Every time someone begins a new playthrough in Mobius Digital’s time-loop game Outer Wilds, their character blinks their blurry eyes open to observe a night sky, and they hear the sound of a fire. In the game. The solar system bursts at the end of every run, and the game kicks the player back to their home planet. When the player restarts the game, it settles them back into its world with the touching scene of a four-eyed alien donning hipster garb and roasting a marshmallow over a fire.
Roasting marshmallows is an old tradition in North America. Whether someone is camping or just hanging out around a fire in the summer, somebody will likely bring out a bag of the fluffy confection at some point. Whether someone likes to eat them by themselves or mixed with chocolate and graham crackers as a s’more, they would be hard-pressed to look for a food that better encapsulates the spirit of the summer camp of the warm, gooey years of old.
“It always embodied the ‘camping’ part of the camping and space aesthetic,” Beachum said. He didn’t expect the sci-fi adventure to have a “middle hallway” feel familiar with the cold steeliness of other space adventures, and roasting a marshmallow brought excitement to the game’s world. Beachum also expected to utilize the campfire to emphasize the difference in scale between roasting a marshmallow and the universe exploding above someone. “The whole game is all about things like nature, forces, and things falling apart beyond your control. And then the marshmallow being like this one small moment you can control.”