play Viewfinder now on PlayStation 5.