Wayward Strand devs on handling the topic of dementia sensitively
A serious subject handled with care
Wayward Strand focuses on an aged care ward in a hospital where many of the patients are dealing with deteriorating health. This means they face a number of different ailments and illnesses, such as dementia.
In an interview with Nintendo Life, Wayward Strand co-director Georgia Symons opens up about how the team made sure to handle issues like this with a deft touch.
Whilst we have some team members whose family members have lived with dementia, no one on our team has that direct experience. And so, before locking our scripts in, we wanted to speak with someone who had lived experience with dementia, and get their perspective on the game.
The wonderful Carly Findlay put us in touch with Kate Swaffer, CEO and co-founder of Dementia Alliance International. Kate lives with dementia, and consulted with us on the portrayal of the character of Tomi. In a game that features so much talking, we were faced with the challenge of portraying this non-verbal character with equal sensitivity and dignity to her fellow patients in the hospital.
But Kate had some fantastic suggestions for how we could better understand and portray Tomi’s experience, as well as finding an opportunity in the game to tell a contrasting story of dementia, to put Tomi’s experience in a bit more context.