The word beautiful is often banded about in the context of videogames. It has become a milestone of the medium to create works of beauty – whether it is in the pristine rendering of an evergreen forest, lost in the dark foreboding shadows of an underworld, or sweeping across the flowing sand-dunes of some forgotten desert. But you know what, beauty is over-rated.
That’s not to say we want to make ‘ugly’ games, or that we’re preparing to tell you that Beckett is an ugly game. It’s not, at least, not in the way that the industry, its audience and the press use it. Ugliness in the context of games contours up badly rendered artefacts, poorly conceived animation cycles and a general air of unprofessionalism in the product. It’s throws up an idea of a lack-of-polish, something unfinished, jittery, poorly executed and, ultimately, bad. We can’t think of any highly-rated ‘ugly’ games. But, let’s step back a minute, readjust our notions of beauty and consider the potential of upsetting our highly-tuned senses.
Beauty offers a sense of comfort. Derailing an audience’s sense of comfort is a very powerful thing. In the art of storytelling, challenging convention, putting the audience outside of their comfort zone and causing people to re-evaluate their opinions is the Holy Grail, to us anyway. Maybe you’re more into Hollywood casting, primary colours or zen-like retreats. This isn’t Beckett… by design.
Inside Beckett (the vidoegame) you’ll encounter all kinds of ugliness – the kind that our own world throws up on a daily basis, the kind that exists secretly in the back of people’s minds, the kind that comes with corruption and self-centred ambition. You’ll also find compassion, fragments of hope and desire. You’ll find a story that questions what it is to be human, and the imprint we leave on the world in which we exist.
So, yes, Beckett is pretty ugly. But within ugliness lies intrigue, with within that understanding. And when you start to understand ugliness, you start to see its beauty. Something like that, anyway.
Beckett intercuts memories with gameplay – fragments of what was to inform what is.