Running, walking and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Following on from my post about realistically traversing the game space of Remember Me by walking as a normal human being would, I want to also quickly note Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, a short, charming game available on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

In Brothers you control two characters with one control pad, moving through a 3D environment from a third-person perspective; the left stick controls the older brother and the right stick controls the younger. Written down that sounds pretty simple but I found it more complicated in practice (or was for me, at least) because I found I was mentally assigning not just one stick to one character, but an entire side of the screen as well. If the characters switched sides for some reason, and I was controlling a character on the left side of the screen with the right stick and vice-versa for the other character, my brain just couldn’t cope and I’d find myself walking them off into walls.

Complicating matters further was the fact that the older brother walked faster than the younger, so if I applied equal pressure to the sticks then the younger brother got left behind. Narratively-speaking, it’s not plausible; in-game, the older brother is protective of the younger, so wasn’t likely to sprint off leaving him behind. So, I had to maintain the spacial awareness of which side of the screen each brother was on, plus also adjust the pressure I was delivering to the sticks to make sure the older brother walked a bit slower than the younger.

This was challenging stuff! But I liked the effect; an older brother walking briskly but patiently while the younger skipped along beside him and sometimes enthusiastically overtook him, and when I mastered the control system, I found myself more immersed in the game. The game space itself is beautiful, all Scandinavian forestry, thatched cottages, trolls and giants, so it was a pleasure to take my time working my way through it.

By Paul Haine, in