What’s Neil Gaiman been up to with Odd Gentlemen?

Not a lot of writing, apparently.

It’s no secret that the author Neil Gaiman has been on board for a new game with indie developers The Odd Gentlemen, best known for the Chaplinesque The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom (and for drawing us an awesome t-shirt design of an octopus smoking a calabash). 

It has been a mystery exactly what the celebrated author of The Sandman has actually been doing on Wayward Manor, the studio’s new game. That is, until today, when designer Matt Korba spilled the beans at G.D.C. Next as to how they have incorporated his talents. 

Surprisingly, he hasn’t been writing much, as the game lacks dialogue. Gaiman insisted not to have cut scenes, preferring to tell the story through play. So what has he been up to? He’s been accessing (very) early prototypes built from Lego blocks. He’s shaped the setting, and the character designs, and the psychology of the characters, who look like proper English gentlemen and women. 

He’s also had a hand in designing the puzzles, which in adventure games is as close as it comes to storytelling through interactions. Gaiman’s shift in roles from writer to a visual artist and game designer illustrate the difference between games and other storytelling mediums, such as film and literature. Put simply, the language of games is play.