However, with Patti recently leaving the company amid rumors of an acrimonious fall-out with partner Arnt Jensen, Playdead’s future is now less clear. Jensen has stated that the developer’s new project is a “fairly lonely sci-fi game somewhere in the universe”, but fans eagerly await more information about whether this will be a spiritual successor to the beloved Limbo and Inside, or a departure from the studio’s previous work.
PlayDead ApS is a multi-award-winning Danish studio best known for the highly acclaimed dark puzzle platformers Limbo and Inside, which co-founder Dino Patti referred to as “two dents in the games industry.” Both independent games were tremendously popular and well-received, raising big hopes for the young studio’s future release.
Jensen, a former developer at IO Interactive, conceived Limbo based on some of his own sketches back in 2004. An art-based teaser for the game in 2006 enabled him to source the help of Patti, and the two worked together to bring on board investors and establish their company, PlayDead. The team grew over the coming years as their first game was developed, including Martin Stig Andersen joining to direct the game’s eerie, atmospheric, and ultimately award-winning soundtrack.
Utilizing funding from the Danish Film Institute, the duo began work immediately on a new project, which would eventually become Inside. Officially announced at E3 2014, the game was very much a spiritual successor to the studio’s previous title, once again featuring a young male protagonist trapped in a disturbing, mysterious, and hostile world.
Limbo’s runaway success didn’t just secure the company’s commercial position, but also enabled its founders to buy back their company from its original backers. Jensen and Patti were now in the driving seat with a smash hit under their belts, and a financially secure company over which they had complete creative control.
Although some muted color was introduced, in contrast to Limbo’s iconic and starkly monochrome palette, Inside remained stylistically similar to its predecessor both visually and in terms of its puzzle platform gameplay. Once again, its narrative was ambiguous and understated, although many fans consider it to be deeper and more open to interpretation than Limbo’s, and a number of fan theories have circulated about the game’s story and ending.