Lost Words: Beyond the Page: Interview with Rhianna Pratchett and Mark Backler

Modus Games
Modus Games /

Recently I had the absolute honor of getting to chat with Rhianna Pratchett and Mark Backler, two of the minds behind the excellent Lost Words: Beyond the Page.

Rhianna Pratchett is also the creative genius behind the stories of games such as Heavenly Sword, Mirror’s Edge, the Tomb Raider reboot and so much more. Mark Backler is the founder and creative director of Sketchbook Games, the company responsible for Lost Words.

Below the video, I’ll have an index on where to jump for the various topics.

0:00 – GEEKING OUT – Rhianna Pratchett is a massive inspiration of mine so admittedly I geek out a little bit here and there throughout the interview, but most of it gets knocked out here in the beginning. Forgive me, haha.

1:35 – WHAT BROUGHT ABOUT LOST WORDS – We talk about how Lost Words got off the ground. From its start as a much smaller puzzle game to its eventual evolution into what it ended up becoming and the happy accidents that happened in between.

4:05 – INSPIRATION FOR LOST WORDS – We discuss the things that helped bring about the story of Lost Words and taking the story in the direction it ended up going.

6:15 – HOW THE STORY IN THE GAME CHANGES OVER TIME – One of my favorite things with Lost Words is how it takes place in two worlds. The main character’s diary and the main character’s fantasy story she’s writing. As things happen in her diary, the fantasy world changes as well to match her feelings. We discuss this element of the game.

8:35 – TALKING ABOUT SIDONIE THE VOICE OF IZZY – I’ve previously talked with Lost Word’s narrator and voice actress Sidonie Marie Šakālis. We bring her up and how she ended up getting the role of Izzy and the circumstances that lead to her getting the role.

9:30 – PEOPLE CONTACTING THEM ABOUT LOST WORDS HELPING THEM COPE – Rhianna and Mark bring up the emotional reactions people have had playing their game. How people have contacted them, letting them know the game has helped them deal with their own feelings of loss.

14:40 – DEATH AS A TABOO SUBJECT – There’s a really thought-provoking part where Rhianna Pratchett brings up the fact that, for some odd reason, we’re all afraid to talk about death despite it being the one thing we all have in common. It’s a brief moment but I thought about it for a while after the interview was over.

16:15 – LOST WORDS USED IN CLASSROOMS – Mark Backler brings up how multiple teachers have contacted him about using the game in a classroom, streaming the game to start conversations on loss and coping mechanisms. He also goes into video games being used as an educational tool.

18:50 – GAMES STARTING TO SHOW MORE AND MORE EMOTION – We have a talk about how games are starting to get better at showcasing more human emotions and why this is important. We bring up how game characters being “Teflon” and unphased by the world around them isn’t something that helps people relate.

29:00 – FUTURE PLAN – We bring up if there’s anything happening down the line.

30:50 – CLOSING STATEMENTS – We sign off, have our goodbyes, and draw a great chat to a close.

Lost Words: Beyond the Page is available on Playstation, Xbox, Switch, Stadia, Steam, and pretty much any other platform. I recommend checking it out immediately if you haven’t already.