Like anything worthwhile, Odyssey is many things. The team’s goal in crafting Odyssey was to create an experience that was at once cohesive and diverse, across all its elements. Generally, games settle on one, perhaps two genres. Odyssey intentionally violates this principle, sampling from multiple schools of design to suit a higher purpose.
The game combines several genres – it is an action game in that it allows Players to do battle with massive creatures called Guardians using magical abilities. It is a platformer in that it features jumping, and gliding, and precision challenges where the Player can fall to their death. It is also a Puzzle game, where the Player must use wit and magic together to move forward.
All of this diversity stands in service of a core narrative idea. Our goal with Odyssey was to tell a ‘thematic’ narrative – a story with little conversation between characters, no lore or information given, delivered primarily in Zen-like riddles found in the world. However, it is still a story with a hero, and a beginning, middle and end.
Odyssey’s protagonist, Jade, is a child, and the game represents her journey to adulthood. The dissonance between the freedom experienced in platforming sequences and the claustrophobic danger of action sequences parallels a dissonance in the narrative. The reality of the world clashes with what Jade had expected. Like any child, becoming an adult means deciding for herself what is real – and this is an experience the Player can share with her.