Director of Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons Josef Fares has already planned out his next project, a game centred on emotions which he believes breaks new ground.
Fares is the Swedish director who swapped movies for videogames to release Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons with Starbreeze last year, and this week the game picked up a BAFTA for innovation. Afterwards, Fares told us a little about his next project. “I have a super-exciting game idea that’s going to be quite different from Brothers, but you will see that it’s the same person behind it,” he said.
It won’t be the same development team, though. Though Fares’ now award-winning game has been a critical success, he will not be working with Starbreeze for his next title. “With Starbreeze I went there for two years and I was there for 24 hours a day,” continued Fares. “You know, Starbreeze has been going through a lot of different changes and I have to figure out what to do next. I have the game already planned out, and I’m super-excited about it. It’s a game about emotions and something that really hasn’t been done before. I’m sure that people will react differently to it.”
Brothers was praised for its writing, immersive world and unusual controls, and in particular its unique feel; that’s down to the fresh, alternative perspective Fares brings from the world of film, he says, though he has found making games a lot more difficult than directing movies. “I’ve done six feature films and they were a walk in the park compared to making a game,” he tells us. “Interactivity changes everything, it changes the way you write something, the way you tell your story, the way you handle your audience. In a movie you’re in control of pretty much everything. In a game, it’s like having your audience running around on set, playing with your camera, your actors…so most of the time it’s about making sure that when the player is controlling the character the game doesn’t break. And also trying to help the character proceed forward in the story.”
Games are the younger medium in relation to film, of course, and Fares suggests that that’s a good thing. A growing creative landscape allows for greater experimentation, he tells us. “From a creative standpoint games aren’t as developed as films are – with films we know what works and what doesn’t work. With games, and with Brothers and the next thing I am thinking about, there’s so much to discover – I am surprised that we don’t see much more innovation.”
Fares adds that his fostering of an ‘outsider’ perspective is entirely deliberate – he believes that originality and innovation only comes from railing against established practices. “I have this thing where if someone comes along and tells me how to do something I get out of the room,” he tells us. “I believe that when people say ‘this is the way it’s done’ then there’s something wrong. Sure, you can have an idea, certain tastes, but you can’t just say ‘this is how it’s done’. So I surround myself with people who are as flexible as possible. I love questioning everything.
“I am not schooled in games design, I’ve not read one game design book – nothing. I like to keep my head fresh and I like to surround myself with people who don’t claim to know everything already – who are a little bit insecure in their creativity. That’s a good thing – I think insecurity is actually creative freedom.”