During a developer lecture for the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA), Ubisoft Montreal executive producer and Far Cry series director Dan Hay pitched a hypothetical game to the audience. It came as part of a “Rooted in Reality” seminar, designed to guide other would-be creatives to use their own experiences and relationships to give color and meaning to their work. The pitch was meant to serve as just an example, but it appears that Hay has captured the Internet’s attention and imagination.
Hay’s brainchild is called Yarn, and it’s the amalgamation of several different aspects of his childhoood—his teddy bear, an interest in mythology, and a passion for the vast reaches of space. In his own words: “I want to retell the story of Prometheus, giving that key moment of thought but I want to replace fire with a teddy bear and I want to put it in space because it’s f**king awesome.” With a pitch like that, it’s no wonder people took notice.
The story can be summarized as so: a little girl from a distant planet leaves her teddy bear behind after an emergency forces her family to evacuate. After falling into the core of the planet—Undertale style—the bear encounters a spider-like creature called a “Razagaboo.” In this meeting, the essence of the story is revealed.
“That’s when they have their Prometheus moment […] this is where, up until that moment, they’ve only ever thought of building their webs in 2D, but they saw that this thing was built out of yarn and they understood that it could be built in 3D, they could re-engineer what they build […] This changed everything about the Razagaboos – their understanding, their education, the idea of their culture, and the idea of their engineering.” What follows is a fantastic journey to the planet’s surface and into enlightenment—as Hay says, going “where no Razagaboo has gone before.”
It’s a charming and evocative idea, but perhaps the reason it’s been taken so seriously is that Hay commissioned sample art from Serge Meirinho, art director for Ubisoft Montreal’s indie treat Child of Light. With visuals to augment the story—and the knowledge that Ubisoft has encouraged smaller projects like Child recently—Yarn could suddenly be a real possibility.
Ultimately, the pitch is still just a hypothetical for now, but that doesn’t mean Hay has written it off completely. According to him, “we kind of were doing this off to the side. I’m going to go back and think about that, and I think if people like what they’re hearing, I’ll have a new problem. […] I’m gonna walk back into the office and [everybody will ask] ‘What the hell is Yarn?'”