What is it?
Gone Home is a first-person adventure game first released in 2013 by The Fullbright Company and available for Mac/PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The game was generally well received and won several awards, including a BAFTA for best debut game. It is set in 1995 and involves the exploration of a mansion in Oregon. The game was made using the Unity game engine.
The player assumes the role of Kaitlin, a 21-year-old who returns home from overseas to find her house deserted and her parents and 18-year-old sister, Samantha, nowhere to be found. Kaitlin investigates what has happened to her family.
The player sees Kaitlin’s house in first person perspective, walking around and examining objects. There are no cutscenes, but occasionally voiceover is used to move the story forward.
Adventure gamers will enjoy exploring the environment and poking around, but rather than pointless or artificial puzzles, the game is designed to effectively mimic the feeling of being in 1995 by careful attention to detail of the objects placed in the setting. These objects providing clues to help the player uncover more of the story and piece together what has happened. As the player is free to explore the house, it’s possible they will experience the story out of chronological order, although this is somewhat constrained by needing to discover certain objects to unlock further areas of the house.
Gone Home has been accused of not truly being a game at all and being closer to interactive fiction, with its lack of puzzles and combat and the inability of the player to die or make choices that affect the outcome.
Women and the Game
In Gone Home, you play as a female protagonist, Kaitlin, and the game explores the themes of sexuality and family secrets.
Karla Zimonja co-founded indie game studio The Fullbright Company and co-wrote the game. She had previously worked at 2K Marin on Bioshock 2 and was originally a 2D animator for television.
Check out a walkthrough of Gone Home here.
Interview with Karla Zimonja by Gadgette
Review in the Financial Post
Review in The New York Times
Review on IGN.com