An Open Letter to Starbreeze Studios
Dear Starbreeze Studios,
I’ve been meaning to write this letter for a few days now. To be precise, from the moment the end credits started rolling in as I finished Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
I played the game in two greedy sittings, during both I felt a roller coaster of emotions that very few mediums of entertainment have made me feel. I was happy, I was sad, I was elated, I was depressed, I was angry, I was hopeful, I was disillusioned, I was upset; but most of all, I was in love.
I fell in love with the world you’ve created, with the loving detail your artists so clearly put into this game. Small, incidental flourishes and nuances that many people might have missed, but are there if you look. All of them adding texture and detail to this wonderful land.
I fell in love with the people and creatures of this fantastical land. I wanted to know more about them, who they were, where they came from, and what was their story. But, you left the story telling to the player. I filled in their stories from my imagination, which only made me care for them even more.
I fell in love with the simple gameplay mechanic you created. Controlling each brother with a thumbstick and a trigger, making for a truly unique single player experience, and creating a relationship between the brothers that broke the fourth wall and extended to the player’s own two hands.
I fell in love with the puzzles you created, the set scenes you directed, and with the game as a game.
But, most of all, I fell in love with the two brothers, and their relationship with one another and with others around them. I learnt to always keep the small brother on the right, just like my right thumb is in the real world that controls him. I laughed as he played pranks on other people, and I smiled as his older brother was more sensible. No matter how many times it happened, I would always watch with silent admiration when they helped each other cross various obstacles, or work together to try and use things made for the adult, and very hostile, world around them. And when they would stop for a break, or forget about their task and just start playing like two care-free brothers, I would sit back and sigh a sigh of relief, and take a break myself.
And, when the final moments of the game arrived, I played and watched with a heavy feeling in my chest, knowing that my relationship with the two brothers had to end. I felt like a connection was lost, and like a very special relationship had come to a sad end. I was left physically and emotionally drained watching the final scene, but also happy that I had witnessed a moment of change in gaming as a medium to tell a story that engages that player like no other medium can.
I finally understood the truth behind the game’s name. By the end, my feelings towards the Brothers was that of a father towards his two sons. I cared for them, I loved them, and I wanted the world to change for them; but ultimately their fate was not mine to decide.
This was the tale of my two sons.