Everything (video game)
Everything is a simulation game developed by artist David OReilly. It was released for the PlayStation 4 on March 21, 2017, for Microsoft Windows and macOS on April 21, 2017, and for Linux on April 28, 2017. A Nintendo Switch version of the game was released on January 10, 2019. It was released in Japan on February 13, 2020. The game sees the player take control of various lifeforms and inanimate objects, exploring the procedurally generated world and finding new things to take control of. Everything features quotations from philosopher Alan Watts and has no clear goal aside from occupying more objects within the game. It received critical acclaim and was qualified for the Oscars.
|Publisher(s)||Double Fine Productions|
|Programmer(s)||Damien Di Fede|
|Composer(s)||Ben Lukas Boysen & Sebastian Plano|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Linux, Nintendo Switch|
|Genre(s)||Simulation, god game|
Everything is a simulation game where the player has the ability to explore a procedurally generated universe and control various objects within it. The player starts as one of many possible creatures and has the ability to move around. Initially, the player can shift their control to any creature or object smaller than the current one they occupy; this shifts the scale of the game to reflect this. Eventually the player can only shift into smaller and smaller parts of matter, down to the sub-atomic level, after which the game then allows the player to shift to larger objects as well. From this point, the player can take forms that include landmasses, planets, and whole star systems. As the player moves and shifts forms, they will find other creatures or objects speaking to them. The game uses a number of levels of "existence", representing different length scales, which the player can move between as they shift into different objects.
When a player "bonds" with a form for the first time, by moving or "singing", that object is added to an in-game encyclopedia catalogued by type. At any time, the player can shift to any form they have already previously inhabited, though this form will be scaled appropriately to the current scale the player is at: taking the form of a planet in the middle of a street will produce a miniature-sized planet. A goal of the game is to complete this encyclopedia and occupy all objects available in Everything. Throughout the game, quotes from philosopher Alan Watts are given to the player. If the player lets the game sit idle, the game will cycle through various scenes on its own. Once the player has completed the game through completing the encyclopedia, they can start in a New Game Plus-type mode, but here starting from any random object in the game.
Everything was developed by Irish artist David OReilly. He previously had developed the game Mountain, in which players had limited interactions with a virtual mountain. Mountain had been developed using the Unity game engine, which OReilly had to teach to himself. As he worked with the engine, he saw the potential about representing nature with real-time systems within Unity, forming part of the inspiration for Everything.
The game was published by Double Fine Productions, who had also published Mountain. In the initial announcement, OReilly described the game as "about the things we see, their relationships, and their points of view. In this context, things are how we separate reality so we can understand it and talk about it with each other". He also considered Everything to be a continuation of themes he had introduced in Mountain. Later, OReilly described his hope for players of the game: "I want Everything to make people feel better about being alive. Not as an escape or distraction, or arbitrary frustration, but something you would leave and see the world in a new light." Besides the ideas of Watts, OReilly said that Everything's approach and narrative includes Eastern philosophy, continental philosophy, and stoicism.
The game was developed by a three-person team, including Damien Di Fede, who had assisted OReilly in programming Mountain. With the small team on an experimental title, several simplifications were made; for example creatures do not have walk cycles but instead simply flip head to feet to move. OReilly said such decisions, while breaking the reality of the game are "the most interesting solution to particular problems in order to create a totality" for the work. Additionally, OReilly considered how these animations were similar to the work done in early days of classical animation, where artists would attempt to animate a wide range of objects. The ability for the game to auto-play should the player go idle captured OReilly's idea that nature itself occurs on its own, without any intervention.
An 11-minute trailer for Everything, featuring a voice-over by British philosopher Alan Watts, won the Jury Prize at the 2017 Vienna Independent Shorts film festival in May 2017; due to this, it was on the longlist for consideration for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 90th Academy Awards, making it the first video game trailer to qualify for the Oscars. Eurogamer ranked the game 37th on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017", while Polygon ranked it ninth on their list of the 50 best games of 2017.
The game won the award for "Most Innovative" at the Games for Change Awards, and was nominated for "Best Indie Game" at the Golden Joystick Awards, and for the Off-Broadway Award for Best Indie Game at the New York Game Awards 2018. It was also nominated for the "Innovation Award" at the 18th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards, for the "D.I.C.E. Sprite Award" at the 21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards, and for "Game, Special Class" at the 17th Annual National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards. Polygon named the game among the decade's best.
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