thatgamecompany is no stranger to unique multiplayer experiences, as Journey gave players a new way to share an experience with one another. The company has taken that vibe and expanded upon it in Sky: Children of the Light.
At the GDC Summer 2020 virtual panel, thatgamecompany's John Hughes talked about how the company evolved their ideas of social gameplay.
"Multiplayer gameplay that inspires social play should provide a careful balance of open-ended and goal oriented play. We switched to more of a tree structure and created alternate paths and added secrets and activities. These acted as ice breakers for deeper relationships to form. Anything in the world that slows players down can create the boredom necessary to inspire creative usage of the mechanics they've gained access to.
We knew that some of the best experiences you can have in Sky are off the main path, being guided by an other player or just stumbling around together. To reinforce this, we introduced hand holding between players, which has proven to be one of the most iconic features of Sky. One player can give control to another, and then be guided around the world. A really attentive guide will create experience for other players."