The Gardens Between is a single-player puzzle-adventure, but you don’t control the characters — you control time – and you can play it today on Xbox One and Xbox Game Pass.
At The Voxel Agents, we’re passionate about creating games that surprise and delight the player. It’s our goal to kindle that beautiful sense of wonder you felt as a child exploring the world, where everything is wonderful and new. With our newest puzzle-adventure game The Gardens Between, we not only try to capture that feeling, but the whole story revolves around that very concept; about a time in your life where for a short while, there was nothing more important than your best friend.
The idea for this game came from several directions. Our designer Henrik wanted to tell a story where (just like in real life) the player wasn’t in control of events, and I had this prototype of a game idea based on the scene in “Minority Report” where Tom Cruise is scrubbing through memories looking for clues. Other members of the team had their own ideas and influences and the result was The Gardens Between.
In building the game, we challenged ourselves to tell the whole story without any words or dialog. To achieve this goal, everything needed to work together to tell a singular narrative. The story comes from the environment, the art, the world, the music, the mood, the characters actions, and even how the player controls the game.
One small example of this is our theory of time travel. The way we think about time in each garden is how two friends might reminisce about the past. As you’re discussing events with a friend, you might have slightly different memories about the facts or the order of events. Yet, as you continue to converse, the picture in your minds converge until you have a new, correct memory (or as correct and rose-tinted as a memory can be).
Creating this game was a four-year-long process of prototyping and big discussions, but the result is an almost serendipitous harmony of beautiful ideas that work together perfectly. All of it comes together to tell an impactful story about the importance of friendship, at a time in our lives when nothing else mattered.