Bekah Saltsman, CEO, Finji, discusses the inspirations and process behind the game.
What sparked the idea for Night in the Woods and how did it change over time?
Alec tweeted at Scott asking if he wanted to make a game. That was the start of it. The idea was a combo of some themes and ideas the team was kicking around plus elements from people and places Scott and Bethany knew very well. Before the idea came together the plan was to make this pretty, atmospheric ipad game about a woman exploring a magical forest. But when the concept that became Night In The Woods as we know it emerged, it just took over.
Who is the game targeted at?
The game is targeted at anyone, really. I don’t think a specific target was ever discussed, beyond things like content ratings that affected who could buy the game. People connect with it for a variety of reasons- mental health issues, similar life experiences, deep feelings about the game’s take on various issues. Also some folks just like that it’s funny and the music is good and you get to play as a cartoon cat.
Why did you feel it was important to make a game like Night in the Woods?
The game didn’t start out with a “mission” or anything. It started developing deeper themes that the team felt very strongly about as it went on, and by the end it did feel like something crucial. The team ended up pouring a lot of themselves into it and people were responding really deeply to demos of the game, so it became clear that there was something there.
What research or collaborations did you undertake to inform the game?
Bethany did a lot of research of her home region for the game, beyond her personal experiences. Stacks of books, stacks of notes. She wrote an entire history for the town that is woven throughout the game, sometimes visible, sometimes in the background.