Full disclosure: I loved Long Live The Queen. I played through countless files in my quest to transform Elodie into the perfect monarch. I was also a big fan of Gone Home, and particularly liked the way in which its story was told. That’s why I was so surprised to see Fullbright’s co-founder criticizing Long Live The Queen on Twitter this morning.
I don’t have a problem with Gaynor’s comments, even though I’m crazy about Long Live the Queen. It’s not a game for everybody, and I can see where he’s coming from with the flowchart comparison. What surprised me is how similar his comments were to criticisms of Gone Home.
Both Gone Home and Long Live the Queen aren’t games in the traditional sense. I wouldn’t classify either as a visual novel, but there’s some shared DNA there. They’re more about having players experience a story than they are about gameplay. This has earned Gone Home a lot of detractors, including people who feel it shouldn’t have been labeled as a game at all.
It’s strange to see someone who helped create a “story exploration game” criticize another game for being overly predetermined. That said, if it brings more attention to Long Live the Queen, I can’t see Gaynor’s comments as a bad thing. It’s a great little game, and the more people who notice it, the better.