Alex Beachum: I have no idea. That’s actually a good question. I flew to Chicago [from Los Angeles], drove to Saint Louis and because Saint Louis was going to be cloudy, we drove to Tennessee.
L.V.: What did the eclipse look like?
A.B.: The Eclipse looked like the Sun had turned into a massive black hole, with a corona around it. It looked like an eye! It looked like the Sun’s evil twin had shown its face or like the Sun had shown its true face. And I understand why ancient people thought the world was ending because that would be an appropriate reaction if you didn’t know what was happening.
L.V.: What did it feel like?
A.B.: Hmmm… Well 17-15 degrees chiller. [chuckles] I have been working on such systems for so long, getting to see something like that in the real world that illustrates these concepts in a very clear way is really cool. It was the coolest natural phenomena I have seen.
L.V.: Did it inspire you for Outer Wilds?
A.B.: Yes it inspired one very specific idea for quantum stuff in a very roundabout way that we can’t talk about… Because we don’t want people to figure it out on their own. But it was very appropriate to see the solar eclipse the week I am working on the end of the game.
L.V.: Do eclipses play a role in Outer Wilds?
A.B.: Eclipses happen all the goddamn time in Outer Wilds! And it’s great because it really illustrates eclipses. The actual eclipse is really cool because it forces you to think of the moon and the sun as these physical things that exist in actual space and in relation to each others and not as just these things that are always in the sky. Outer Wilds does that aggressively because everything is so small and moving so quickly and because you can actually of course move between them. So I guess eclipses are way less special in some ways in Outer Wilds because you don’t need them to make you think that way because the whole game forces you to think that way. But it’s cool to see them happen in Outer Wilds and be able to go out and see why they are happening and know that the same general concepts apply in the real world. Just more more slowly… The transit time on Timber Hearth is like a couple of seconds instead of two minutes.