Open Roads interview: How Full Throttle influenced Fullbright's latest

Fullbright is telling one of its most ambitious stories yet with the upcoming Open Roads. To learn more, Shacknews reconnected with writer/director Steve Gaynor for the first time in over three years.


Fullbright is recognized for putting out some of the most memorable narrative-based games of the past decade. They started out life working on BioShock 2's Minerva's Den DLC and have since garnered acclaim from fans and critics alike for their work on Gone Home and Tacoma. Now they're moving forward with one of their most fascinating projects to date, taking a road trip with Annapurna Interactive for Open Roads.

To learn more about Open Roads, Shacknews reconnected with Fullbright's Steve Gaynor for the first time since 2017. We talked about the concept behind Open Roads, the core plot, the idea of two characters going on a road trip, as well as some of its influences. Those influences include some of gaming's greatest adventure games, such as LucasArts' classic Full Throttle.

"To the specifics of why are we doing 2D hand-drawn animated characters in these 3D environments is really partly just an inate love of those kinds of visuals at our studio, whether it's classic feature film animation from Studio Ghibli, or classic Disney films, or classic hand-animated video game visuals," Gaynor told Shacknews. "A really big, important title for me when I was growing up was Full Throttle, which, you know, LucasArts sort of dove into the CD-ROM era by doing these, to me especially at the time in 1995, just mind-blowing full-screen animations that told you the cinematic story. Part of it was just the love of that form."

Players will be following the story of two characters, as Tess Divine and her mother, Opal, embark on a journey to learn about their family and their family's past. And while players will mainly see the story through Tess' perspective, Opal will be a fully-fleshed out character in her own right.

"We knew we wanted another character in the room with you, sharing the experience with you, and being present for what you're finding, but we didn't want to do that via a traditional, literal high-fidelity AI that's following you around," Gaynor added. "I worked on BioShock Infinite. I know how much of an investment a character like Elizabeth is. We're not trying to 'out-The Last of Us' The Last of Us or anything."

Over the course of our 20-minute interview, we dive in further with Gaynor about Open Roads' story, its characters, its settings, as well as Fullbright opting to work with publisher Annapurna Interactive. We talk about the doors that this working relationship has opened to Fullbright, including the usage of stars Keri Russell and Kaitlyn Dever, as well as the question of venturing into television and the difference of storytelling across different mediums.

You can catch more interviews just like this across Shacknews, so be sure to subscribe to Shacknews and GamerHub.TV on YouTube. And if you want to support the team at Shacknews, you're welcome to subscribe to Mercury. Open Roads is also one of the indie games we're looking forward to this year, so be sure to read up on Shacknews' 25 Most Anticipated Indie Games of 2021.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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